What About the Workers?

What About the Workers?


There is much talk in the media at this present time
About the future of work which may be in decline
For the robots are coming to take every job
And thus from the people their income to rob

Started long ago with machines on the farm
Agricultural labourers indeed felt the harm
Then the cottage industries soon disappeared
As new textile machinery got into gear

But then came lots of jobs in the world of commerce
A white-collar career seemed to offer great promise
Armies of typists and clerks neatly attired
Could occupy desks until they retired

In due course the factories became automated
Old fashioned methods soon were outdated
The workers had to keep pace with machines
Under controllers at shiny computer screens

As systems evolved in the world of business
Unremitting change with no forgiveness
Artificial intelligence now to-day’s greatest threat
As thinking machines the workers beset

So clerks and typists and check-out operators
Are all under threat by the perpetrators
Of autonomous devices needing no human hands
So how might the workers this onslaught withstand?

The world of the call centre is another workplace
Where humans may no doubt soon be replaced
With robots programmed to handle our needs
Without delay at remarkable speed

And the press is full of stories of cars
Who will drive themselves however far
So taxis and vans with armies of drivers
With redundancy there won’t be any survivors

Because make no mistake this robotic invasion
Even of professional work will see infiltration
So that Doctors’ diagnoses and lawyers’ advice
Replaced by software at reasonable price

Even accountants who make a comfortable living
Charging fancy fees without any misgiving
May find the deep mysteries of their craft
Undertaken by robots instead of their staff

So how are we going to earn our daily corn
With no work to do won’t we be all forlorn?
With no wage coming in, how will we survive
For it’s surely money that helps keep us alive?

Well perhaps in due time we’ll find paradise
If some generous government being oh so wise
Lets the robots do all the work that there is to do
And we get the income which was our wage hitherto

In such a perfect world at ease we could rest
With no daily toil we would be free of all stress
The robots will serve and never complain
And we the ex-workers can take all the gain!

Ken Fisher

By way of evidence for the above tirade here are just two
quotations from the Business Section of the Daily Telegraph
on 27 February 2017:

‘Robot lined up to handle O2 enquiries’
‘The car giant FORD has teamed up with an artificial 
intelligence company to work on new generations of
driverless cars’

From the Sunday Times 26 Feb 2017:
Aviva Insurance has asked its 16,000 staff: 
could a robot do your job?  If so the company 
will retrain employees for new roles.

And this more ominous headline from the US:

‘Why the United Nations must  move forward with a killer 
robots ban  – If we don’t get a ban in place there will be
an artificial intelligence arms race’



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