Many centuries ago I worked in a factory.
It was a large dirty and dark place, packed with people, noise and conveyer belts. It was a great place to work and the craic was mighty. I loved it.
We manufactured television sets which naturally contained loads of components and circuit boards. Each blank circuit board would start its journey down the conveyor, passing gaggles of women who each had their boxes of components which they would drop into the board before passing it on to the next person. It was tedious and repetitious but it was a job and the women loved it. I don’t know how many were employed in that factory but it was a lot.
Of course along came automation, where little robots took over all the little tedious tasks. They rarely made mistakes, never took lunch or tea breaks and didn’t even demand to go home to their families or to sleep. The bosses cried out that the workers were free from tedious tasks and the world was going to be a better place. Stuff will be so much cheaper when it’s mass produced, they proclaimed. The future will be a time of leisure and freedom.
Of course it didn’t work out like that. Kids left school and found that there weren’t any manufacturing jobs any more. Stuff that used to be assembled by a hundred people was now being produced by machines. A hundred acre crop could be harvested by one man in one day instead of a large team. So where were the kids to go when they leave school?
At the same time as they were producing robots, they were also producing computers, so there was a demand for people to sit at those computers analysing the crap out of everything and producing vast piles of statistics. I once had a demand from the Finance Director of RTE [a pig ignorant cunt, if ever there was one] who wanted a report itemising every single item, down to the last screw, piece of paper and paintbrush that had been used by every television programme in the previous year. I refused on the simple grounds that the printout would require dozens of crates of printout and that someone would have to be on standby for about 36 hours just feeding fresh paper into the printers. The report would have been useless as there was just too much information and no one could possibly read it all. But this was the future – management had discovered number crunching.
So we now have a large workforce whose sole occupation is producing reports, analysis and statistics. Accountants are having a field day as they can now quantify and cost every single nut and bolt in life. With the power of the computer they could cross reference statistics from different areas and thus epidemiology became the new craze. Want a job? Become an analyst, an accountant or, God forbid, a researcher.
I am no Luddite, but those computers have a lot to answer for.