Technology and Wages LO7544
Wed, 22 May 1996 10:36:38 -0400

Replying to LO7517 --

In a message dated 96-05-22 01:25:11 EDT, you write:

>Can the ranks of service workers swell to accommodate future
>displacements? Perhaps. Let us at least hope so. But what kind
>of world will that be? Looks pretty grim to me.

I don't think this will be the point. Some significant increase in
service work will be occur, IMHO, but new sectors are being created.

I believe an increasing percentage of people will be devoted to:

- knowledge *creation*
- knowledge *distribution*

We will likely see the most mundane 2% - 10% of our knowledge become
automated such that we can use the "top 90%" of our knowledge in our
hour-to-hour work. Much closer partnerships between person and machine is
one likely requirement/facilitator/catalyst.

This will tend to accelerate knowledge creation and assimilation -
learning organizations which do not just learn what is (assimilation) but
*develop new knowledge where needed* (creation).

Citing Drucker in Post Capitalist Society (paraphrase): knowledge and
information capital have replaced the traditional factors of production
(capital, money, labor) as the most important determinate of wealth.
Focusing on accelerated knowledge creation and distribution should, thus,
amass wealth more quickly - ie huge productivity gains will result, more
*liesure* will be facilitated, and the wealth will be there to pay for it.

I see a world that is *less* grim, Fred.

One caution though: we could learn more and more about less and less
(specialization) until we know everything about nothing. It is this
highly specialized knowledge which should fall to automation (AI) while we
humans should, I think, see a rebirth of the Rennaisance man and woman.

Food for thought for our educators . . .

Hal Popplewell


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