The subjects in this post can be considered ‘new ideas’ but like all new ideas, they have been percolating through thinkers and tinkerers for decades. Just now though, these ideas are emerging into the public consciousness as having both a means of production and a cultural purpose. The first idea is about what motivates our willingness to work and the second is about the fact that science already has the capability to change any, even most of any creature’s DNA – including humans.
PBS News Hour covered both topics in one edition of the program on January 5, 2017.
The mariner wrote a post about what motivates us to work and the manner in which we can sustain our livelihood if ‘jobs’ aren’t available. Mariner quotes three cogent paragraphs which apply specifically to this topic:
“It is important to dissect “job” from “work.” A job is the result of hiring by an employer wherein the individual hired receives a salary or some form of recompense. Work is the act of investing personal time, energy, and other resources wherein the individual feels justified in one’s behavior and feels personally responsible for one’s contribution; the individual also derives a sense of self-worth from doing the work. A job can fulfill an act of work but work has a broader definition that includes the wellbeing of the individual.”
“There will come a moment when a great layoff will occur for which job replacement is not available. In that moment, a new world of work will be born wherein citizens are paid a stipend so that each citizen may continue to work – whether a job definition exists is irrelevant. A society cannot operate except people are allowed expression through work, contribution, and personal gratification. A “job,” on the other hand, is a matter of definition, nothing else.”
There is no doubt that the welfare mother who raises her children to be responsible adults is doing valuable work. In the future, this could be considered her job.
In the PBS interview of Dan Ariely, he says that many experiments have been performed with unsuspecting workers to determine the overall effect of a bonus cash reward versus a personal gift or even just a genuine ‘great job.’ Surprisingly, except for workers with financial hardship, more workers preferred a gift or good job bonus. Also interesting, once a cash bonus was paid, the potential for another one did not motivate worker productivity to the same level – in fact, productivity was lower!
At the speed with which computerization replaces human beings, it is time to begin serious discussion about how citizens will find jobs, or by modern definition how they will find work. Mariner suggests that we will have to wait until the electorate elects a full slate of contemporary and forward-sensitive government representatives – a far, far cry beyond the interest or competency of the in-coming President, most State governments and the Congress.
Another discussion is how the electorate will elevate its understanding of what a government is supposed to accomplish. Will our school systems have to include civics classes again?
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On to the second topic: total ability to change any aspect of any creature for any reason. It is possible you may not even recognize your grandchildren because they look like a movie star or have muscles the reader never had – to say nothing of the hyper intelligence the reader never had either. When have we ever seen two-foot long hummingbirds? Sounds silly and likely is but if the reader can think of a reconfiguration of any kind, it won’t be long until it is possible.
Michael Specter, the individual interviewed by PBS, suggested the slightest change in mosquito DNA could turn it into a global weapon affecting only humans with a predetermined DNA strain. Is it possible that the weapons of war will no longer need explosives and explosive weapons? Will it not be necessary to employ zombies when we can create endless numbers of specifically targeted humans that look like Arnold Schwarzenegger?
The interview with Michael Specter is enlightening and uses excellent demonstrations. Mariner recommends checking out the January 5 News Hour program.
 See The Future of Work – III When Jobs End, July 12 2015
 Book: Payoff – The Hidden Logic that shapes our Motivation, Dan Ariely. Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and is the founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight.
 See footnote 1 and also http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=dan+ariely+motivation&qpvt=dan+ariely+motivation&FORM=VDRE Also check your library in a week or two or ask the librarian to use ‘Interlibrary Loan’ for Rewriting the Code of Life by Michael Specter. It is in the New Yorker magazine or Annals of Science Journal.