The first face is frown of resigned worry. It's going to take all our jobs. There's no stopping now. The momentum is too great. The machines want what they want.
What these jeremiads miss is that technology doesn't want your job. It doesn't think or wish. Despite some recent manias , we haven't developed artificial intelligence. If we do I have to assume it will be intelligent enough to know that it doesn't need to pay for food or shelter, and thus doesn't need a shitty job washing dishes at TGI Fridays.
No, technology doesn't want your job. Your boss wants to not pay you. And yes, lots of people's bosses have the tools to make that decision or are in the process of acquiring them. But we in America - and not only America, really - make it easier for them by valuing capital so much higher than labor.
That's the deflated, pessimistic side. The face of desperate optimism is something that Maria Bustillos Maria Bustillos and Andrew Leonard deal with in recent articles. Bustillos, always one of my favorite writers to link to, sees the way that Silicon Valley magnates such as Marc Andreessen promise that Big Tech development and startup money will revolutionize that society and points out what a blinkered revolution it is.
The classification of human inquiry into the Sciences and the Humanities is a rough but useful one. In essence, the part that concerns itself with what can be measured, we call "science," and that concerned with what cannot be measured, we call "the humanities”. The former field of study provides us with the means to operate more effectively in the material world. The latter (and the latter alone) grants us the ability to judge what goes on out there. This is a question of balance. The study of the humanities is for judgement, and it’s judgement that our age is sorely lacking. We seem to have forgotten that we even need it.