Is This The Future?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 27, 2017

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Submitted: July 27, 2017

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Is This The Future?

Yesterday morning the TV just happened to catch my eye with a report on a cotton mill in the UK. I did not see the start of the report so don’t know where it was, but it’s location really is beside the point of this essay. What struck me about it was the emptiness of the place.

When I think of cotton mills I still think back to the past, where there were lots of people physically involved in the process. But what I saw was a room, a massive one, surrounded by banks of computerised machinery, and no doubt computers themselves; what ever was there was all behind closed doors. The entire process of spinning was carried out by a couple of machines and there were perhaps five people overseeing the job.

This reminded me of the future envisioned in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s. The future was going to be one of shared wealth and lots of leisure, with very little work to be done by humans. This was going to be some kind of utopia with machines carrying out the bulk of labour.

Well, they got some parts right, I suppose. More and more machines are replacing people in jobs. Work in many industries has dwindled to almost nothing. But is there any kind of utopia? I don’t think so. People without work do not have the money to spend on leisure. Let’s face it, many can barely cover the costs of accommodation and food. The gap between the rich and the poor has grown ever wider.

There has been no redistribution of wealth, well, not in a way that has made things fairer. There are more millionaires than ever before but there are more homeless people too.

The population of the world continues to grow, with better health care, better sanitation, the increase in life expectancy ages. But there are whole sections of society in the so-called affluent Western World that have to rely on food banks just to feed their families, that have to live in just one room and literally scrape by from one day to the next.

Are we looking towards a future where the work is done by the robots and machines; the wealth is put into the bank accounts of those that have so much they hardly know what to do with it; and the rest of us are confined to a miserable existence in slum-like environments? I hope not. But that is what I thought of when I saw that report.


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