As Time Goes By. From The Industrial Revolution...
In fact, as time goes by, it becomes easier and easier to replace humans with computer algorithms, not merely because the algorithms are getting smarter, but also because humans are professionalizing. Ancient hunter-gatherers mastered a very wide variety of skills in order to survive, which is why it would be immensely difficult to design a robotic hunter-gatherer. Such a robot would have to know how to prepare spear points from flint stones, find edible mushrooms in a forest, track down a mammoth, coordinate a charge with a dozen other hunters and use medicinal herbs to bandage any wounds. However, a taxi driver or a cardiologist specializes in a much narrower niche than a hunter-gatherer, which makes it easier to replace them with AI. AI is nowhere near human-like existence, but 99 percent of human qualities and abilities are simply redundant for the performance of most modern jobs. For AI to squeeze humans out of the job market it need only outperform us in the specific abilities a particular profession demands.
As time goes by. From the Industrial Revolution...
Anyone who has ever visited a home built around the time of the Revolutionary War along the back alleys of Philadelphia or Boston has been struck, metaphorically if not literally, by the characteristically low ceilings and small door frames. Even houses built in the early 1800s can make a person of average height by today's standards wonder how the orignal occupants managed to stay conscious long enough to participate in an industrial revolution and a civil war.
For most people, contemporary buildings do not prompt similar claustrophobic concerns. The reason for this difference, as many people have correctly guessed, is that modern humans are taller than those from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In fact, over the last 150 years the average height of people in industrialized nations has increased approximately 10 centimeters (about four inches).
Let's use this basic operating principle of evolution to predict, retrospectively, the direction of change in human height if evolution were the cause of the change. We know from studies conducted in industrial England that children born into lower socioeconomic classes were shorter, on average, than children born into wealthy families. We also know that poorer families had larger numbers of children.
First, the observed increase in height has not been continuous since the dawn of man; it began sometime around the middle of the nineteenth century. In fact, examinations of skeletons show no significant differences in height from the stone age through the early 1800s. Also, during World Wars I and II, when hunger was a frequent companion of the German civilian population, the heights of the children actually declined. They only recovered during the post-war years.
All cultures change through time. No culture is static. However, most cultures are basically conservative in that they tend to resist change. Some resist more than others by enacting laws for the preservation and protection of traditional cultural patterns while putting up barriers to alien ideas and things. For example, the French government has forbidden the commercial use of English words for which there are French equivalencies. This is a reaction particularly to the widespread use and popularity of terms such as "sandwich" and "computer" among young people. More recently, Starbucks has found it very difficult to become established in France despite the fact that it is becoming successful elsewhere in Europe. In contrast, some cultures are extremely open to some kinds of change. Over the last two decades, the Peoples Republic of China has been rapidly adopting western technology and culture in everyday life. This can be seen in their wide acceptance of everything from cell phones to American television shows and fast food. McDonald's has already established 560 of their restaurants in China and soon will be adding 100 more. KFC fried chicken franchises have been even more popular. There are 1000 KFC outlets throughout the country with more than 100 in Beijing alone. Taco Bell, A & W, and Pizza Hut are not far behind. In 2003, the Chinese government made the decision to require all children in their country, beginning with the 3rd grade of elementary school, to learn English. This will very likely accelerate westernization.
When analyzing the transformation of a culture, it is clear that different understandings are gained depending on the focus. Anthropology began its study of this phenomenon, during the late 19th century, largely from the perspective of trying to understand how manufactured things, such as tools, are invented and modified in design over time. It became apparent that there rarely are entirely new inventions. Most often, only the function, form, or principle is new, but not all three. For instance, our modern jack, used for lifting up the side of a car, is usually based on the principles of the lever and/or the screw. Those principles were well known to the ancient Greeks more than 2,000 years ago.
Likewise, inventions potentially can affect all cultural institutions. Beginning in the 1950's, for instance, televisions in American homes affected how and when members of families interacted with each other. Less time was available for direct conversation. The size of houses in more affluent areas of the U.S. are now usually2-3 times larger than they were in the 1950's. As a consequence, family members often have their own rooms and become even more isolated from each other.
Prior to the industrial revolution malt was dried over fires made from wood, charcoal, and straw. None of these early malts were well shielded from the smoke involved in the kilning process. Subsequently, beers during this time had a smoky component that brewers constantly tried to minimize to no avail.
The concept of "time discipline" as a field of special attention in sociology and anthropology was pioneered by E. P. Thompson in Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism, published in 1967. Coming from a Marxist viewpoint, Thompson argued that observance of clock-time is a consequence of the European industrial revolution, and that neither industrial capitalism nor the creation of the modern state would have been possible without the imposition of synchronic forms of time and work discipline. The new clock time imposed by government and capitalist interests replaced earlier, collective perceptions of time that Thompson believed flowed from the collective wisdom of human societies. While in fact it appears likely that earlier views of time were imposed instead by religious and other social authorities prior to the industrial revolution, Thompson's work identified time discipline as an important concept for study within the social sciences.
Paul Glennie and Nigel Thrift posit an alternative perspective on the development of time-consciousness in "Reworking E. P. Thompson's 'Time, Work-Discipline and Industrial Capitalism'" (1996). According to Glennie and Thrift, Thompson and subsequent theorists on modern time competence in England have theorized that industrial work-discipline centered on the clock is responsible for spreading a unitary concept of time rooted in materialist realities. In contrast, Glennie and Thrift explore the role of symbolic, qualitative, and multiple time-senses in the West. Different kinds of work and multiple means of measuring time problematize the centrality of factory work and the clock. Generally, they argue that time-discipline was evident before the spread of industrialization and that it did not trigger a significant change in time-sense. Because it rests on the argument that disparate, spatial temporalities can not be unified, critics have argued that their analysis seems incomplete. In short, they offer poignant critiques of the dominant theory without positing a stronger theory in its place.
Michael J. Sauter argues that Thompson's approach to time discipline is "gendered and Eurocentric". Time discipline did not arise because of the Industrial Revolution, but had been a phenomenon since the Middle Ages as the government, religion, and economics played larger roles in day-to-day life. In Sauter's article "Clockwatchers and Stargazers: Time Discipline in Early Modern Berlin", he argues that time discipline came from the streets, and was part of the rise of "local knowledge" as public clocks were used by public event planners. People began to learn where clocks were located and which social groups used which ones. Furthermore, Sauter argues that time discipline is not "externally imposed" on people, but "a standard that is determined by people with specialized knowledge and skills". Prior to the rise of mechanical timekeeping, clocks were based on the easily accessed sun, and after 1800 precise timekeeping again returned to the Earth's position in relationship to the stars, as measured by scientists using specialized instruments.
The English word clock comes from an Old French word for "bell," for the striking feature of early clocks was a greater concern than their dials. Shakespeare's Sonnet XII begins, "When I do count the clock that tells the time." Even after the introduction of the clock face, clocks were costly, and found mostly in the homes of aristocrats. The vast majority of urban dwellers had to rely on clock towers, and outside the sight of their dials or the sound of their bells, clock time held no sway. Clock towers did define the time of day, at least for those who could hear and see them. As the saying goes, "a person with a clock always knows what time it is; a person with two clocks is never sure."
Economically, their impact was even greater; an awareness that time is money, a limited commodity not to be wasted, also appears during this period. Because Protestantism was at this time chiefly a religion of literate city dwellers, the so-called "Protestant work ethic" came to be associated with this newly fashioned time discipline. Production of clocks and watches during this period shifted from Italy and Bavaria to Protestant areas such as Geneva, the Netherlands, and England; the names of French clockmakers during this time disclose a large number of commonly Huguenot names from the Old Testament. 041b061a72