The workshop, the office, the farm, an old bedroom, a factory or a couch–be it borrowed or your own. That is where the story begins. These days, the story can begin anywhere, really. It can even begin via an email or a Zoom call with someone who you have never met and may never meet.

It may begin via a thought that streams through your consciousness so hard and so fast that you have no choice but to act on it. And what’s the first thing you do? You get online.

No fast-paced technological change has ever led to anyone giving up the craft that they love. If anything, it’s made them think about how they can do it differently. How they now have to do it differently.

Why would someone stop practising their craft? Would someone ‘successful’ ever give up their craft to help others? Maybe for a time they may take on a few apprentices and so on. This, however, is a pre-Industrial Revolution style of doing business. You’d have to work your way to the top and you’d have to do it step-by-step.

Think about life as an endless stream of opportunities where you get an infinite number of chances to offer your talents, your life’s purpose and your gifts to the world in a way that makes a contribution to as many people as possible.

Part of that journey is teaching and training your skillset to others. Part of that journey is harnessing the technological change that could, quite literally, change the way you do things.

The Master Artisan–whom I like to think of as our Higher Self–rewards his or her most talented and industrious artisans with a number of shining gems. The artisan’s hands are open and he accepts remuneration for his skills.

In this purview, the artisan is the worker and the craftsman. The Master Artisan is the business owner who was once the artisan. But it is the technology that allows them to do the best work of their lives.

Manual, Mechanical and Automated

Manual work. It has been sharply and steadily decreasing over the past three Industrial Revolutions–from the First to the Second to the Third. With each sweeping technological change, we do less repetitive and manual work. We leave it to the machines to do it for us. We no longer see the point in doing work that is repetitive. If we can afford to either mechanise or automate the process, we will.

For most of human prehistory and history, manual work and animal labour have been the primary ways that we have done work. While mechanisation and automation–which reduce the need for human and animal labour–have existed for centuries, it was only in the 18th and 19th centuries that they began to significantly expand and to change human culture as a whole.

For mass implementation, inventors had to come up with technology that was viable for commercial use. Its capital costs had to be justified; as did the research costs that went into creating the invention. Inventing and acquiring the technology wasn’t the end game as the technology would have to undergo numerous iterations and upgrades and continue to do so into perpetuity.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?

Worker displacement, redundancy and retrenchment are significant economic and social issues that arise from the consequences of mechanisation and automation. Semi-automation has been touted as an alternative to complete worker displacement. It combines human labour, automation and computerisation to leverage the advantages of both man and the machine.

Ultimately, the purpose of mechanisation and automation is to reduce the amount of manual labour required for production. The motivations: to remove drudgery from people’s lives, to lower the costs of production as well as to bring greater flexibility to production.

Mechanisation occurred first in tasks that required either little dexterity or a narrow repertoire of dextrous movements. For instance: providing motive force or tractive force in locomotives and engines; digging, loading and unloading bulk materials as well as weaving.

Automation, on the other hand, helped to bring mechanisation to more complicated tasks that require more dexterity and decision-making based on visual input and a wider variety of movements.

Through this process, even tasks that once could not be successfully mechanised–such as shelf stocking or many kinds of fruit and vegetable picking–have undergone process redesign leading to even smaller amounts of manual labour.

It seems that when we no longer need to work, we find a new way to work.

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