After some recent disruptive times
with the machine
on which these blogs get written.
I was forced to muse
whilst the laptop was 'processing'
and I could not write. What came to me
how far the words 'computer'
and 'robot' have travelled over this last century.
In reports from elections in the local press
from the early 1900's the paper would say
'The count for the vote is being completed
by computers', and these were live humans
whose job it was to count things, like ballots
but other things too. One of the most boring
but lucrative short term jobs I did was one
counting Boots vouchers that had been spent
in their shops across the country.
I spent all my breaks on my own,
reading the diaries of Soren Kierkegaard,
I hated the job and the company that much
that Kierkegaard seemed like good company.
'Robot' was the Hungarian word for 'slave'
though long before the times it was coined
there were many legal forms of bonded
or indentured labour around the world.
There the labour of slaves was a currency
owned and depreciated by their masters
such that they had to top up the supply often.
In the nineteenth century the English ruling classes
used to call the English and Irish working classes
'niggers' even though they were white.
The name got used so that the Upper Classes
could set themselves apart from all they disliked
whilst being of the same skin tone.
If the upper classes had believed in evolution
they would have called the white working classes
monkeys and worse, to make out
that those who they exploited and disliked
was justified by them being a different species.