OHai Corona 18
The use of tech, AI, and machine labour. It’s a given, that corporations will take to using the technology that will be proven in the forges of this pandemic. Once a technology has proven to work, if that technology will result in a lower bottom line for the costs of the corporation, they will have to use it or face their competition who WILL use it to stay ahead.
We don’t seem to have a “fair use” case for anything. Oh and don’t blame corporations for their fickle following of the almighty dollar – if YOU didn’t, they’d have less reason to.
Consider: If you lived ~100 years ago, there were no ‘supermarkets’ anywhere. Your locale had butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers, and dry grocers. You had a market square that was probably in use all week. And then as now the value you received for your work was the value you had to put toward your groceries and other expenses – there was no wiggle room built in.
You’d faithfully go to Smith & Sons butcher shop and buy your meat. Until Roland & Roland set up a butcher shop across the street and sold their product for a few cents cheaper than old Smith. Oh it might come from an animal left a few weeks to grow a bit bigger and therefore a bit tougher – but 5c is 5c…
And then Mr Smith would have to go and find animals that were cheaper so he could stay competitive and win your fickle custom back. Eventually that sort of thing just became the Done Thing, cut a few cents here and a dollar there, meanwhile put pressure on the farmer growing the cattle to sell them for a few dollars less,and then of course the farmer had less money to stay faithful to the local feed supplier they used to do all their business with.
We all want to be better off than our parents, want to get more product for less money, have some money left over for luxury items. (Which then develop a price / quality war of their own in the competition for your money…)
Any time before that 100 or so years would have seen you growing a lot of your own food in your garden, and perhaps raising a few animals yourself. And how would you feed six sheep and a cow in your modest garden and yard? Simple. Back then there was this concept of a thing called The Commons. The Commons were for everybody to feed animals, grow trees, etc.
As we got more and more invested in a life where the farmer grew your vegetables and animals, and the grocers and butchers and bakers processed it into food for you, the Commons became victim to opportunistic local barons / manor lords / whatever, who ‘sold’ those Commons to the people now producing your food. In the process we (and you) lost an inestimably valuable resource which we would now be hard pressed to get back.
That the local Lord Farquard got rich out of it and not your grandparents is regrettable but by now irreversible, sorry old chap. But you see another trend. Private wealth has been created out of Common Property. When finally both Smith & Sons and Roland & Roland butchers are bought out by Combined Meagmeats Corporation, you can be sure that those two small businesses did not do well out of the transactions, and also, you will very quickly lose the choice you had between Smiths’ really tasty Waygyu beef and the Rolands’ choice of venison and other game meats.
Very quickly, you find yourself eating ground up abattoir floor sweepings that are passed off as prime minced beef from either store as they will both be operated by the same corporation. And pretty soon, the old Smith & Sons store will be sold to The Wooly Supermarket Corporation who will sell the same floor sweepings at 50c a kilo cheaper in their meat section.
And you’ll go there for your meat from now on, the old Rolands’ store that used to be CMMC’s last store in town will also close due to failing business, and some fast food franchise will save you the trouble of making those floor sweepings into burger patties and sell you their delicious Big Bubba Burgers from the new drive-through they’ve just opened.
All for those precious few cents…
Do you really think anyone will care after the pandemic that they’re telehealth consulting with a real doctor or an AI instead of going to the medical cnetre and sitting in the office speaking to good old Dr Raymond whose in person consult fees are twice what a telehealth consult costs?
Considering how much testing AI and telehealth are going through right now, most people will save the twenty dollars and use them to buy more burgers or put it towards the latest mobile phone.
Will you care that people in your country have been put out of work making your clothes because AI mechanised factories are now making all the clothes? Let me give you a clue: The clothing you’ve been buying for the last 30 years USED TO BE made by local people but then the factory started getting some Asian or Indian sweatshop factory to make it. And we’re still buying it.