The other day, I was on a conference call hosted by a youngish women who spoke mostly in riddles. She actually said, “intrinsically customize distinctive relationships” in a non-ironic way. She may have said other nonsense like this, but my eyes had glazed over and I was working on a revenge fantasy, not paying attention. That goofy phrase woke me from my daydream and that’s why it stuck in my head. I spent the rest of the call trying to unriddle what that could possibly mean and why anyone would say it.
Anyone familiar with life in large organizations is familiar with this sort of gibberish that seems to have started about two decades ago. My first recollection of creeping neologisms is in the 90’s when everyone and everything had to have the word “synergy” attached to it in some way. I can still recall a particularly good looking power-skirt enthusiastically telling a group of us that “synergy” was our key to success. I was sure then and I am sure now that she had no idea what it meant.
Echolalic babbling has become so common now that we tend not to notice it. This article on block chain technology I ran across the other day is a good example. I have an interest in the topic so I read these things when I find them, but “read” is not really what I do. Instead, I scan them looking for word combinations that are in a real language conveying actual information. I naturally filter out nonsense like “the diversity of such vertically connected organizations” because it is meaningless pap that just fills space.
The excessive use of jargon is not new. Pointless fields of study like the soft sciences are packed to the gills with jargon. Read a psychology paper and you have to keep stopping to think about the meaning of some word or phrase that more often than not has no real meaning, outside the narrow specialty within the field of psychology. The word is a signal that lets the reader know if they belong. For those who don’t belong, they are intended to scare you off so you don’t look too closely and discover the study is mostly nonsense.
That’s what happens in the corporate world where there are layers and layers of “managers” that only exists because the state has created the need. Companies fear being sued or being whacked around by the state, so they have elaborate processes to comply with the law. The army of do-nothings in the bureaucracy are there to make sure no steps are skipped. They just clog up the works, by forming committees and process management teams that try hard to keep the remaining productive workers from getting their work done.
There’s a chicken and egg issue here. Is this the result of women now dominating the workplace or did this evolve so that women could dominate the work place. Much of the jargon and gibberish we see is attached to elaborate processes, which naturally appeal to women. Males are results oriented while women are process oriented. Get a gander at how federal grants are doled out in the cognitive sciences and you see an elaborate process staffed almost exclusively by women. Perhaps the Muslims are not wrong about everything.
That aside, no one wants to believe their work is meaningless so it is natural to try and make what you do seem important to yourself and others. Larding up these busy work jobs with mountains of nonsensical jargon makes the people doing these jobs feel important. Mastering the corporate pseudo-language allows them to feel like experts and insiders, much in the same way academic jargon works. So, armies of middle managers go from meeting to meeting speaking in tongues to one another, proud that their calendars are full of meetings.
Theodore Dalrymple thinks there is something sinister to this descent into echolalic babbling, but I’m not sure. Orwell’s Newspeak was a part of an overall program of the state to oppress the masses. The proliferation of jargon we are seeing does not strike me as such. Instead, it is closer to what you see with small children on a playground. They have a limited vocabulary and lots of free time so they make up silly words and word games that sound pleasing, but mean nothing.
That’s what the boys and girls in the managerial state are doing when they cook up neologisms. It’s nursery rhymes for adults, who live and work in what often resemble daycare centers for adults. Instead of wrestling with the Legos to build a house, they spend their days wrestling with Excel to make a cool looking pivot table. Instead of memorizing rhymes, they invent bizarre word combinations like “monotonectally transform multimedia based channels” and put them into PowerPoint presentations.
It is another example, I think, of how Huxley got it right and Orwell got it wrong. The authoritarian model imagined in 1984 could never last because it had to rely on force and the math always works against such a system. The violence required to hold it together eventually exceeds the systems capacity for violence. The Huxley model of a world populated by infantilized adults, cheerfully engaged in busy work requires much less coercion from the state and it has a higher carrying capacity.
It turns out that the future is not “a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” The future is a conference call on which a cheery 30-something says things like “progressively coordinate functional strategic theme areas” – forever.
Remember, you’re never too old to pass out bingo cards for Buzzword Bull$#!^ Bingo to as many people as you can. When someone at the conference yells “Bingo!” mid-presentation, the speaker almost always assumes it is someone agreeing with their polysyllabic pablum.
Just in case you haven’t already read this
Nonsensical jargon. I am surprised that no one has referenced the “Turbo Encabulator” yet.
Everyone has a “progressively coordinate functional strategic theme “…
…until they get punched in the face.
As I was mulling this over, I realized that this is a uniquely Female strategy (not just real women, but those who are kinda-sorta women, as well).
Men gain power by being good at what they do, by objective standards.
Women gain power by creating alliances and using emotional/relational in-groups. The easiest way to identify as part of the in-group is with language (something that women are, generally, quite adept at using). Don’t understand or use the “special” language?
You’re excluded. And made to feel stupid for not understanding it.
In Leftist Politics, the phrase “cultural hegemony” is often used to signal that one is a part of the in-group. It truly has no real meaning, other than to signal belonging to the group.
My own profession – teaching (although, to excuse myself, I teach chemistry and physics), is loaded with such babble-phrases. We’re currently developing SLO plans (Student Learning Objectives, not a commentary on the intellect of our students or our staff). LOTS of babble questions, to which we reply in similarly obtuse babble, followed up by “analysis” babble – all of that to justify that we have been doing our job of teaching students.
Block Chain is applying the same concepts behind bitcoin to other business problems. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockchain_(database)
This took me back a few years to a time when I worked for a company who had a client just like this. I once attended a meeting with my account director. Seriously, I came out of this meeting wondering if I’d had a stroke because I utterly failed to understand anything said. I have just looked up this individual who now has his own company.A quick tour of the website reveals nothing has changed.
In order to make it in management simply use the buzzword BS generator http://www.atrixnet.com/bs-generator.html
Years ago Megan Kelly (I know, I know) interviewed Randy Weingarten. Ms. Weingartens replies, to specific questions, were filled with these types of constructed, verbose, meaningless phrases. Ms. Kelley had the same follow up question to each of Ms. Weingartens answers “what does that mean.” I came to two conclusions: Ms. Weingarten is remarkably stupid and public secondary education is dead, in this country.
Re: Huxley vs Orwell
Examples of the vision of both authors abound today.
We read in the last few days about a baby born from three parents and another story a woman passing herself off as a man (and accepted that way by the Navy) who gives birth aboard a ship and headlines shouting about the first man to give birth to a baby. These two examples reflect the pseudo-scientific utopian thinking in Huxley’s Brave New World.
Then we have Hillary with her basket of irredeemable deplorables and her list of the progressive’s Five Deadly Sins: Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Xenophobia, and Islamophobia. This is about the black hearted motives of the progressives that are right out of Orwell’s 1984.
“How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?”
Winston thought. “By making him suffer,” he said
“Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.
Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends.
I saw something from one of the Rockefeller’s about 20 or 30 years ago where he acknowledged that the purpose of the mass entry of women into the workforce was to both lower wages and weaken the family.
Listen! I would like to call to order the five-hundred-and-seventy-third meeting of the colonization committee of the planet of Fintlewoodlewix. And furthermore –
Oh this is futile! Five-hundred-and-seventy-three committee meetings and you haven’t even discovered fire yet!
If you would care to look at the agenda sheet –
Agenda rock, yes…
Oh, go on back home or something will ya?
…you will see that we are about to have a report from the hairdressers fire development subcommittee today.
Yeah well you know what they’ve done don’t you? You gave them a couple of sticks and they’ve gone and developed them in to a pair of bloody scissors!
When you have been in marketing as long as I have, you’ll know that before any new product can be developed, it has to be properly researched. I mean yes, yes we’ve got to find out what people want from fire, I mean how do they relate to it, the image –
Oh, stick it up your nose.
Yes which is precisely the sort of thing we need to know, I mean do people want fire that can be fitted nasally.
Yes, and, and, and the wheel. What about this wheel thingy? Sounds a terribly interesting project to me.
Er, yeah, well we’re having a little, er, difficulty here…
Difficulty?! It’s the single simplest machine in the entire universe!
Well alright mister wise guy, if you’re so clever you tell us what colour it should be!
Ah yes, words without meaning. The curse of the 21st century.
In the UK former prime minister (let me repeat that delightful word, ‘former’) David Cameron once came up with a really half-baked idea ( self-contained phrase), namely “The Big Society”
Thing was, no one understood it then and despite dozens of civil servants being despatched all over the nation to give enthusiastic talks explaining the concept, no one understood it afterwards. The attendees/listeners may have said they did, but (a) nothing happened after the phrase was ‘adopted’ and (b) it was quietly forgotten and buried.
I am sure Mr Cameron self-identified as intelligent, but it escaped everyone else.
You can blame the rise and expansion of management consulting for much of this. It’s not all based in gender role confusion. When much of the adult population has the reading and linguistic skills of the average B-student in a suburban middle school…or worse. All you really have to do in order to make lots and lots of money is sound smart. Snake oil salesmen have been doing it for millennia. Some of it also flows from the bureaucratization of our society. Bureaucrats speak to each other in this manner (and the disease has spread into the bureaucratic sclerosis of “middle managers” in the private sector). It’s like their own little secret handshake. Nobody really knows what this stuff means, but they all nod approvingly. That’s just what you do in that arena. It’s like the ticket to the game.
When I was a management consultant, one of my colleagues was an expert in Lean / Six Sigma. That’s a bureaucratic spreadsheet exercise for things we used to call “quality control” and “efficiency”. So, instead of somebody who knows what he is doing going into an organization, cutting out the 45% of useless mouth-breathers who add no value to the finished product, we get Lean / Six Sigma presentations, spreadsheets, etc. all of which seem designed to prevent anything from actually getting done. Because, well, that would mean firing a lot of useless people, and who wants to be “that guy”?
Anyway, L/SS guy and I were talking one day, and I had a revelation about the rise of neologisms. One of the basic principles of six sigma is that to get to “six standard deviations” of product quality, you have to put in a huge amount of effort. So, to get from 80% to 90% is, say, $100K in investment. From 90% to 95% is $1M investment. From 95% to 97.5% is $10M investment…and so on. The curve is exponential. So, to extract another ounce of “quality” might require four tons of effort.
And that’s where we get these bizarre neologisms from. People have reached a point where they have to string together 4-5-6 seemingly unrelated words and phrases in order to present themselves as competent. The speech therefore grows exponentially, but the amount of INFORMATION actually conveyed either doesn’t increase at all, or it increases in a way that is indecipherable to the informed listener.
Or, as an old boss of mine once said after a business meeting with another of my colleagues, “That man packs less information into more words than anybody I ever met in my life.”
The very definition of a consultant.
Re Six Sigma: You are exactly right about the costs of incremental quality gains being a power function, if not exponential. Another interesting learning from my years being tormented by these charts is that customers won’t PAY for six sigma quality. We started losing market share at about 4 1/2. Corporate finally put six-sigma down the memory hole and went on to something else with the same idea but another name. Figured it was time to leave.
I detest Jargon, especially that which is made up just for the purpose of making the jargon emitter appear smart.
As for Women in positions of influence? This guy explains the phenomena pretty well.
With women dominating the workplace, I now know why baseball bosses banned collisions at home plate and taking out a second baseman or shortstop — Girls are not strong enough to handle takeouts. And, they are coming to a ball park near you.
I used to throw zingers in when I frankly wanted out of a meeting. I’d throw around that we need a ‘vortal’ and sit back and watch people try to discuss this… there is an actual bullsh*t generator online that spews this stuff out. It creates make work, sales prevention, business uber process units that gum up pretty well anything and everything. Oh and this guy is kinda sexist. The worst offender I ever worked with for process nonsense was a guy, and he took an offensive amount of pride in his almost idiot savant ability to process-esque things as simple as buying new office chairs.
We had a Software Hardness Integration Team
Boy, hit that one on the head. First meeting out of gate was with some very bright, but very young consultants to review conclusions of a diligence review. Seven pages into the deck of dense spreadsheet snaps, scope descriptions, and process charts, finally ask them. “I thought we decided we don’t want to do business with these people?” “Yes”. “Then say so on the first page, then we list the reasons in plain English. Put the rest in an appendix.” Basically, they can’t understand that once something is no longer “option A” it is time to move on and put the effort into “option b”, not spend another week prettying up slide and models in MS Office, just because you can. I fucking hate Powerpoint. It turns simple evidence based decisions into goddamn arts and crafts projects for adults.
You should read this ZMan: http://blog.press.princeton.edu/2016/06/24/ethicist-jason-brennan-brexit-democracy-and-epistocracy/
The ruling elite wants to abolish democracy!
Koch Brothers! Koch Brothers!
If they want to abolish democracy, don’t interrupt them.
Actually the “Doctor” analogy he uses is fundamentally flawed. He assume the info distribution is effectively one sided. I find most people who have (or had) jobs, send kids to school, are engaged in the community have a pretty acute sense of what his going on around them. And what works or does not. A more apt description of the expert bureaucrat might be the Dr. that gets a patient rapidly losing blood and proceeds to order a CBC and then launches into a long review of all the chemistries with the notation that blood pressure a little low. Versus the everyday Joe that walks in, notices a deep cut in the leg, puts in quick clot and a pressure bandage.
He seems to be unfamiliar with the phrase “literacy test,” the fact that it has been removed from the Newspeak Dictionary, and that he is guilty of a thoughtcrime. I suspect that the Thought Police will arrive at his office soon and will invite him to Miniluv just as soon as the offending post is placed in the memory hole.
Brave New World is a low productivity world compared to ours. The World State still needs plenty of gammas and espsilons to run. Perhaps I am alarmist, but in the long run, I fear what the Alphas will do to our less gifted brothers and sisters as broad categories of them (let’s use Greek letters to designate them! The rube’s will never guess) become relegated to the dole by automation and therefore become “useless mouths.”
When I saw the word “monotonectally”, I thought that had to be made up, so I googled it plus “transform”.
First result I looked at turned out to be from Nigeria. Hilarious, but who the hell knows if it’s legit.
But the next thing turned out to be from Cornell. Seems legit. God help us all if it is…
It’s an adverb for “monotone”, correct?
I’m not sure why that would be desirable in nonsense business-speak other than being a big word most people won’t understand.
The adverb for monotone should be monotonically – referring to trending up or down. I’ve actually used it a time or two. I can’t for the life of me figure out what makes something “monotonectic” even after a lunch time spent Googling. Only one “tonectic”?
Did someone say “Teutonic”? Can I get an Order to go? 🙂
Z, my cognitive therapy specialist says that you’re simply failing to successfully value distinctly integrated conceptual consolidations of language intended to capitalize on holistically derived language platforms that utilize dynamically precise representations within a highly specialized matrix of meaning.
Meanwhile, my junior assistant senior VP of marketing says that in order to move the needle on this, you are going to have to leverage opportunities to stay in your lane while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of your core competency, There are lots of moving parts to this, and Rome wasn’t built in a day, so you should, at the end of the day, maintain best practices while thinking out of the box on how to move the ball on this problem.
You forgot to say “Bingo!”
You need to get that cog replaced, or just get a whole new gear.
Darn. Meant that for Adama.
I’ve never made it up to any kind of corporate level where people speak in these kind of tongues. I don’t know any process-oriented women. All the women I know believe getting things done is the goal. God, or the universe, has been good to me.
My wife once was the custodian at our church. One Saturday, three of the men came up to deal with a small plumbing problem. They discussed it for 45 minutes, then went home. The wife heard some of the conversation. When she finished cleaning, she looked at the plumbing 5 minutes, went and got parts, and made the repair in 20.
She also makes a strawberry cheesecake people beg her to bring to any meeting with food.
“That’s what the boys and girls in the managerial state are doing when they cook up neologisms. It’s nursery rhymes for adults, who live and work in what often resemble daycare centers for adults”
Operative: Boys and Girls.
A closely related phenomenon is the romance of acronyms. Sounds professional, quick, and obscure. It identifies the user as a member of the inner elite. I suspect that in many instances the clever acronym is invented first, and only afterward an actual meaning. In one government job I appointed myself to the CRAP – Coordinator of Regional Acronymic Programs. The Defense Department is particularly fond of this sort of foolishness, so long as the acronyms sound particularly butch.
I loathe acronyms. They keep everyone in a meeting sitting around worried about looking like an idiot if they ask what SIRFs are. Nobody is listening to what you are saying after the first obscure acronym. They are sitting there the entire time trying to find some random words to match to a string of initials.
I work for the State of SC. I’ve never worked for gov’t in my *mumble* years of employment, until now. I constantly remind the boss that in training people, the use of acronyms brings all learning to a halt.
This is the soft despotism Tocqueville talked about. Read Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift by Paul Rahe. Another thing that I think may be in play here is the use of languages distinct from the vulgar or vernacular as a means of making the scribe and ruling class distinct and superior to the masses. This has been done from time immemorial. We simply don’t recognize it as such because our society has for a couple hundred years been more egalitarian than has been the norm in the great scheme of things. In this sense it is an atavism, sociologically speaking. I expect it to get worse until something great happens. Either a profound piece of literature changes the use of language like Dante’s Divine Comedy did. Or we start lopping off heads. My favorite choice is the latter. Much quicker.
Huxley began his book exactly one hundred years after Tocqueville undertook “Democracy”. “The more social conditions become equal and the less power individuals possess, the more easily men drift with the crowd and find it difficult to stand alone in an opinion abandoned by the rest. However the powers of a democratic society are organized and weighted, it will always be very difficult for a man to believe what the mass of people reject, or to profess what they condemn.”
“Philosophic systems that destroy human individuality will have secret attractions for men who live in a democracy. What concerns me in our democratic republics is not that mediocrity will become commonplace, but that it may be enforced.”
The countervailing theme in Tocqueville’s later works is that of levelling of the mass of the people concomitant with centralization of power.”…a taste for jobs and a life at the public expense is not, with us, confined to any single party, but is the great and permanent weakness of the nation itself; it is the combined effect of the democratic constitution of our civic society and the excessive centralization of our government. This is the hidden illness that has gnawed away every ancient authority, and will do the same to all others in the future.” From his memoirs of the Revolution of 1848.
Huxley got much more right that Orwell, if you read Brave New World between the lines you see that Huxley knew who are the (((ruling elite))), something Orwell never really got.
Everybody has heard of Parkinson’s first law: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” At the time it was proposed (the late ’50s, I believe), it referred largely to the managerial elite who spent an inordinate amount of time in pointless meetings debating trivia. Today the law has become democratized. No longer is it only bigfoot managers who play. Now the legions of affirmative action hires — who often occupy HR and other paper churning positions — get their innings as well.
Having next to no important work to do or actual authority in the organization, they turn into gasbags of ever-expanding jargon. There is even an element of one-upmanship: if an empty vessel invents a vacuous phrase like “cross-potentiating essential motivational syntaxes,” the other functionaries spend the time till the next meeting thinking of ways to top it. “We have to do more than cross-potentiating! We must constantly re-engage the catalytic integrating process for deep-structure push urgency … .”
One example of metrobabble that irritates me is the use of the word “signage” instead of “signs.” People want to sound ‘important’ or worse, ‘professional.’ As Huey Long said, “a title for every pissant and a tiny hill to piss from.” God, I want to see it all burn.
The one that bugs me is “factiod.” A completely useless and unnecessary word; “fact” already handles the job perfectly well, and without the user sounding like some kind of bubble-gum popping teenybopper.
Agree, Tho. But… I like to think I use ‘factoid’ as an ironical statement, as if I am saying ‘see, I know this is a ridiculous word.’
But here’s the big but: when do I stop being ironic and start using it because everyone understands it? Or, more worryingly, that I am just saying it for the sake of making noise?
It seemed to have started in the 1970s when everyone seemed to be into “self-realization” and all that blather. The era when we were treated to executive seminars at expensive resorts with a psychologist (big fee) who spent hours on this kind of pretzel-talk. That was the era when the business of letting go and falling and you were supposed to have no fear that one of your colleagues would catch you. I’m amazed that some fools are still into this stuff.
Companies still failed – including the one that sent me on these loopy seminars.
Well, it just goes to show that things are more like they are now, than they have ever been before.
The bloatification of big corporations, including the government, is the only thing that so far has prevented mass unemployment the likes of which unseen in the history of civilization. The garden of Eden produced by technology very much seems to be sending us back to a pre-civilization material and social order.
Automation is real. In addition, the Internet has vastly reduced the cost of communication, even to the point of rendering most of the meatspace educational system and even much of the physical corporate conglomerations of people and capital, obsolete.
Within two or three decades even the manufacturing will be 99% automated, what with old technologies being automated as well as new technologies that are now coming into being, already automated, like the half-dozen kinds of 3D printing, up to and including the printing of houses. Yeah, it sounds insane now, but so do self-driving cars, self-landing rockets, and computers composing music.
Most of the people employed by these legacy systems are economically useless, yet they remain employed because there’s nothing else to do with them. And also because if all the economically non-productive were fired today, we would have a new government by tomorrow.
So expect the patronage of Big Daddy to do nothing but get bigger and badder, or croak. It’s a brave new world.
re: “self landing rockets.” KG3
Talk about pie in the sky. Only an idiot would reuse a rocket engine. One is lucky to get a good burn on the first try. The interior ablates even though it is being cooled by fluid circulating through its walls. The turbo pumps are running full out and stressing bearings unlike any other situation–this is not a jet engine designed for restarts and long life as it is designed for performance alone and low weight secondarily. To design a rocket engine for restarts, reuse, and long life would vastly degrade performance.
p.s. Single Stage to orbit is another Musk BS stunt that is swallowed by the ignorant.
Yeah! Everyone knows that nothing can fly faster than the speed of sound! It’s madness to even try!
Oh, wait . . .
Garden of Eden or Tower of Babel?
The Garden of Eden and specifically the ejection from paradise has metaphorical parallels to the exit of humans from Africa. Themes such as knowledge, intelligence, morality, work, agriculture, patriarchy, and resource scarcity all make an appearance.
One way in which we are returning to the indolent African hunter-gatherer lifestyle is that nobody farms anymore; rather, food just magically shows up on grocery store shelves. Another is sexual behavior, which is no longer tempered by civilized norms.
Those are pretty big indicators, though there are others.
You speak to a lot of points of which I have been thinking for the last several years.
What will we do with unnecessary people?
I think mankind is his own predator.
Manufacturing is something I have actual expertise in, so I can’t just let this over-generalization slide.
“Automation” is this magical word to people who don’t know anything about it, but contrary to popular belief, you cannot simply “automate” everything and dispense with the need for humans.
Anything that is repetitive and simple can be automated, but since that’s been done as a matter of rote for something like 30 years now, there is not a lot more margin to be gained there, and the expense to gain that last little bit is exponential. It’s still cheaper to have a quasi-skilled human there to do that kind of work when the part count is low.
And this of course totally ignores the fact that NONE of that stuff can set up or maintain itself. There’s no such thing as a self-assembling and self-programming machining cell. And if there was, where would it get its raw material from, and how would it even know what material it needed? How would the robot grip the part and put it into the machine? Who would install the cutting tools and maintain their cutting edges?
Automation can only do what it is told to do, and someone has to work through all the setup of the machine, tools, programs, fixtures, grippers, material handling equipment, and cell layout, and then teach the robots what to do and when. And when all of that is done, that cell can make that ONE PART very efficiently, if it is maintained and monitored properly.
Need to make another part? The whole process starts over. Maybe you can use the same machine tool and robots, maybe not. New fixtures and material handling systems are a given for every change over, as are new end-of-arm grippers for the the robots and gages for QC.
Manufacturing actually needs MORE people these days, because the part count is going down while part complexity is going up, but nobody is going into the trade because “everybody knows” that manufacturing is dying, and it’s hard to find a school to learn the trade in.
It takes time and a decent IQ to learn the skill, but once you do, there is always work to do, and if you don’t want to work for The Man™ you can always buy some machines (or A machine to start with) and go out on your own. The tools are readily accessible to small operators, and the business that you need isn’t usually chased by the big boys anyway. They’ll even sometimes refer tiny customers that they don’t want to deal with to you, just to be rid of them.
Manufacturing is never going away, and so the need for skilled people to do it will never go away.
What have gone away, more or less entirely, are the repetitive jobs that a human with the IQ of a trained cabbage could do all day long and make a living wage for. THOSE jobs got automated as soon as it was possible to do so.
Until they devise an AI that can problem solve and think creatively, there are going to be skilled machinists involved with manufacturing. If automation gets significantly cheaper you’ll see it employed for part quantities that are much lower than the current threshold, which would probably allow marginally fewer Button Pushers to make the same volume of stuff, but otherwise, robotic cells are already running at the capacity of their “intelligence” right now.
You can’t automate a process that only aims to turn out one or two of an object, and you’d be amazed how much of modern manufacturing is just that, “ones and twos, maybe half a dozen”. Each part might be worth north of a million bucks, but there’s just a few of them. You can’t “automate” that.
Even CNC machines and 3D printers require far more skill to operate than the average person understands.
You cannot just grab some Joe off the street, plop him down in front of a machine tool, hand him a program on a pen drive, and expect him to turn out usable parts (or even just not destroy the machine).
The addition of the computer allows more complex things to be done, but it does not obviate the need for knowledge and skill on the part of the operator.
Even Button Pushers need some training and skill with the machine they’re running. “Button Pushers” are guys who you put in front of the machine to change work pieces out and push the GO button after every cycle, and they can only use the machine after a skilled machinist has setup the process and proven the program. Button Pushers get automated out of a job pretty fast, and they’ll be the guys who get laid off if/when automation gets cheap enough to be used on small part counts (in the low hundreds instead of the mid-to-high thousands like it is now).
None of us will live to see a world where everything is automated, but we will increasingly see a world (year on year, IMO) where the stupidest amongst us are no longer smart enough to be able to learn how to do the jobs that need doing.
Ditches aren’t dug by hand anymore, ergo people who are too dumb to do anything besides digging ditches are going to be in trouble without some mechanism for their maintenance.
They can’t just be done away with, because that is plainly evil. Someone will get around to that idea though, and it’ll take everything the rest of us have left to not just go along with the crowd.
This will be made doubly difficult if the low IQ folks embrace the path of inner city blacks whereby they demand to be supported while also creating huge zones of violence and crime around themselves. It’s hard to muster an army to fight against society to save such belligerent souls.
Sure, there will be specialty manufacturing. Maybe it will even survive the onslaught of 3D printing. On the other hand, maybe it won’t. They’re 3D printing rocket engine parts now, you know. If they can 3D print million-dollar rocket engine parts at the grand quantity of 1, they can 3D print whatever it is that you make.
It’s a matter of time. I happen to think that two to three decades will mark the point that the transition gets well under way, but maybe your little niche will hold out for longer.
Pretty soon one designer and one engineer will be doing the work of what was once hundreds of people.
I was, at one time, a member of an organization made up of professional civil engineers. The group I usually gravitated to at our annual convention was quite lively, for PE’s. Within our group we held a competition to see who could devise the most ridiculous word bundle that could be passed-off as genuine to the main body of convention goers. We started this practice in the late 80’s and continued at least through 2012, which was the last year I attended. We were always amazed at how excepting our fellow engineers were of these nonsense phrases.
The Cult’s goal is to create Huxley’s Brave New World. Think about it: 1. population control, 2. test tube babies, 3. parents unnecessary, 4. start indoctrination at birth, 5. dissent and critical thinking ridiculed, 6. the mocking of religion, 6. sex as recreation, 7. everyone stoned.
I look forward to meeting Z and all of his commenters in Iceland in a few years.
Gold at midnight?
You had me until you changed it to golf.
The elves will steal the balls.
Malthus. Liberals are Malthusian at heart.
James Comey says he’ll bring Ice Weasels!
I manage projects for a fairly large company. We are pretty good about not using those kinds of nonsense phrases unless somebody invites HR or Marketing to a meeting – particularly females of those species. Our senior managers are still mostly cranky old white guys with low tolerance for that kind of BS.
I once saw our COO slap down that kind of talk with questions about price elasticity. All the finance / business managers had evil grins while the marketing folks looked panicked.
Damn, Z, now I have to find out what block chain is. And I fancy myself a smart guy!
If you really were a smart guy, you’d know that if you have to find out, you really don’t need to find out because you’d know already. 😉
Strong words, coming from a Ted.:) Of course I AM a Cretin!
It’s pretty simple. Instead of using an intermediary to keep track of, say a financial transaction, and paying vig for the privilege, you and the counter party deal and clear with each other.
Oh so go direct. Wait that’s too direct!