Nobody Should IronI once had a boss who felt that nobody should iron. It took me a while to understand how completely he meant this. Nobody, not his wife, not him, not the workers at the laundry, not the people who manufacture clothes. He generally wore Hawaiian shirts to work. We were in logistics, not banking, so he could get away with it. Occasionally we would declare a Hawaiian shirt day, just to keep him company. Ironing is a hot, thankless job. There are some people I know who like to iron because it gives them a chance to meditate, to accomplish something without having to think, but they generally get to iron in an air-conditioned room with only a few garments. If you've ever glimpsed the people doing the ironing at the dry cleaners/laundry, you know what hot and thankless mean. They have an industrial ironing machine which allows them to iron more surface at a time, but there's still a lot of hand work to be done. Which is one of the reasons why it hasn't been automated. (The other reasons have to do with it being female and/or lower paid work, but I'm not going to put on my social justice hat here.) Ironing, despite those who claim it is mindless, involves human intelligence to do correctly. Something like driving. I like to drive. I like it for much the same reasons as the people who like to iron. I get in the car and can be mindless. Yes, there is decision making going on, but it is generally below the level of consciousness, so I just get to tool along and watch the scenery - as long as I don't get too involved in watching the scenery. And guess who is automating driving? There are Google automated cars driving around the streets of San Jose today. I've never ridden in one, so I don't know how much scenery I'd be able to watch, but I'm willing to believe that these cars are better drivers than me. Hence my little proposal: let Google emancipate us all from ironing. Do we need a DARPA cross country challenge to make this happen? So be it. We have spent far too much time on insoluble problems like the economy. Let us work on something that will make the world a better place.
29 Dec 2013
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