It’s obvious, after reading this article giving a platform to Tyler Cowen. (If you want a bit of background on the Golgafrinchans, the quotation is below.)
I make vague flailing motions to defend against Teh Stoopid out there, so I don’t actually know who Tyler Cowen is. But nothing lasts forever. So now I know which are the jobs of the future.
[M]achines are [getting] smarter than you, … [so] The good jobs will be about branding. They’re all about figuring out how to get other people’s attention[.] …
[Expanding on the smartness of machines:] [R]oads will change so driverless cars can use them, and we’re not ready for this mostly. I think it’s a big, big plus, but in some ways, the world will look uglier and feel stupider. It’s a bit like those help menus. You can do everything right by pressing all the buttons.[Ed. note: Yes, I’ve noticed that. The help menus always have all the options you need. There’s never any missing information. You never wind up going in circles around the phone tree.] It pisses people off. [Really?] It still gives you overall better service and a cheaper product than the old system of hiring operators. [Hahahahaha. Come on. Now you’re just being silly.] …
[Interviewer notes] In the book you also discuss a future artificial intelligence app that might recommend things in the social or romantic realm, like the optimal time to kiss someone on a date.
[Mr. TC responds]: My guess is that will be half the people. The people who listen to the machines, they’re going to do better. They’ll have a better chance of being happily married. They’ll choose better dates. They’ll kiss at the right time or whatever it is the machine tells you. They’ll have better portfolios. They’ll have better diets. … So you don’t have to necessarily be great at reading the tea leaves once you’re attuned to the machine.
And yet, a few paragraphs earlier, he said psychology was the only talent where people still excelled. Now, barely minutes further into the future by the end of the article, people are too stupid to know when to kiss without an app to tell them.
They pay him for this sort of flapdoodle, apparently. At the top of the article it says “Foreign Policy Magazine named Tyler Cowen #72 in their list of the ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers.'”
Imagine if FP Mag is right. May God have mercy on our globe.
Golgafrinchan history, from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe:
The two space travellers show up on a ship, and the Captain explains what it’s all for.
“I mean, I couldn’t help noticing,” said Ford, also taking a sip, “the bodies. In the hold.”
“Bodies?” said the Captain in surprise. …
Ford licked his lips.
“Yes,” he said, “all those dead telephone sanitizers and account executives, you know, down in the hold.”
The Captain stared at him. Suddenly he threw back his head and laughed.
“Oh, they’re not dead,” he said. “Good Lord, no, no they’re frozen. They’re going to be revived.”
Ford did something he very rarely did. He blinked.
Arthur seemed to come out of a trance.
“You mean you’ve got a hold full of frozen hairdressers?” he said.
“Oh yes,” said the Captain. “Millions of them. Hairdressers, tired TV producers, insurance salesmen, personnel officers, security guards, public relations executives, management consultants, you name it. We’re going to colonize another planet.”
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has this to say about the planet of Golgafrincham: it is a planet with an ancient and mysterious history, rich in legend….
[A] descendant of one of these eccentric poets … invented the spurious tales of impending doom which enabled the people of Golgafrincham to rid themselves of an entire useless third of their population. The other two-thirds stayed firmly at home and lived full, rich and happy lives until they were all suddenly wiped out by a virulent disease contracted from a dirty telephone.