1. Technology is by definition an invention to save time - to accomplish a given task in a smaller period of time.

  2. The growth of technology has been exponential.

  3. However no lessening of the time people work has happened.

Is work then virtual? That is, its ostensible purpose is not its true purpose - for example we could posit Foucaults idea of a disciplinary society; that is work as a tool to discipline the body social/politic?

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    (a) How would one assess your assertion 2.? How does one measure the growth of technology? Moore's Law measures the advance of the density of transistors in a silicon chip, and there are similar observations regarding the rate of technological advancement, but this need not apply generally beyond electronics, nor is density on silicon chips equivalent to "amount of technology". (b) If the lessening of work hasn't happened, is this not possibly because we have aimed to achieve more work in the same amount of time, rather than less total work? Apr 2 '13 at 0:18
  • 1)Technology is by definition an invention to save time, and save jobs too 3)However lessening of the time people work hasn't happened, for those who still have full time jobs."Is work as a tool to discipline the body social/politic?" Is it a ideological question? Apr 2 '13 at 1:26
  • What I'm indicating is this: if society has tended to increase the amount of tasks done per unit time, then this could explain (3) even if you granted (1) and (2). Apr 2 '13 at 1:26
  • @Beaudrap: regarding point a) I'm not sure that measurement is practicable in the full meaning of the world; but certainly one could gather evidence for/against it. as to point b) I should make a difference between work as in labour, that is required for the tedious neccessity to keep a society or a man ongoing,and as work as fruitful vocation - for example becoming a violinist. Apr 2 '13 at 1:49
  • @beaudrap: additional work can explain 3,and that is pertinent. What is the nature of this extra work? Apr 2 '13 at 1:51

I think there's an ambiguity on the word "work".

Sense 1: work is how much gets accomplished. Sense 2: how many hours of labor a person has to do in a day.

Technology has increased the amount of work that we do in sense 1. An individual can accomplish far more, in some sense, in any given 24 hour period today than would have been possible 100 years ago. I can communicate with people all over the globe, I can transport myself or some goods several thousands of miles if I want. And so on.

On the other hand, this increased amount accomplished hasn't lessened the daily burdens placed upon us. But this isn't because technology has failed, it's because people's standards have risen--you might be able to live in a dirt-floored shack only working an hour a day today, but you wouldn't want to. You want to live in a nice modern house with plumbing, and heat that is fire resistant and will last for a long time, etc. Your house is a lot nicer than the houses a hundred years ago, probably, which means that more work-in-the-first-sense was required to produce it. hence you still have to do a lot of work-in-the-second-sense to afford it.


Technology has advanced greatly and the rate of innovation has been accelerating (although I would say that this rate is approaching a plateau).

It has certainly advanced to a degree that it is steadily replacing the human element at the work place. As humans become redundant in an increasing number of tasks so too will society be increasingly at pressure to adjust to current circumstances.

Work continues to flow. Jobs are created. Economies expand. Where these fail - austerity measures and unemployment take hold. Humans are addicted to work because it is what most are raised to believe - Work hard so that you can work better and become materially gifted (a paraphrase, admittedly).

But as technology continues to advance, work shall become increasingly a sentimental process - an act of perpetuation because the purpose of life has been so closely tied to work.

A humanity ill-adjusted for a non-work-based life purpose would suffer in the same way that a large portion of people suffer post-pension stresses as their health, physical, emotional and mental, declines.

Work is virtual in two circumstances. It is virtual when it is a process not directly related to the task at hand (for example - cleaning or maintaining one's tools between uses). It is also virtual when it is non-essential to the needs of society or self (anything from parking attendants to and beyond marketing managerial positions).

What if technology were to reach levels whereby it could completely take on essential work processes, leaving only some virtual work processes for humans to handle. It would be possible for humans to continue performing the tasks overtaken but perhaps humanity would be set to adjust to the new reality and embrace the consequences.



  1. Lots of overhead in order to do work. You can only employ one human to do this job since lots of waste accumulates.
  2. Little overhead. You can use the savings to employ more people to do more work with the same amount of money/energy/time/food.

Since we don't work just for works sake but to satisfy real or virtual needs of others the more people work the more demand for work exists since each persons time is finite and you cannot work on all things at the same time. (specialization)

So in the future one of my prognosis would be an automated production and then a lot of sales people selling stuff to each other and on the other hand a lot of support and service people fixing issues or helping you if you have a problem.

More people with more stuff = more issues = more people need to sell new stuff or fix broken stuff.

The only way out would be to build quality products that last 20years+. But still nobody prevents you from trashing your perfectly working phone in order to buy a new shiny one anyway.

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