How automating jobs can rob people from an important experience: people bonding.

A plum jam story of automation and losing a good human experience.

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Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

I went outside and smelled this well know boiling plum smell of making a plum jam. But this time, it was different.

There wasn’t anybody talking, having fun or arguing of who would be the next one to mix the jam with big wooden spoon in giant pot and who would go for a wood to a fire.

There was just this silent buzz of a machine, mixing the plums around.

And I felt sad seeing it all.

I can remember how each time there was this jam making happening, people gathered around, my grandma, her sisters and some of my cousins were called to come, and put a hand to the job.

And when I was called, I was always complaining. “Oh not again.” But being older and after few swings with this giant wooden T-shaped thing, inside the big cast iron pot filled with mixed plums, it got me smiling.

Immediately, you could hear the jury of grandma’s commenting of how wrong your technique of mixing is and how you should correct yourself. “Here we go, I just came and something is wrong, already.” And they just laughed.

Being around you could even hear some gossips here and there. Let me tell you, those are some stuff to hear.

Yeah, it was fun. It wasn’t so flawless and you always needed someone being present around it, taking care of the process. But that what broad us all together. This necessity of a given job.

That all got to me when looking, at the electrically powered machine doing the job endlessly.

Walking upstairs, I glanced my grandma watching TV through a window and her sister behind me minding her own business too. Arriving upstairs, I started to rehearse how would I explain this feeling to my mother standing in a kitchen.

And I’ve just said: “Isn’t it strange how the doing of the jam is somehow,” I didn’t even finish it and mom promptly added to it: “Yeah, right?” We connected immediately. She knew exactly what I mean.

We tried to find the right words for it and the best we could come up with is “it bonded us together.” The making of plum jam. Now, it was all gone in the presence of the machine.

Now you can be like: “How does it all connect to the innovation and automation?” and don’t you think it does?

Like sometimes there weren’t that many TVs around so if somebody wanted to see something you needed to gather around and watch it in a neighbor or a friend. Or the LAN games. Room filled with computers and you’ve got together to go there and play some games.

All those stuff we invented to be more comfortable, to be easier to do, and while doing it we lost the important ingredient of the experience;

The human bonding.

I even started to think how to flaw the machine in a way that we would need to be around. That we would still need this gathering aspect of it. A button to always hold so it does, the mixing.

Then I was like: “Hold on, isn’t the wooden spoon the best? You even move your whole body.” Here I was, back again in the giant wooden spoon solution.

Yeah, I don’t want to go automation is doom, and we should destroy our computers now, and buy one giant super computer in the middle of a village to bond.

No I don’t, even though the destroying part might be interesting to see. (I fear of AI once reading this article). I just thought it was an interesting moment how the inventions can make stuff more easy but also more lonely to experience.

I would still whine around it though, if they would call me to do the job. I was even mumbling now, when asked to prepare the wood for a fire which is the only thing not automated yet.

Have a nice day, and don’t automate everything out, you may lose some human boding in the process.

See ya tomorrof,

Luke

Observation some time later.

I was just walking around the machine and saw how the raw boiling product is spitting outside small lava-like bubbles of superhot jam and I thought: “Oh yeah, I forgot how it hurt when one did fall onto my hand,” and I started to recondiser my ‘automation is sad’ position.

Even the job was so daunting. You just moved the wooden spoon back and forth inside pot, again and again. I understand why grandmas talked around it so much. It’s boring!

Nah, we still should let some boring jobs around. Funny, how human memory works.

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