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Computers as work

The history of Labor Day is one of a celebration of work. For most people, work is a part of our lives, and taking a moment to honor that reality, and the history of how labor has developed is a worthwhile pursuit. But it got me thinking about how what we look at as work has changed in my lifetime.

When I was growing up, the career path for the computer field involved going to school to study Computer Science, and spending a lot of time working with mainframes, microchip design and so on. It wasn't really a field that interested me. With the advent of the internet, suddenly everything changed, and the practical nature of technology started to shape and create a new reality in our lives. Suddenly we were all able to interact with a growing, networked, world in a completely different way than we ever had before, and it was in this practical environment that my love of technology was nurtured.

This wasn't something that only existed for myself, but millions of other individuals suddenly found a new career path open to them, working with technology to get things done in ways that had never been available before. There has always been white-collar work, but computers have allowed the spectrum of desk jobs to expand to incredible proportions. Now, computers are a standard tool for almost everything. Police, education, medicine and even financial markets, all depend heavily on computers to get things done.

This transformation of the very nature of work in our society has come with some growing pains, as we learn how to adapt our lives to more and more technological options. But in the end, I think it's clear that despite the bad, there is so much good to be had in this new technological world, that we should embrace and encourage the future of positive uses of technology.

So on this Labor Day, let's remember how things have changed in our work environments, and raise a toast to the future. Thankful for the pioneers that came before us in the labor movements, as we take up the torch to make the work of the future simply great.

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