Future Tense

Because I’m flying, first to Singapore and then to the Philippines (for the Cebu Literary Festival), I’m writing my weekly column on a Sunday and scheduling it for posting on Thursday. I’m writing in the future tense.

My neighborhood bank in Harlem has just reopened after a thorough renovation. When I told GH, in my Singaporean way, how much quicker the shiny new ATMs are, he reminded me that the machines have replaced human cashiers. Some people have lost their jobs. If the bank was less efficient before, it was because they did not wish to invest in people and open up more counters.

Automation has replaced human beings at a frightening speed and will continue to do so at a dizzying rate. As consumers we have adapted perhaps all too readily to the changes. Even if the machine revolution cannot be stopped, it can be slowed down, so that all of us have time to plan, train, and adjust, to figure out how to maximize the economic benefits and minimize the human cost. Social arrangements, including the distribution of benefits, have to be reconsidered, re-conceptualized, and re-engineered. The politics of change must be fought.

The power of technology to amplify both the best and the worst human instincts is daily brought home to us now. SP Blog has just published an essay by Ranjani Rao on the use of medical advancements in India to predict the sex of the fetus. Although the scientist in her celebrates the ingenious application of real-time polymerase chain reaction, she also dreads its consequences in a country that has traditionally favored males. Easy access to abortion in India does not always work to the favor of women.

Because I will be in the Philippines this weekend, I will be missing both Stonewall 50 in New York and Pink Dot 11 in Singapore. I wish it were not so, since both movements mean a great deal to me. Know that as I’m enjoying my lechon, reputedly best in Cebu, I will be looking to learn more about not only the past, but also the future. Happy Pride!

 

Jee Leong Koh

 

 

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9 Responses to “Future Tense”

  • WTfish:

    Meaningless movement or you expect us to puppy-walk your essay while you enjoying your lechon? And why should we be interested in whether you are flying or not? WTfish.

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  • copy and paste:

    What is your point?

    It does not topple clown pap or enlighten 70% sheep or make 30% OPPO movement stronger so what is your message?

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  • Don't come back!:

    “So what is your message?”. He is telling you that while you have your “sio bak” at Ah Huat Roast Pork stall, he is having his overseas!

    Ah Koh, continue to enjoy your lechon in Cebu and don’t have to come back. In fact, beautiful Mactan island is only few kilometers away; can retire there.

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  • Daft No Cawk awaiting Rabies:

    Enjoy what? Lechon? or lanjiao? Philippines, Land of BJs.

    Jee Leong Koh:
    Know that as I’m enjoying my lechon, reputedly best in Cebu, I will be looking to learn more about not only the past, but also the future. Happy Pride!

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  • NotMyProblem:

    Mr. Jee, I tried to make sense out of your article here.

    One part was “…how much quicker the shiny new ATMs are, he reminded me that the machines have replaced human cashiers. Some people have lost their jobs”. Actually the true is it creates more jobs. May not be in banks’ counter staff, but for those who make the machines, those who maintain the machines and what about having security to top-up the cash circulation in the machines, etc. This way those remaining counter staff can do something better in other services of the banks.

    The second part was “.. SP Blog has just published an essay by Ranjani Rao on the use of medical advancements in India to predict the sex of the fetus…. its consequences in a country that has traditionally favored males. Easy access to abortion in India does not always work to the favor of women.” even so, India is still having the highest birthrate than China. Chinese also in favor of males, but both countries still have as much females and males births. Prediction of sex in fetus is of no consequences.

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  • TruBlu:

    Too much LECHON N SAN MIGUEL,i guess?
    Else, why sound so drunk?

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  • oxygen:

    @ JEE LEONG KOH,

    You raised a riddle on this one, but no forward thinking thereafter. Why?

    Jee Leong Koh :Automation has replaced human beings at a frightening speed and will continue to do so at a dizzying rate. As consumers we have adapted perhaps all too readily to the changes. Even if the machine revolution cannot be stopped, it can be slowed down, so that all of us have time to plan, train, and adjust, to figure out how to maximize the economic benefits and minimize the human cost. Social arrangements, including the distribution of benefits, have to be reconsidered, re-conceptualized, and re-engineered.

    AI will displace most of the routinized assembly-line type operating functions and roles (jobs).

    SO WTF is PAPpy still importing truckloads of foreigners to fill jobs which labor is no longer required or soon to be redundant. Most of these jobs will be gone in no time.

    WHAT POLITICAL AGENDA is the massive influx of imported foreigners brought in of no future economic relevance?

    What political vote banking agenda is there to serve whose political longevity, hegemony and dynastic preservation?

    CSJ SAID A NATION STOLEN!!

    Besides these inflow of human “poo” accompanying, how are we going to resolve waste disposal with 10 million population as beginning target (which must expand exponentially thereon from this point) now that our garbage landfill is nearer and nearer to full utilisation capacity soon?

    IT IS ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION, and we are less than 700 sq km in total space and one space only.

    should we stick up the garbage henceforth in PAPpys’ a*se in the next GE?

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  • most uselss:

    Tell me what is the topic all about except I remember he said he would like to attend the gay event.

    Is he gay?

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  • PUTHUCHEARY AVOIDED NS:

    What a waste of precious space. Self-indulgent piece of inconsequential muttering. PLEEEZ.

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