Five of the Silliest Ideas About the Near-Future of Work - Pacific Standard

Five of the Silliest Ideas About the Near-Future of Work

The way we work is changing, but not quickly enough for the boosters peddling these ideas.
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The biggest problem with “the future of work” is that it distracts us from the current state of work. Fantasies are nice, and science fiction is fun, but here are five of the silliest ideas about the near-future of work.

1. OFFICES ARE OVER

(Illustration: Susie Cagle)

(Illustration: Susie Cagle)

Telepresence technology is improving, but rather slowly. Some companies may be outsourcing to cheap telecommuters abroad, but offices—where your boss can most effectively manage and surveil you—still rule.

2. ROBOTS ARE GOING TO TAKE OVER ASAP

(Illustration: Susie Cagle)

(Illustration: Susie Cagle)

This is exciting, but machines are actually not great at doing stuff.

3. PART-TIME, FLEXIBLE, MOVING-TARGET EMPLOYMENT IS THE NEW NORMAL

(Illustration: Susie Cagle)

(Illustration: Susie Cagle)

Precarious work is often hailed as the future, and it may yet be, some day—but the vast majority of Americans still have regular jobs.

4. AND IT'S COMPLETELY AWESOME

(Illustration: Susie Cagle)

(Illustration: Susie Cagle)

We still mostly have regular jobs because we need to make as much as we can—wages have stagnated, and cost of living is only going up. If anything, part-time jobs will supplement that meager income.

5. WHEN THE ROBOTS TAKE OVER, WE'LL ALL MAGICALLY HAVE MORE WEALTH AND BE TOTALLY TAKEN CARE OF

(Illustration: Susie Cagle)

(Illustration: Susie Cagle)

Yeah right.

The Crooked Valley is an illustrated series exploring the systems of privilege and inequality that perpetuate tech's culture of bad ideas.

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