Power

June 13th, 2016

Power 1

Power develops, when people form alliances. One brick doesn’t make a wall, but many bricks do.

Knowing someone often beats knowing something. In this context, it is important to remember that ultimately, it doesn’t matter who you know, but whom you can trust. Change is impossible without teamwork, which is impossible without trust. In my experience, people won’t share their craziest, i.e. often best ideas with us, unless they trust us. Makes me wonder, how many fantastic ideas never get to see the light of day. Well, ideas are dynamite in more ways than one.

The fact that people hang around doesn’t necessarily mean that they trust us. They might just be waiting for a better, trustworthy alternative.

Building trust is difficult and rebuilding trust is even more difficult. And there is no app for it either, it has to be done personally.

“You cannot unify everyone’s thoughts, but you can
unify everyone through a common goal.”
(Jack Ma, entrepreneur)

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what
makes a team work, a company work, a civilization work.”
(Vince Lombardi, football coach)

I’m not a native speaker, as I mentioned in an earlier post, but isn’t it rather egocentric to capitalize the pronoun “I” and not the “we”?

One day has one thousand four hundred and forty minutes. That is quite a lot.

Isn’t it about time that we used our power in an ethically responsible way? In a  trustworthy way?

More power means more responsibility, not more control, with one noteworthy exception: Once people choose to follow us, which is a vote of confidence, we have to control … ourselves.

“If being human means anything at all,
it means being ethically accountable.”
(Gary Hamel, management expert)

Can there be a more challenging vision?

“Dream no small dreams for they have no
power to move the hearts of men.”
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer and statesman)

Marshal McLuhan once said that every society honors its live conformists and dead troublemakers.

Isn’t it about time that we honor our live troublemakers, the rebels, revolutionaries, insurgents, mutineers, dissenters, non-conformists, mavericks, creators and innovators? The heretics?

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
(Pablo Picasso, painter)

“The problem is not the problem. The
problem is your attitude about the problem.
Do you understand?”
(Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean”)

Be effective, rather than efficient!

Use your own understanding!

Liberate yourself!

De-automate!

Stop infantilization!

Stop incapacitation!

Humanize increasingly technological processes!

Accept personal responsibility!

Open doors and minds!

Encourage dissent!

Develop and spread knowledge!

Empower the individual human being!

Initiate change!

May the wisdom of “Human Mountain” irrigate “Silicon Valley”.

The opposition

June 12th, 2016

Colosseum

Opposition to fundamental change will obviously be fierce, but as the popular saying goes “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win”. Which is fantastic, because, in the words of Peter Drucker “disagreement is needed to stimulate the imagination”. Fighting against stronger opponents makes us stronger than fighting against weaker ones.

“There is strong shadow, where there is strong light.”
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer and statesman)

Conserving the status quo means staying where the majority already is. Change means building new majorities. This, incidentally, is a big problem in politics, when politicians prefer to subsidize what is rather than invest in what could be.

Cui bono? To whose good?

People first

June 10th, 2016

People

“No society can function as a society, unless it
gives the individual member social status and function.”
(Peter Drucker, management consultant and professor)

We must actively support the fact that justice is about the right way to value things and not only about the right way to distribute them, as the political philosopher and professor Michael Sandel rightfully points out. In a true democracy, justice is not something that we must be able to afford. We shouldn’t need expensive lawyers, tax consultants and so on to “force” the government to give us what is rightfully ours.

How do we cultivate justice in a society intoxicated by consumerism?

We have to realize that a society is doomed without a sense of community and have to look for ways to cultivate a dedication to the common good, again as pointed out by Michael Sandel. What really matters, as opposed to trivia, i.e. what makes a life worth living. A moral, cultural core, without which a society cannot exist.

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the
kind of world it leaves to its children.”
(Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pastor)

“That is true culture, which helps us
to work for the social betterment of all.”
(Henry Ward Beecher, social reformer)

But remember that this is not about 100% equality, as this is an illusion. Anyone remembering communism will surely agree. Not only is it an illusion, but it is not desirable for humans either. Just imagine everyone thinking and doing and getting the same thing. Only connecting with like-minded people boils down to ghettoized thinking.

Wouldn’t that be boring?

Wouldn’t that invite exploitation?

It would infringe upon our personal freedom. “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” is an illusion. This being the case, all societies “discriminate” in one way or the other, think about it.

And yes, there is a trade-off between personal freedom and the common good too.

Remember junk food?

It takes guts to fight, fail and change

June 9th, 2016

Guts

Change is impossible, if we’re not prepared to leave our comfort zone, to take risks and to fail on occasion.

But be patient and careful, as the light at the end of the tunnel might just be a locomotive headlight.

What is our propensity to experiment today as opposed to when we were children?

Isn’t our comfort zone usually someone else’s profit zone?

What would we do, if we knew that we couldn’t fail?

Wouldn’t that be boring after a while?

Or would it be dangerous?

“To achieve the possible, the impossible
must be attempted again and again.”
(Hermann Hesse, poet and novelist)

Can you imagine Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin insisting on a round trip ticket to the moon and back in 1969?

I can’t.

“If you can’t accept losing, you can’t win.”
(Vince Lombardi, football coach)

“Where the willingness is great,
the difficulties are not.”
(Niccolò Machiavelli, historian and philosopher)

We must stop being so gullible and have the courage to stand up and fight for our rights, combining protest with boycott. And both protest and boycott must be sustainable, not a one-day wonder.

“This is slavery, not to speak one’s thought.”
(Euripides, tragedian)

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
(Coco Chanel, fashion designer)

“In any organization, it is far, far safer to be wrong
with the majority than to be right alone.”
(John Kenneth Galbraith, economist)

“I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have
been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity
which has suffered so much and is entitled
to happiness. My fierce protests are simply
the cry of my very soul.”
(Émile Zola, playwright and journalist)

We must get rid of our societal straightjackets, because blind obedience ultimately leads to exploitation and authoritarianism. And in the Age of Transnationalism, authoritarianism is not just a political phenomenon.

“Freedom is the sure possession of those alone,
who have the courage to defend it.”
(Pericles, statesman and general)

Collective action is imperative for success, as without it governments or corporations won’t listen.

Think of rights as muscles. We have to use them, otherwise they’ll become weaker and ultimately disappear.

At the same time, we must be persistent. The establishment is not eagerly waiting for us to change their system.

“Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.”
(Cato, senator and historian)

No change without questions

June 8th, 2016

Fragen

Ignoring uncomfortable questions is no option, as they will come back to haunt us sooner or later. Not asking any questions is the best way to stay ignorant. It’s better to ask a dumb question than to die dumb.

If that is true, do dumb questions exist at all?

“A heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes.”
(Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, writer and philosopher)

We must therefore ask nasty, outrageous, heretic questions, which at first will be despised as being stupid, irrelevant and ridiculous, even insane, by the establishment. We must question what is and ask what could be.

“Judge a man by his questions, rather than by his answers.”
(Voltaire, philosopher)

“Every sentence I utter must be understood not
as an affirmation, but as a question.”
(Niels Bohr, physicist)

“Why” is a very powerful word and a very radical question, as it gets to the root of things.

Ever notice, how curious kids can drive their parents crazy with their questions?

A while back, I overheard the following conversation between a mother and her young child:

Mother: “It’s time to go home.”

Child: “Why?”

Mother: “Because it’s getting late.”

Child: “Why?”

Mother: “Because it’s time to eat.”

Child: “I am not hungry.”

Mother: “You have to eat.”

Child: “Why?”

Mother: “To stay healthy and to grow up.”

Child: “I don’t want to grow up.”

Mother: “All children grow up.

Child: “Why?”

Mother (slightly exhausted): “Because that’s the way it is.”

Child: “Why?”

Mother (still exhausted): “That’s enough, let’s go.”

Child: “Why? I don’t want to go.”

Sound familiar?

The conversation, or rather interrogation, continued and I must admit feeling sorry for the mother. But that is the way kids are. They are curious, want to learn, know and understand. They don’t feel stupid asking questions and are not trying to give their parents a hard time either.

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year old,
you haven’t understood it yourself.”
(Albert Einstein, physicist)

“The most important thing to teach your children is
that the sun does not rise and set. It’s the Earth that
revolves around the sun. Then teach them the concepts
of North, South, East and West and then they relate to
where they happen to be on the planet’s surface at that
time. Everything else will follow.”
(Richard Buckminster Fuller, system theorist and author)

Questioning the obvious is especially exciting, because we often find out that there is no convincing reason why “it is the way it is”.

For example, think about soup:

Why do we say that we eat our soup?

Just because we use a spoon?

Why do we use a spoon?

Why do we say that we drink water?

Because we use a glass?

Why don’t we put soup in a glass and drink it too?

“What has never been doubted, has never been proven.”
(Denis Diderot, philosopher)

In other words, before asking “can I make or do this better?”, ask “why am I making or doing this at all?”.

It is important to think things through and that means keeping on asking questions to get to the root. A radical, but necessary approach. Not only that, it’s also a rational approach.

“No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man
who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.”
(Karl Popper, philosopher of science and professor)

Let’s look at food or the replacement thereof:

No more food as we know it potentially means no more plants, vegetables, fruit, cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep, goats and so on. Unless they are growing and roaming free of course. It also means no more agriculture or agribusinesses, irrigation, fertilizers, anabolic drugs, pesticides, farmers and farm machinery. No animal transports, no slaughtering houses, no food processing plants, no food conservation, no food packaging, no food storage, no food transportation, no supermarkets, no butchers, no bakers. No restaurants, no chefs, no waiters, no tablecloth, no napkins, no plates, no cutlery, no glasses, no cups, no refrigerators, no ovens, no grills, no microwaves, no dishwashers, no cookbooks. No teeth, no toothbrush, no toothpaste, no dentists, no indigestion, no toilet paper. No food subsidies, no food stamps. No hunger, no famines. No………

The IQ – the intelligence quotient – is not the measure of all things, the EQ – the emotional qotient – matters as well..

But what is our QQ – our question quotient?

Asking “why” not only leads to better decisions, it also questions the status quo, thereby enabling innovation and change for the better.

“The manager asks how and when,
the leader asks what and why.”
(Warren Bennis, leadership consultant)

Time to lead!

Does humanity have a shelf life?

June 7th, 2016

Expired

That depends entirely on us.

Do we have what it takes to avoid redundancy?

Are we able to change – innovate – evolve – transform – revolutionize – find ourselves – detox – delete – erase – break out – rock the boat – not go by the book – start from scratch – learn – unlearn – rewire – create – break the rules more than once?

Do we want to?

Or would we rather sink into oblivion?

We must look at ourselves:

Who – not what – is mainly responsible for the problems on this planet?

Is it not our attitude, our irresponsibility, our greed, our gullibility, our indifference, our shortsightedness, our negligence, our stupidity, our cowardice?

We are the problem. Therefore we have to rethink life and reinvent ourselves rather than always trying to master the world around us.

“What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.”
(T.S. Eliot, playwright and essayist)

“The most radical revolutionary will become a
conservative the day after the revolution.”
(Hannah Arendt, political theorist)

We are not and never will be perfect. After all, we are not robots. But the human challenge is not to become perfect, the challenge is to become better. Becoming better means doing more of the right things, rather than just striving to do things right. Becoming better means admitting that we’ve made mistakes and will continue to do so. We can’t delete the mistakes, but we can change our behavior that led to us making them.

Becoming better is a fundamental task for humanity.

“The man with enough insight to admit his
limitations comes nearest to perfection.”
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer and statesman)

Can we trust ourselves to do the right things?

How will we know?

Who will teach us?

Will we still need leaders, if we can trust ourselves to do the right things?

“Act in such a way that you always treat humanity never
simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.”
(Immanuel Kant’s Formula of Universal Law)

The physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn thought that even well-proven new ideas are only implemented, once the generation who considers them new dies and is replaced by a generation who considers these ideas accepted and old. In today’s fast paced world, we don’t have time for that, as changing once is not enough. We have to embrace the necessity to change ourselves often, giving up the secret hope that some magical technical invention will take care of that for us.

Humans turn into “Wandelwesen”, a wonderful German word for which I couldn’t find an adequate translation. We wind up having more than one identity in a life that is not a linear development anymore. Life is neither a sprint nor a marathon. If anything, it’s a decathlon nowadays.

Change requires personal introspection, honesty, curiosity, courage, focus, determination, skepticism and wisdom.

Sapere aude!

As oxymoronic as it may sound, change has to become a permanent fixture in our lives, which reminds me of the nomads.

Back in the 17th Century, René Descartes said “I think, therefore I am”. Today, he would be wise to add “I change, therefore I will continue to be”.

After all, tomorrow today will be yesterday. One trend chases the next. The shelf life for trends, products, services and business models is decreasing all the time. Hence the shelf life for skills goes down as well, as does the one for experience and the authority traditionally derived from it. Assets can quickly morph into liabilities these days.

“When your horse is dead, dismount.”
(Sioux, native American tribe)

As we have seen, our true passions are often buried under decades of habits, education and – often wrong – jobs. One secret to success is the power to forget. It not only takes courage to try new things, it takes even more courage to forget old things. It’s more difficult too. We must forget everything that doesn’t help us make a positive difference to yesterday. We must forget everything that doesn’t create real, sustainable value. We must forget our bureaucracies, our structures and our silos. We must forget a system that has failed.

In short, we must forget everything that leads to us being forgotten.

“Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.”
(The Beatles, “Let it be” released in 1970)

Change is a clear cut, it is not a compromise.

Remember Joseph Schumpeter’s theory of creative destruction, the process leading to something new killing something old?

Will embracing change as a permanent fixture in our lives imply changing social norms as well?

What about truth? Does it have a shelf life in today’s rapidly changing world?

And what about ethics and values? Do they have a shelf life? Says who?

Are values negotiable?

Fascinating questions.

In today’s fast moving world, what we do today has easily been forgotten tomorrow.

What happens to legacy, our pride in leaving something behind?

And what about our priceless experience, which can’t be taught and for which there is no app either?

Does our incentive to give it our best shot decrease in a world full of shelf lives?

How important is sustainability in a constantly changing world?

Can there be a compromise on values?

Can there be a compromise on a common good?

What is the common good considering the rise of AI?

We must value wisdom as much as we value skills and compensate accordingly.

Does wisdom have a shelf life?

We must insist on human priorities vs. technological possibilities.

The alternative to work

June 6th, 2016

Sailing

The true business of people should be to go back to school and
think about whatever it was they were thinking about
before somebody came along and told them
that they had to earn a living.”
(Richard Buckminster Fuller, system theorist and author)

Richard Buckminster Fuller probably wasn’t thinking about athletes when he said that, but in my opinion sports is a good example.

Does a football player work?

Does a tennis player work?

We don’t work sports, even though it is hard work”.

Or is it? Do we perceive it that way?

And some of the athletes do earn a lot of money, most don’t though. This of course, has, besides the quality of the athlete – again – to do with potential advertising and/or sponsoring revenues. But that is a different story.

Attitude matters.

Why don’t we “play” other “jobs” as well?

We could, if we were really passionate about what we were doing, couldn’t we?

But wouldn’t society consider this to be immoral?

“Ora et labora.”
(Rule of St. Benedict)

Aren’t we society?

And isn’t there a true alternative to work?

That – and not the future of work – is the real creative challenge in my opinion. And if there is an alternative to work, we must rethink the work ethic – the moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance our character – as well. Richard Buckminster Fuller was onto something when he claimed that “we must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living”.

An interesting observation in this context is that humans only started to “work”, once they settled down during the Neolithic period. Nomads, i.e. hunters and gatherers, didn’t really work.

Wouldn’t you agree that the time has come to de-stigmatize the nomads?

Why do we have to settle down?

Because it is more efficient?

Because it facilitates control?

Geographical proximity isn’t really that important in an increasingly automated world connected online, remember?

And have we reached peak people? Are there too many people on this planet?

Not in terms of available food and water, but in terms of “useful” things to do?

What is “useful”?

With the decline of work and jobs, what will 7 billion and more people do all the time?

Would Übermensch seek to control and ultimately reduce that number?

“Man is going to be displaced all together as a specialist
by the computer. Man himself is being forced to reestablish,
employ and enjoy his innate “comprehensivity”. Coping with
Spaceship Earth and the universe is ahead for all of us.”
(Richard Buckminster Fuller, system theorist and author)

The dictate of efficiency

June 5th, 2016

Efficiency

First they raise efficiency, then they simplify, then they automate, then they infantilize, then they incapacitate, then they manipulate, then they oppress and then the rest of us are, for all practical purposes, enslaved.

Boom, we’ve lost our freedom. Just like that, in the name of progress.

Haven’t you ever wondered, whether planned obsolescence includes us as well?

How meaningful is it to be efficient, if it leads to a boring, controlled life?

If efficiency is about doing things right, as Peter Drucker said, we also have to ask how expensive – not just in monetary terms – it is to do the wrong things right. Drucker also said that effectiveness is about doing the right things. There definitely is a mismatch between doing things right and doing the right things these days. There is too much Taylorism in the system and it is increasing its dominance through big data, using personal data not only to improve the efficiency of the worker, but also the efficiency of the consumer: Make sure s/he consumes more and more.

In my opinion, we must reconsider, whether efficiency really is the non plus ultra for society as a whole. After all, it kills diversity, ultimately making entire systems more vulnerable.

Humanity needs more effectiveness.

The more people we herd together, the easier it becomes to influence and control them. It becomes easier to get them to adapt their behavior in order to follow trends. It is efficient, raising the profitability for a few.

Remember “if you like this, you will also like that”?

The downside being that the bigger the herd, the less flexible it becomes, the less likely it is to change habits and innovate. This in turn stabilizes the control system, i.e. the bureaucracy. Not only that, but like cancer, the latter metastasizes.

In reality therefore, the bigger, the worse, because the bigger, the more impersonal. Social pressure is high in small communities, because people know each other. In large herds, they don’t.

This, incidentally, is one reason, why in my opinion we should stop glorifying mega-cities as well. When I think of mega-cities, I’m always reminded of factory farming, both being very efficient.

How relevant is geographical proximity in a world connected online anyway?

There’s much more to humanity than just being efficient, at least for now. Cooperation and collaboration depend on the degree of voluntariness, not on the sample size.

What if customers were just as obsessed with efficiency as companies?

Consumerism would be dead, wouldn’t it?

And then what?

“Customerism”?

Fascinating idea, if you ask me.

The future of work in a robotic world

June 4th, 2016

Future of work

Looking at the long-term future of work, we have to accept that, for as long as efficiency rules, what can be automated, will be. Machines, robots, computers – and those controlling them – will take over the production processes. Therefore, forget about manufacturing jobs, as they are disappearing already and look for automation to take over elsewhere as well. For example with software taking over business processes.

According to the social psychologist Erich Fromm, “the danger in the past was that men became slaves and the danger in the future is that men become robots”.

Can humans become robots?

Can humans ever be as efficient as robots?

I personally do not think so, we’re simply not good enough in terms of efficiency.

And if we will never be as efficient as robots, we will ultimately be replaced by them, won’t we?

Are machines the modern slaves? Latifundium reloaded?

Who owns the machines?

For how long?

How long before it becomes illegal to own robots?

At what stage of development will it become a criminal offense to destroy, demolish, “hurt” or “kill” a robot?

How long before robots will have robot rights? Human rights?

Who – or what – will enforce these rights?

Do we need new legislation, new ethics? Robot ethics?

Ten Commandments from a robot perspective?

Will robots re-write the Constitution?

Will robots ever unionize?

When does development and/or updating turn into evolution?

When will the robot cease being an “it”?

How long does artificial intelligence stay artificial?

Can robots assume responsibility?

Will they be willing to?

Will they have a free will?

Will robots trust humans?

What will happen once human labor is not competitive anymore and robots produce everything?

Who – or what – will buy the products and services and how will they pay for them?

Will products and services still cost money?

Will robots watch ads and buy useless stuff like humans do?

What does this development mean for governments dependent on income taxes?

Will robots have to pay taxes?

And then what? No taxation without representation, remember?

And what will humans do all day long?

Can you imagine over 7 billion inventors, thinkers, philosophers, politicians and – heaven forbid – bureaucrats?

Or will most of us have to work for the robots, because we won’t have the money to buy or lease robots to do the work in the future?

Would robots be willing to do the most menial jobs?

Would robots hire inefficient humans?

Would robots spend as much time in meetings as humans do?

Would a robot worry about being replaced by a human? Would the robot have to?

How would robots understand us, as empathy is needed to do so? Will they want to understand us? Will they have to?

Will humans have robots as friends? Best friends?

Would robots want to have human friends?

Will we adopt robots instead of having children?

Would robots want to adopt humans?

Would robots put humans in a zoo?

Will we return to the Roman system of “panem et circenses”?

By the way, at least the Romans had an human army. In tomorrow’s world, that will be fully automated as well. A robot war is a realistic scenario.

Drones, anyone?

Would robot warriors decrease or increase the probability of war?

After all, there would probably be less human casualties.

Or would robots send humans to fight for them?

Why would a robot not kill an inefficient human, especially if the latter appears to be an enemy?

Would a robot have killed Hitler?

If humans die in a robotic war, would robots consider them to be collateral damage?

Can robots die?

The economic advantages of robots and automation are obvious: No wages, no pension plans, no social security, no unions, 24 hour shifts, 7 day weeks, no holidays etc. And when the machine is too old or becomes inefficient, we simply dump or recycle it and buy or lease a new one. But it won’t stop there, if you think of AI. On August 3, 2014, Elon Musk tweeted “Hope we’re not just the biological boot loader for the digital super machine. Unfortunately that is increasingly probable”.

The machine that is doing it for us, is increasingly also the one that is doing it instead of us. In an increasingly automated factory, machines are not imperfect humans, but humans are imperfect machines.

How long, before robot chauffeurs, aka self-driving cars, decide that their own “survival” is more important than that of an inefficient human?

One robots take over, so will their “values” and priorities.

Humans won’t be at the top of the food chain anymore, wouldn’t they?

Won’t replacing a human with a robot, because the latter is cheaper and more efficient in our human “value” system, also degrade the human to just another tool?

Doesn’t automating a process also mean dehumanizing it?

“The thing that won’t die, in the nightmare that won’t end.”
(The Terminator, 1984)

When does convenience become the enemy?

“The fundamental problem is not whether machines think,
it’s whether men do.”
(Burrhus Frederic Skinner, psychologist)

First, we wanted machines to do the physical work for us. Some claim that our thinking is too slow as well and that machines/algorithms would speed up the process. I.e. they are more efficient thinkers.

What would be the logical next step?

That we shouldn’t think at all, that we shouldn’t use our own understanding, leave it to the machines and do as we’re told?

That’s feudalism reloaded. Techno-feudalism!

“The language of science – and especially of science of man – is,
necessarily, anti-individualistic, and hence a threat
to human freedom and dignity.”
(Thomas Szasz, psychiatrist)

That’s not what we want, isn’t it?

But isn’t it happening already?

And won’t humanity be ultimately redundant, if it continues?

Is living in a robotic world something to look forward to?

Übermensch reloaded?

Work

June 3rd, 2016

Work

“Prostitution is said to be the world’s oldest profession.
It is, indeed, a model of all professional work: the worker
relinquishes control over himself in exchange for money.”
(Thomas Szasz, psychiatrist)

We all know that technological progress has massive implications for work and the future of jobs. As mentioned in an earlier post, new jobs will be created, whereas others will simply disappear. This is not a new phenomenon, if we recall what happened during the industrial revolution.

However, I personally believe that the change is going to be even more dramatic this time around. Jobs destroyed will not be matched by jobs created.

More and more outsourcing results in more and more freelancers, flexibility rules. Many workers will be companies in the future. Technologies will replace the middleman and match freelancers with temporary jobs on a project basis. For some this sounds like a great opportunity. For others it sounds like the return of the day laborer.

If the latter is true, what will happen to labor rights, minimum wages, social security, pensions and so on?

What will happen to solidarity?

Would freelancers competing among themselves ever unionize? Collective bargaining power?

A real danger, evidenced by the fact that we – as consumers – are so preoccupied with price rather than value.

“Sell me cheap, but pay me well” doesn’t work, remember?

Would entrepreneurial responsibility replace labor rights, once freelancers are legally defined as entrepreneurs?

Who controls and owns the technology replacing the middleman? Cui bono?

Are the middlemen being replaced by technology or by one “middleman” owning the technology?

Wouldn’t that be dangerous, as it leads to monopolization?

For large corporations this development has other important ramifications.

Which functions can be outsourced and which ones cannot? What are core corporate functions?

What happens to corporate culture, once the workforce mainly consists of outsourced, temporary freelancers? Identity?

What happens to responsibility – corporate and/or personal – all the way down the supply chain in such a scenario?

Will outsourcing only be an intermediate step to complete automation?