Thoughts on high-tech work

Anonymous student post

High-tech work strives us towards one goal: efficiency. People use high-tech tools which enable them to work faster, practically, and from anywhere around the globe (ex. pc, email, social network, etc…). Companies replace monotonous task work (ex. assembly line) with automated robots and other high tech. Simply put, high tech work is utilized on both a micro and macro level. On a micro level, as noted in the beginning, individual workers equip themselves with high tech tools enabling them to collaborate and work with peers constantly while adapting to the rapid pace of the ever changing climate of business. On a macro level, companies utilize high technology for aiding profit maximization and cutting labor costs. Companies can collect and manage customer data allowing companies to specifically target advertisements towards a user, increasing the rate of consumption rate – Social network giants such as Facebook sell user data to potential advertisers. For labor cuts, as mentioned at the beginning, replacing for example assembly line workers with automated robots is an example.

High tech work – efficiency, speed, profit maximization, cost cuts – sounds good for those who are able to adapt. However, there are concerns, and those are: being permanently ON-LINE, and a means to an end. Let’s start with “permanently ON-LINE.” Although this is case dependent, high tech workers are most likely able to work anywhere (ex. from their mobile / laptops). This may lead to a situation where they end up being permanently  “ON-LINE”, slowly undermining their focus and health. Whereas once the goal was efficiency, the very tools that enable one to become “efficient” carries the risk of becoming the source of “inefficiency.” The second concern I have is that high tech work, or more specifically, the tools that enable workers or companies to embrace high tech work can become a “means to an end.” There are individuals and corporations that develop the contents, tools, applications that make high tech work possible, such as google, apple, microsoft and many other individual or small startups developing apps. There are numerous tools, apps which enables us to work more efficiently, but I wonder, “Do we need more?” “Isn’t this enough?” A lot of hardware and especially software these days tend to have too similar characteristics when compared, which leads me to think, “Is your goal just getting the product out there? Or are you really trying to make people’s lives better?” Whichever the answer, it might be time for the high tech industry to take a step back, and take a deep breath.

References

The third industrial revolution http://www.economist.com/node/21553017

This Robot Could Transform Manufacturing http://www.technologyreview.com/news/429248/this-robot-could-transform-manufacturing/

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