Last month I attended a conference at Chatham House about the Future of Work. Much of what was said that day startled me, but possibly the most lasting impression is from an (anonymous) panel member who plainly and unironically stated, “the objective of most companies now is to become disproportionate talent attractors”. My first reaction was to gaffaw at the preposterous and fatuous corporate language. However, in the intervening time between then and now, the phrase returned to my mind with some regularity and I have slowly realised that it is far from meaningless. In fact, this phrase, and more…

Hannah Arendt, in her 1958 prophecy of what wonders we will be rewarded with for our wholehearted commitment to employment and technology, chooses to describe us in terms of our three vital activities; labour, work and action [1].

Hanna Arendt

Labour pertains to the necessities of life. It is in accord with nature and her rhythm, it is unthinking, it maintains and reproduces; it is ploughing the fields, eating and digesting, it is a day of data entry, and cleaning the bathroom. There is a satisfaction that comes with labour, a sense of quiet heroism and the legitimation of a rewarding pint.

Note: 80% of this article was written before someone was killed by an Uber driverless car, however, this event perfectly proves that the issues discussed below are very real.

There is a well-known thought experiment in moral philosophy called the trolley problem. It was intended to challenge the ethical theory known as Utilitarianism, which states that:

“it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong”.

In recent years, with the development of AI, what started as a purely intellectual problem has become a perfect example of precisely why philosophy, ethics, and morals…

The phrases Generation-Y and Millennials have become ubiquitous, but are their problems real and definable? If they are, is Generation Y doing what it can to solve these problems? Frankly I think we are a bit fucked, and to a large degree I blame Thatcher, but also I think we could be a lot better at being better.

Who are we?

Generation Y has been defined as being born between 1980 and 1994 [1], the name references Generation X, born between 1965 and 1979. We are described as creative and ambitious but difficult to manage [2], we are often thought of as being…

Life is a Pareto Frontier.

Pretend for a moment that experience can be measured with only two metrics, Excitement and Safety, assuming that an increase in either is a good thing. Every experience we have can now be given one score for excitement, one score for safety and then be plotted on a graph as below.

Three experiences are labelled, A — Boxing, B — Doing the Cryptic Crossword, C — Being left alone in the middle of the desert with no food.

From plotting this graph, I can say with some certainty that C is a sub-optimal experience. Regardless…

Paddy Bettington

I like philosophy alot, I’m studying for a Masters in Political Theory, researching our relationship with work.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store