? asked in Social ScienceSociology · 2 months ago

Some say society over-prioritises ‘head’ work (academic) over ‘heart’ (care workers) and ‘hand’ (manual labour), but how much head is needed?

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  • 2 months ago

    That is somewhat true. However, the big change in the air is automation. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly moving into "head" work. When repetitive manual jobs were replaced by machines, many pundits said, don't worry, new jobs will emerge, or you can be retrained, for something else. That worked for a while throughout most of the 20th century. The problem now is that it is happening at a much faster rate and many white collar jobs (areas of customer service, accounting and even legal work) can now be done by smart machines. Retraining efforts have been more hope than reality with some of the same pundits saying we could retrain factory workers to be software engineers...yeah, right!

    Care fields have been neglected with a few exceptions. Physicians usually do well, but teachers and social workers often do not make what a Shift Manager at a fast food restaurant makes yet may have masters degrees and are required to maintain a license and on-going training. Nurses have done a bit better in recent years. I suspect that we will begin to recognize how much value these helping fields do contribute to society and its productivity. Problem is the results of their work isn't as easily quantifiable. How bad was the mental breakdown that employee never had because a mental health counselor was able to intervene? The results of such actions are now only reflected in aggregate data--drop in substance use reports, fewer psych hospital admissions, improvements in relationship satisfactions, drop in suicide attempts, drop in risky/dangerous behaviors, etc. 

    It is hard to say how "head" work will be impacted over time, but we pretty much know how manual labor has been affected. There are a few "manual" jobs which may missed being AI-ed: HVAC repair-people, plumbers, and many of the highly skilled jobs which require human judgement. AI is good at doing simple tasks really well, not so good at judgment functions. Some "head" work may be spared as well. I am hopeful that helping/caring fields begin to see their day. 

  • Bobo
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Society prioritizes value.  You increase your value by developing your individual knowledge, skills, and abilities.  Unskilled work is at the bottom.  That way society perpetuates itself by rewarding effort.  It's not about head vs heart vs manual labor, it's about achievement based upon focused individual development. 

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