After a TechCrunch article writer by Sarah Lacy posted August 22, 2011
A few months ago Sarah Lacy, a TechCrunch.com writerwas giving a talk in her hometown of Memphis, TN, and someone asked what the city could do to ignite more entrepreneurship among inner city kids. Her immediate answer was to teach coding– even basic app building skills– along with English and Math in every public school. She was surprised that her brother– an engineer who worked for many years in Silicon Valley before relocating to the Midwest– didn’t necessarily agree.
The thing is that while this is a first level issue of who gets the jobs needed in coding – foreign or domestic coders, it occurred to me that we are in the 30th year or so of serious code writing and it has had some unanticipated consequences. The changes in the world that have been brought about by the Internet and technology have changed what is done by people. Now, more and more what is done is done by software applied to different technologies. The world of TechCrunch and other quasi-geek clusters are alive and well due to the prevalence of algorithms. They are the workers in a mired of different ways today.
They paint the cars, cut the steel, do the book binding, print the content, answer the phone and a zillion other things that we all used to do. In a cumulative way the jobs that were are now being done by technology just like was the case when ol’ Ned Lud (see emphatic published accounts for the most favorite spelling…) brought to mythical status between 1779 and 1812 that changes in British textile practices were coming to a screeching halt.
No, I am not being Luddite here. I am simply pointing out that, when all the talking heads whine and moan about this political union or that political union not producing jobs for the reconstitution of the economy, they should take note; the jobs in the past that went away aren’t coming back. Many of them aren’t coming back due to being long overdue to be absorbed before the downturn and no one – or not many, took notice.
Instead of asking for someone else to provide jobs, it is time to create jobs based on that uncomfortable situation that we find ourselves in every 70-90 years. Change has overtaken the status quo. Now we need to create jobs that machines can’t do – yet. That is, jobs involving organizing communities, infrastructure, law, education and human-care… for children, for families in transition, for elders and for soldiers who are brought back and deposited on the steps of America. They were taught how to do what was necessary to what they had to do to survive. Nowhere is the training they get any better for that purpose. Now however, they have done that under duress, for double tours, etc. etc. etc. To be spit out by those that trained them as worn out and disposable civilians with defects without the slightest bit of care on how to survive reestablish domestic values, is despicable. Software and algorithms can’t pull that off. We can if we stop waiting for someone else to do something we favor or don’t find dogmatically repugnant.
HP’s decision to go big and purchase the U.K.’s Autonomy Corp., and probably other players doesn’t seem so ridiculous under a ‘software good – hardware sad’ scenario, does it.