Rob Urie in Couterpunch has written an essay about Technology and Economic Imperialism that infers technology exists merely or primarily to benefit those in the financial area. That nobody would willing employ or adapt a technology that would put them out of work. Consciously or subconsciously. But we do it all the time and have done so from the very beginning. That there is some kind of hidden collusion between those who are responsible for technology and the financial sector that appears to benefit from it. But is this truly not the case.
When Edison came up with the electric light, was he working in consort with JP Morgan ? Or when the internal combustion engine was developed, was it for the to make money for the bankers ?
An anvil salesman was just as likely to ride a train or a motor car as anyone else. Simply because it served his needs better than a horse an buggy, even though doing so was putting and end to his profession. We began to buy and use home computers because they helped us to perform tasks that were otherwise difficult or we could not do. Putting our finances on them, ordering stuff on them and designing things on them. Even though we would eliminate draftsmen and sales clerks and personal accountants by doing so.
I have designed a printed circuit for an audio power amplifier on my computer. It’s not a fancy program, in fact rather primitive compared to what’s out there but it was cheap and easy to use. I really did not need to know much, if any, electronics to do it. I could have just copied the schematic from the book I got it out of into the schematic capture program that is part of it. Give the component values and numbers to to each component as given in the book. Invoked the autorouter program and the computer would have laid out the board for me. All I would have to do is a bit of component rearranging, change the copper trace widths and pad sizes and such. And if I wanted, just send the data files off to someplace to have the PC board made. Some places would also put the parts on the board for me. But I chose to do it this way. There are even applications for this that will analyze the circuit and tell me if it is viable or not and what to change, before I even get the board made.
We already have robotic harvesting such as here and here and here. Even strawberry picking, like here and here. This technology will only improve. Completely robotic farms are the eventual outcome of this. GMO plants will not be necessary as intelligent robots could monitor each plant individually for proper water, nutrients and sunlight. Monitoring it’s growth
We already have robotic surgery now. And could have complete computerized surgery. With computer vision and a huge data bank of every procedure and a complete physical and blood chemistry work up, surgical and anesthesia errors would be greatly reduced.
Engineers will be only necessary for high level research as well as computer scientists. Since all current designs will be in databases and writing actual code only needed for the highest levels. I can already do web pages, JAVA and create GUI programs with out having to know one bit of coding. Simply drag and drop and the application does the rest.
Eventually all of this will come to pass. Not because if enriches some person or group financially but because people will want it because it works better than what they had.
When I first got into computers in the early 1970s, having a home computer was considered ridiculous. Where would one put it ? And a terra byte of disk memeory, let alone giga bytes of ram was unheard of. I have them all now.
So what do we do when even the garbage man is replaced by home disintegrater beam or recycler. When teachers themselves are not really necessary. Or even the general practitioner. When people do things because the want to, not because they have to.
Capitalism requires people to perform tasks but when people are no longer needed or even desired to perform these tasks, what then.
Or will we try to ditch it all just to save a system that only benefits a few ?