A new era of production has begun. Its principles of organization are as different from those of the industrial era as those of the industrial era were different from the agricultural. The cybernation revolution has been brought about by the combination of the computer and the automated self-regulating machine. This results in a system of almost unlimited productive capacity which requires progressively less human labor. Cybernation is already reorganizing the economic and social system to meet its own needs.
The Ad Hoc Committee on The Triple Revolution, The Triple Revolution, April 6, 1964.
This committee included Linus Pauling (Nobel Prize in Chemistry), Gunnar Myrdal (Nobel Prize in Economics), and a long list of other notables, and the report was written for Lyndon Johnson.
They were right, they just got the timing wrong. It wasn’t the first wave of computers – laid down on top of existing business processes – that is emphemeralizing most human labor. It’s today’s wave, the new explosion of computing scale – in our hands (foreground) and in the cloud (background) – into which we are moving everything, and through which we can monitor and computicate with everything that’s connected: people, sensors, devices, intelligent and dumb apps, and autonomous gear.
Autonomous gear – like Bezos Amazon Prime Air demo (see What does the Amazon Prime Air experiment say about the future of work?) – is going to be a major force in sidelining people from things that are ‘work’ today, and will soon be viewed as something more like electricity streaming through the walls in our buildings: a resource like water, or cable.
You wouldn’t imagine having to pay someone to fill the tank of your toilet, would you? Soon that’s how we will think of pizza delivery or taking a cab to the movies.