FOR AWHILE NOW that I believe we have yet to see the widest, most epoch-shaping change the digital revolution will bring about in human society, and — no — it’s not the so-called Singularity.
I think that the digital revolution has yet to truly revolutionize Work.
Just as the Internet — composed of small, atomic, independent, intelligent, and autonomous units — models the ideal of capitalism (and, indeed, any spontaneous social organism created by Man), so, too, will the organization and function of business, of commerce, once people get the message and figure it out.
People will stop being wage slaves. They will, instead, become self-employed independent contractors, members of ad hoc business units which form, dissolve, and reform on an as-needed basis. Government regulation of businesses who use employees will drive this as much as the desire of individuals to be independent free actors.
In short, I believe that the Internet will make possible a revolution in how people earn their livings, with the vast majority of us being self-employed, working at home or from small offices or shops near to or attached to our homes, serving several “employers” (more accurately client), in a kind of cottage-industrial electronic village.
But I’ve always wondered, how do you handle the big ones? You can’t build the necessary supporting technology for an airliner or a robot in one-man shops. You just can’t. Also, you have issues with security, proprietary information and collateral intellectual property. It will be hard, too, for people used to doing things the old way to let go. But just as the appearance of microcomputers on the desktop revolutionized the workplace, eliminating the whole class of pink collar workers almost in one fell swoop, so, too (I believe), this change will catch a lot of observers by surprise, appearing on the scene as a fait accompli before the punditocracy can formulate a reaction.
But what about the big ones?
Daffyd ab Hugh seems to have figgered it out.