Wednesday Reading on Manufacturing and Automation

Wednesday Reading on Manufacturing and Automation

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal, Jobs and the Clever Robot, dredges up once again the debate “will automation take away all jobs”.

In typical modern journalism style, the article offers no conclusion. It’s “he said, she said” reporting. Let’s just go out and get a few quotes on each side and fill some space. “People are always interested in whether their jobs will go away,” I’m sure some editor told a reporter.

I, for one, wish we already had driverless cars. My trips to Chicago over the past 16 years would have been so much better if I could have read or worked rather than driving. No train or bus was a feasible alternative. I don’t really want to see truck drivers lose their jobs, but every time I’m on suspect roads (slush, ice, snow, fog) and have a semi rig pass me at a high rate of speed I’d love to see automated drivers.

The problem is, we cannot foresee the types of jobs and the changes in work coming in the future. Maybe we need some science fiction writers to tackle the subject and dream up alternative scenarios. What is manufacturing going to look like in 20 years? Can we automate any more of a refinery than we do now? Should we? That would give us more to think on.

Critical reading

Speaking of “he said, she said” journalism, take this article in The New York Times from this morning, Should Athletes Eat Fat or Carbs?

The writer says that most athletes believe in building up with carbs for a workout, but maybe fats would be just as good or better. Once again the methodology was to go out and interview a bunch of people, string together truncated quotes, reach the desired word limit, hit “send” on the keyboard.

There is too much of this writing. In B2B as well as mainstream media. Let’s take a stand, or at least give a reasoned analysis.

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