An age of artificial intelligence is no longer an art of prescient prophecy, embedded in employment practices in many workplaces 24/7. Machines, motivated to perform at the press of a button, have replaced humans not just on the shopfloor but across entire businesses, reality predicting they will transcend the need for humans at work in more and more industries in the next fifty years.
Many may lament this technological takeover but in workplaces people currently inhabit, unconscious expectations already require a machine mentality, batteries charged and wires connected to be switched on at entry as one deposits his or her heart and emotions at the door before check-in at their desks.
Psychological pundits of the workplace have recently asserted that to relieve arduous hours in the workplace and ease the stress of unrelenting pressures, we practice mindfulness, even yoga at work to refresh our minds and enhance creative productivity. These may of course help, but 40 years experience at work taught me humanity was of no value and no worth and what was appreciated and acknowledged instead were automated, robotic responses to The Boss’ regime.
Humanity, encompassing all frailties, foibles and fallacies of a real human being including making the odd mistake, albeit without serious financial or psychological repercussions, crying at the desk over a personal issue, laughing out loud at a private reflection, talking about something other than work or even engaging in a four-letter profanity that vented anger but directed at no one in particular, was simply infra dig at work. This all-too pervasive code of practice, not on most PDs or assorted job advertisements, dictates any manifestation of being human as absolutely forbidden. What’s really important is an ‘alien’ attitude, guaranteeing a mechanised mantra that enshrines 24/7 productivity.
One academic researcher recently found people buried at the bottom levels of the power hierarchy in the workplace experienced greater health problems than those entrusted with making the significant decisions at the top; a race of life between rats and robots with the rats supreme as their circuit is switched on to status and success, rewarded for out shining their less capable competitors.
Perhaps what we need now to reduce workplace stress are not new psychological ploys or artistic acrobatics but a recognition by the rats that people are not robots of routine, but human beings with feelings and sensitivities as relevant as mental acumen and expertise in all fields of endeavour.
Turning off the old source of power at the plug to switch on a different pattern of respect and dignity heralding humanity as heroic, could revolutionise work and engender a new understanding for Positions Vacant: Only HUMANS need apply!