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submitted 2 months ago by JoMiran@lemmy.ml to c/technology@lemmy.ml
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[-] JoMiran@lemmy.ml 28 points 2 months ago

Due to my company's line of work, I am of the opinion that some busywork is essential for the proper understanding of the larger task at hand.

We deal with massive amounts of data. Part of dealing with the data is the busywork of analyzing, cleaning and preparing that data to he ingested, and then making sure to validate the state of the data once in the system. That's a whole lot of mostly mindless busywork. But here is the thing, because of that busywork that nobody likes doing we have a deeper understanding. We know what's in there, where it is located, how it is formatted and how it will be accessed. We know how a query is going to impact production before it is even run and we can recommend alterations.

[-] neptune@dmv.social 18 points 2 months ago

Yeah it's interesting. With no "busy" work there's no career path to maintain the people with the knowledge of how to design, build, operate and maintain the AI infrastructure. Who will know what Garbage Out is if they haven't spent a career doing the thing?

[-] PeepinGoodArgs@reddthat.com 16 points 2 months ago

That's why AI exacerbates inequality between more and less experienced workers. More experienced workers will know what garbage to look out for and its manifestations in poorly cleaned data sets. Newer workers will just have to trust the AI did it.

[-] neptune@dmv.social 10 points 2 months ago

Right and then forty years later everyonr with experience is retired and no one invested in newbies

[-] SheeEttin@programming.dev 9 points 2 months ago

That's not busy work. Busy work, as explained in the article, is work that doesn't really accomplish anything, like re-folding towels that have already been folded. Or as I've had to do before, sweep a perfectly spotless sidewalk. Data validation is valid work.

[-] ColeSloth@discuss.tchncs.de 1 points 2 months ago

That makes it sound like nearly the entire thing could be ran by AI. Not just the busy work portion.

[-] JoMiran@lemmy.ml 1 points 2 months ago

Eventually, but not today.

[-] KingThrillgore@lemmy.ml 18 points 2 months ago

Man, does everything have to be a bunch of rich fucks finding a way to drive the repeatedly shit on working class into a Malthusian crisis?

[-] JoMiran@lemmy.ml 6 points 2 months ago

It's been the story from the very start.

[-] nodsocket@lemmy.world 5 points 2 months ago

They can't eliminate busywork, otherwise 90% of the company would be fired.

[-] JoMiran@lemmy.ml 9 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

...90% of the company would be fired.

*unzips* "Go on." -- Corporate Executive, probably.

[-] BrianTheeBiscuiteer@lemmy.world 5 points 2 months ago

90% of management would be fired because "doing my job" is never enough for them.

[-] treadful@lemmy.zip 4 points 2 months ago

Every time I formulated a response in the article the author came to the same conclusion. However, somehow the headline is anti-AI rather than addressing the unrealistic expectations of management...

I'd rather spend my decompression time browsing Lemmy and reading articles with terrible conclusions than doing bullshit work.

[-] autotldr@lemmings.world 3 points 2 months ago

This is the best summary I could come up with:


When one protagonist, Helly, tosses enough bad numbers, she is greeted with a Game Boy-esque animation of the company’s founder and CEO, who tells her, “I love you.”

A Microsoft WorkLab survey published last January reported that 85 percent of respondents said they hoped artificial intelligence tools would automate all busywork, freeing up their time for more fulfilling activities such as “engaging with others.” These respondents have clearly never sat through a five-hour conversation about a three-word headline, but I digress: busywork has been cast as the enemy of innovation, and AI has been cast as the solution.

A woman in sales and marketing said she values the solitude of rote tasks, and retreats into spreadsheets “when everybody’s annoying and I’m peopled out and my bullshit meter is filled.” A senior research program manager at a nonprofit explained that she values how data cleaning — combing through a dataset for errors, duplicates, and other issues — creates an intimacy with the information she’s processing.

Cleaning data manually makes the phenomena she studies less abstract: “It connects you to a different way of working or being, or creates opportunities to see things in a different way.”

I reached out to Gloria Mark, a psychologist and author of Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness and Productivity, to ask her how workers might fare in a post-busywork society.

And in a sense, I think busywork, even though it may not make us happy, is a way to relieve this cognitive load, because we’re doing things that don’t require a lot of thought.” (A lawyer told me that his kind refer to the time-consuming task of document review as “chillable billables.”)


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this post was submitted on 15 Feb 2024
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