DEHUMANIZATIONClick here for Dutch

2021 - 41,9 x 59,4 cm - India ink on paper
Automation, these days mainly in the headlines of papers as ‘artificial intelligence’. I read the highlights, I wonder at the marvels of science and yet fear always takes hold of me, too. Even though I grew up in the generation of computers. Automation is not necessarily bad, nor is it necessarily good. It has good and bad sides, but we often forget to see the bad sides, too.

‘Inhumane’ is often a word that has negative connotations, but that is actually exactly what automation is all about, and humanity is committed to it 100%. Of course, we make machines that create, mend or heal. But we also make robots that can fight without feelings or values getting in the way. Machines that chop down trees in a matter of seconds and are thus able to chop away football fields of forest. AI-systems that aim to be better than humans and replace them in their jobs. More, faster, cheaper. In service of mankind? Not always… we also craft away ourselves and our utility. To be able to do things ‘that really matter’.

But what remains to be done, then? If you have no use anymore? If machines and systems think they know everything better than you do? I myself think this is a very depressing thought. That’s why in this piece I have my own take on the pervasive automation and introduce the ‘Anti-depressor 2000’, that alludes to depression due to lack of utility. So that now, you don’t even have to administer your own antidepressants, because a machine will probably be better at that, too. Please let us also keep embracing human imperfection, because at least there is a beating heart in it.

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