“Now that technology comes with us, work too”

Remedios Zafra (Zuheros, Córdoba, 1973) is one of Spain’s most popular and recognized essayists. Awarded with prizes Anagram or Jovellanos Through her contributions to the genre, the writer and pedagogue provoked a veritable revolution with Enthusiasm. Precariousness and creative work in the digital age in 2017. But beyond this text on the precariousness of professions linked to culture in today’s society, the former professor at the University of Seville and current philosopher at the CSIC continued his reflection on the relationship between man and technology. This Tuesday, Zafra offers in Granada the conference Telling (from bodies) the frames of fantasywho are part of the conference on The ugly Duckling organized for the imminent premiere of the play by the theater company Etcétera.

– About the title of the article in La Madraza, how is it told from the bodies?

-The title of this talk is a way of alluding to the excess of life mediated by screens where bodies seem to be postponed and, sometimes, we even ignore them. This emphasis is intended to draw attention to what it means tell from a conscious position of the materiality of our bodies at a time that thrives on recreating and altering its “image” on the Internet. In any case, this entry point seeks to reflect on two central themes: on the one hand, the transformation of the screen into a fantasy frame that allows us to present ourselves, to imagine ourselves, to represent ourselves and to connect to each other; and on the other hand on the resulting transformations in the construction of identity, where being is superimposed on “appearance”. As a context for this presentation are the activities organized around the work of andersen The ugly Duckling, I think thinking about “appearances” right now is timely.

– Will artificial intelligence replace the creative work of writing? Will this be the end of all these jobs editor?

-The AI (artificial intelligence) it will not replace human creation but it will replace many types of writings and creations. In fact, now that many workers are forced to work in precarious conditions and have to “do” mechanically, we could already find many similarities with creations that follow a given pattern or schedule. Undoubtedly, the creative scenario will be transformed into works which must meet certain criteria which can easily be supplanted by those provided by the machine (I am thinking of personalized illustrations, poems, academic works…). Undoubtedly, these possible creations will make us reflect on what distinguishes them as human productions or, in this case, as creations of a technology produced by humans, where a new power could be enhanced. In any case, I think they will be the forms of “reception” which will also be questioned, Well, under a first impression, many may not be able to differentiate some works from others, but this should make us reflect on the fast and superficial ways that predominate in contemporary culture, in the necessary transformation of ways of creating of value and meaning.

“The creative scenario will be transformed into works that must meet criteria easily supplanted by the machine”

-Teleworking was already common in many of these new professions and the pandemic has contributed to imposing it on the majority. Can it imply a new slavery?

– Just as technology is neither good nor bad in itselfneither is he telework: in both cases it is a question of knowing under what forces is mobilized and under what conditions. Telecommuting has great reconciliation and time management powers, something many people have been asking for for a long time. However, working from home cannot mean “doing it all the time”, and this is one of the risks that must be faced. Now that technology accompanies us, so does work, and it is difficult to control ourselves in an inertia that encourages us to be constantly busy, not to rest and to fill our private lives with a series of jobs and side tasks that we feel “never ends”.

It has rained a lot since enthusiasm, which was launched in 2017, and which has revolutionized the reporting of all these situations. Did Elon Musk’s latest moves on Twitter cause many to drop their blindfold?

-One of the issues most present in my work is the critique of giving in to economic power as a domain to which we must subordinate ourselves. It is not possible for the democratic powers to be subjugated to this great economic power which sees itself increasingly represented in the domain of a privileged few, often eccentric, who control big tech. technologies that have been normalized as the social (digital but social) earth we inhabit, without remembering that this earth does not belong to us, that networks are private companies governed by arbitrary ethical codes that put before the power of “more great profits for the company at least profit.” In this logic, they appropriate the data and the times, obtaining great power over us.

-Some of these figures, like Musk or Steve Job, were idolized by a large part of society. Are they as creative and awesome as sold in so many viral reports and speeches?

I do not know their biographies in detail, but I am struck by the homogeneity shared by the technological leaders of the last decades. They are mostly men who, being young, managed to turn their technological hobbies into jobs and who, encouraged by a savage neoliberalism, create technologies which, they say, seek to change and improve the world, while they should say they “seek to make their creators rich.” The contemporary genius idea Like that of geniuses in other times, it has a lot of convention and requires a context that idealizes and projects certain personalities. Although, I think that in the cases you point out and in the majority of technology leaders, there is usually unquestionable creative work and great talent. Although it is striking that this creativity which they demand for themselves and which they also demand for many of their children educated in schools without technology, is a creativity which they do not project in many of their products with which great dependencies are created today – as is the case with so many teenagers, young people and adults who live hooked to their devices.

– Taking a sentence from your essay, at what point in history, “talking about money when you write, paint, compose a song or create has become in bad taste”?

-Although the context of creative works is changing, there are legacies that legitimize that authors are already remunerated with the satisfaction of exercising, as long as it is a job they love (writing, composing, paint, create…), its simple execution pays off. It is an idea that established the belief that there are professions that are remunerated and others that charge with symbolic capital. For example, visibility, recognition, applause or even affection. This form of payment condemns that only those who have money or have other jobs can devote themselves to these jobs, thus encouraging the idea that the poor cannot create. Just like when a plumber comes home and we pay him for his hours of work, when a writer delivers a text for a book, an intellectual gives a lecture, a musician sings or an actor occurs, these and other professions also require talking about money in both are jobs.

the invisible loop, published this 2022 and Jovellanos Essay Award, talks about “life-work”. Is the worst part your own ignorance of the situation?

-Life-work is an expression that I have already used in my previous essay brittle, to refer to that sadly normalized context that many of us live in where technology-mediated work has seeped into our lives in such a way that it makes us feel if what we have is really “life” . The weariness and exhaustion of many workers who add their chores to personal and family self-management increasingly mediated by computer applications, but also the feeling of 24/7 availability as cell phones and computers are usually on and as long as you generate movement various responses are activated… I don’t think it’s ignorance about this situation but falling into this loop of feeling active but with the feeling of not moving forward, of staying in the same place, in any case more tired… This difficulty in braking and disconnecting is essential and becomes a structural problem when one cannot not brake alone. It is important to imagine uses and forms of control over work and technology that put people at the center.

“We fell into this loop where we feel active but with the feeling of not moving forward, of staying in the same place”

-Who dominates the technology dominates the world?

– To a large extent, the power of the contemporary world revolves around technologies. Technologies that can both help and facilitate our lives and equality, as well as accentuate forms of inequality and conflict. This area is clearly in “who” dominate technology who are usually who accumulate money and the privileges of even being advised by empathetic humans, unlike the majority of humans who are increasingly being advised by machines under monetary forces or by precarious employees who work like machines.

-He assures that “thinking is going slower”. Is slowing down the only way or are there other options?

-There are surely many options to imagine and build collectively to improve things, but I would say that most of these options require slowing down to facilitate this collective “reflection” that we so badly need.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *