Gather round children Mr. David Brooks is about to spin a rather complex political fable with the assistance of Professor Tyler Cowen, of George Mason University and the Koch funded The Mercatus Center, and author of ‘Average is Over’! Be still for a moment as Mr. Brooks begins his little tale:
We’re living in an era of mechanized intelligence, an age in which you’re probably going to find yourself in a workplace with diagnostic systems, different algorithms and computer-driven data analysis. If you want to thrive in this era, you probably want to be good at working with intelligent machines. As Tyler Cowen puts it in his relentlessly provocative recent book, “Average Is Over,” “If you and your skills are a complement to the computer, your wage and labor market prospects are likely to be cheery. If your skills do not complement the computer, you may want to address that mismatch.”
So our challenge for the day is to think of exactly which mental abilities complement mechanized intelligence. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few mental types that will probably thrive in the years ahead.
Mr. Brooks and Prof. Cowan are of like mind, the Market is the ultimate arbiter of all things, so as a worker one must adapt to the ‘mechanized intelligence’ one must become a symbiot, not a mere appendage but the human driver of that mechanism. This sets Mr. Brooks into a veritable flurry of platonic ideas, his passion, his first and last resort. Here, in miniature, are the offspring of that passion. Here are the personality/managerial types that will flourish and/or decline in the New Economy.
Freestylers: It’s the skill of knowing when an individual case is following predictable patterns and when there are signs it is diverging from them.
Synthesizers:The synthesizer has the capacity to surf through vast amounts of online data and crystallize a generalized pattern or story.
Humanizers:Humanizers take the interplay between man and machine and make it feel more natural.
Conceptual engineers:They are looking for the ability to come up with creative methods to think about unexpected problems.
Motivators:Managers who can motivate supreme effort in a machine-dominated environment are going to be valuable.
Moralizers:A company without a self-conscious moralizer will reduce human interaction to the cash nexus and end up destroying morale and social capital.
Greeters: Cowen estimates that perhaps 15 percent of workers will thrive, with plenty of disposable income.
Economizers: The bottom 85 percent is likely to be made up of people with less marketable workplace skills.
Weavers :There will be jobs for people who combat the dangerous inegalitarian tendencies of this new world.
The news that the Free Market is failed and that Capital is, in the present moment, simply another name for robbery, plunder and ill fated propaganda campaigns, such as this, is the business of propagandists like Mr. Brooks and Prof. Cowan.This attempt to steer the national conversation is in the category of failed.