Technology Work

Robotizing both employees and customers

Here’s How AI Will Come for Your Job by Charlie Warzel (The Atlantic)

If artificial intelligence is coming for our jobs, its plan is to turn us all into middle managers of overlapping, interacting AI systems.


Artificial Labor by Ed Zitron (Where’s Your Ed At)

…there are parts of rot capitalism that fantasize about the concept of entirely removing human interaction with the consumer.

The great thing about artificial intelligence for companies is that it allows them to hold customers at arm’s length while still pretending to give a shit… A customer can still be “helped,” but not in any way that gives them progress or influence over the organization – they are trapped in an autonomous world where the rules are entirely set by the company.

Unionization terrifies them, because unions don’t just protect laborers, but the quality and value of labor itself.

Emphasis mine.


See also:

I don’t want this to be the future

Who does AI work for?

Future Building Technology

Who does AI work for?

Liked Will A.I. Become the New McKinsey? by Ted Chiang (The New Yorker)

If we cannot come up with ways for A.I. to reduce the concentration of wealth, then I’d say it’s hard to argue that A.I. is a neutral technology, let alone a beneficial one.

Today, we find ourselves in a situation in which technology has become conflated with capitalism, which has in turn become conflated with the very notion of progress. If you try to criticize capitalism, you are accused of opposing both technology and progress. But what does progress even mean, if it doesn’t include better lives for people who work?

Talking about AI is talking about the future of work is talking about the future of society.

Activism Work Writing

Solidarity with the writer’s strike ✊✍️

Liked WGA strike 2023: Hollywood’s writers walked off the job. What happens now? by Alissa Wilkinson (Vox)

The guild is trying to get ahead of AI scripts and make sure streaming pays.

We’re in unfamiliar waters here. But there’s some indication that, unless an agreement is reached very soon, this could be the summer not just of a WGA strike, but a mega-strike — or, at least, a tense set of negotiations and a lot of uncertainty.

Here is what we know. The contracts for both the DGA, to which Hollywood’s directors belong, and SAG-AFTRA, the union for actors and voice actors, are up for renegotiation at the end of June.


Meanwhile, the president of IATSE, which represents Hollywood’s “below-the-line” workers — everyone from grips to craft services to first aid to electricians — has notified members that they may choose to honor the writers’ picket lines, though employers may choose to hire temporary replacements. (IATSE narrowly averted a strike in 2021.) The Teamsters (who drive trucks, wrangle animals, manage locations, and a lot more) also may choose not to cross picket lines.

Teamsters don’t fuck around, no way they’re crossing a picket line.

Culture Featured Technology Writing

Mining intellectual value

Liked Television writer on fight with studios, networks: “We’re looking at the extinction of writing as a profession” (World Socialist Web Site)

The executives, the management and their attorneys have taken the Writers Guild minimum basic agreement [MBA] and they’ve gone through it with a fine-tooth comb looking for every conceivable loophole, and exploiting those to the hilt. Basically, these companies would like to view us as Uber drivers.

But when you go into this mini-room and commit to this time, you don’t have any guarantee that if the show does go ahead, you’re going to be on the show, because those kinds of commitments are part of the “old model.”

The companies are saying: we’re not going to do that anymore; we’re not committing to you. We’re not promising you anything. We’re just saying, come in, we’ll pay you like piece workers, give us your best ideas and then get the hell out.

This is all part of the same business perspective that rejects artistry, rejects art, rejects the value of teamwork, rejects originality. This is the mindset that cancels once-flagship shows before their final season because the profit margin’s not high enough (Westworld) and writes off completed movies for tax reasons (Batgirl). There is no respect for the human creators who contributed to the show; they got their money, isn’t that enough? As Doctorow calls it, this is the enshittification of the entertainment industry, and in this case of culture itself, all for short-term shareholder value.

Getting Shit Done Work

Work intensification

Liked How the Push for Efficiency Changes Us by Tara McMullinTara McMullin (

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared this the Year of Efficiency for the company.
It was time for them to buckle down and get leaner, get flatter, and get more optimized… Efficiency initiatives are all about doing the same (or more) with less.
And while sometimes that can be done purely through technology, *humans* often bear the brunt of efficiency initiatives.

Work intensification happens on two levels. First, there’s the amount and pace of work. In the case of layoffs and the euphemistic “restructuring,” that’s literally making up for the work that used to be done by one’s former colleagues by adding it to the remaining employees’ workloads. Second, there’s the type of work being done and its emotional or cognitive load.

Hard work, long hours, real commitment—that’s the recipe for moving forward. But it’s not as though it’s a temporary sacrifice for those who remain.

Waiting for the remaining workers at Meta and Amazon to unionize 😎 Not that my union was much help to me, but at least I had someone on my side.

Art and Design Society

A Magic Wand

Replied to We’re on the cusp of another revolution by Ray (

💬 Replied to Will “good enough” AI beat human artists? — Tracy Durnell → “I’d say AI is not good enough yet for most use cases, but it will get

I love this way of thinking about the new AI art tools: magic. I am excited to see how people without art training use them, plus how artists will use renderings as tools (to iterate ideas quickly, to storyboard, to create mood / conceptual art, etc.). There’s a lot of good that can come from tools like this, and they seem like fun!

I’m just wary of the impact of tools like this in our corporatist society that values people only for the paid work they produce, and doesn’t support providing a social safety net. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become much more sympathetic to the Luddites, whose skilled labor had given them a good lifestyle since they were paid by the piece and could work as much or little as they wanted; mechanized looms stole their power and lifestyle by replacing skilled work with drudge work in poor conditions for low pay. Mechanized weaving made cloth more affordable and more widely available, so I can’t say it was a bad tool, but we’re still suffering the social fallout from the way mechanization was used and who controlled it. I still hope as a society we can work through some of these issues and grow into a culture where a cool new tool doesn’t spell possible financial disaster for a whole profession.

Activism Work

“Work to rule”

Bookmarked A Quick Note on ‘Quiet Quitting’ by Anne Helen Petersen (Culture Study)

I’ve yet to see any TikToks that explicitly connect the dots between “quiet quitting” and what’s long been known within labor activism as “work to rule,” which is when a group of workers collectively decide to really do the bare minimum of their job descriptions…The goal: communicate just how much employers depend on motivated, engaged workers who feel adequately and fairly compensated for the work that they do.

🙄 I assume preventing this tactic is why every job description at my old work listed “other duties as assigned.” And I was in a union 🤷‍♀️

The quiet quitting thing is stupid. Really, bosses are so confused about what a job is that they consider it a form of quitting to not do additional work beyond your job description (and sometimes multiple people’s jobs because they can’t be fussed to hire quickly or retain workers)? 🤨 Talk about entitlement.