Saturday, January 23, 2010

Obsolete Professions

One of the more interesting things computers are doing today is making professions completely unnecessary. The internet allows objects to be duplicated again and again at essentially no cost. This means that once enough of something has been created there is no motivation to create more. Reproducing old product is just so much cheaper.

A great example of this is porn. There is enough porn on the internet that it just isn't possible to reach the end of it, even if you never pay a dime. The result? The porn industry is essentially dead. It never will be sble to produce significant amounts of new porn more interesting than what it made in the past decade. 

Another similar problem has occured with photography. Photographers are having a terrible time in recent years. There are already tens of thousands of pictures of sunsets already taken. Why would anyone pay for another one if all those already exist?

Music and movies don't have it quite as bad. Live shows will always keep the most talented musicians around and, unlike porn, new movies are likely to be more interesting than old ones. Still, the problem is quite similar. Every new song produced has to compete with decades of recorded music. If it is not better than most of it in some way it will get ignored. That is an absurd standard. Musicians must be better than today's musicians, as well as those in the 90s, 80s, 70s, 60s and so on. Many people will just choose to listen to that music instead of modern music leaving a small audience who is mostly unwilling to pay.

However all of this is likely to make life better for people. When I was a teenager many of my friends blew most of their money on music. Now they can download music, and buy something else instead. This is much like the movement of the economy away from agriculture. Lots of money that used to pay for food now pays for other goods. 

The problem is, what to do with all the workers these industries supported. All those porn stars are in need of a new profession. I imagine someone can think of a way to make money off of them, but I have no idea what sector of the economy it will be in.

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