Questioning the persistence of steady jobs

When Marshall McLuhan was pondering all the implications of a shift from mechanical to electronic technologies, he foresaw the replacement of steady jobs with roles in flux. He perceived steady jobs as by-products of factory models for getting work done. He regarded jobs as fragmented and sequential like every mechanical technology. He suspected jobs would get obsolesced by the unifying influence of electronics (a.k.a. the digital age). He anticipated that we would be functioning with more improvisation, iteration and fluidity as we now are with our online technologies.

The planet is still littered with people seeking job opportunities, getting job offers and holding onto their jobs in downturns. Enterprises continue to hire people to perform jobs with clearly defined responsibilities and accountabilities. Job holders perform routine functions which yield measurable results. This raises several questions about McLuhan's forecast:

  1. Does the transition to roles only apply to electronic interactions (text messages, phone calls, collaborative game play, photo sharing, etc.)?
  2. Are jobs persisting because so many goods and services are continually produced by mechanistic means?
  3. Is the increased use of temps, contract employees and free lancers a response to the impacts of digital technologies on work processes?
  4. Will those holding jobs continue to create job openings and acculturate those who are adept digitally into performing mechanically and anachronistically?
  5. Will digital technologies take even deeper effect on outlooks, values and desires in ways that will make "jobs" seem repulsive in the future?
  6. Will the design and varied uses of jobs realize sustaining innovations which enable their continued use amidst disruptive innovations in industries and institutions?
  7. Are the fluid roles McLuhan envisioned, not the opposite of steady jobs, but a new way to benefit from paradoxes about work load, rewards, etc. 

Today I'm all questions. The questions I've posed here suck. These are closed-ended questions that merely require a yes or no answer. This exploration first calls for my posing different and better, open-ended questions.

to be continued ...

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