What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. AFGE Local 1904. Here we are 15 weeks past the “end of max telework” and the union, such as it is, still hasn’t come through on delivering the new and improved telework agreement. So, we’re still grinding along with only two days a week like pre-COVID barbarians… as if 30 months of operating nearly exclusively through telework didn’t prove that working from home works. All this is ongoing while hearing stories of other organizations tucked in next door that are offering their people four or five day a week work from home options. It’s truly a delight working for the sick man of the enterprise. There’s probably plenty of blame to go around, but since the updated and perfectly acceptable policy for supervisors was published 15 weeks ago, I’m going to continue to go ahead and put every bit of blame on Local 1904 for failing their members (and those of us who they “represent” against our will) for not getting this shit done.

2. Eggs. You can’t swing a dead chicken without reading or hearing a story about the price of eggs. People like eggs, you see. The current period of inflation has coincided with a months-long bird flu outbreak that has hit domestic chicken flocks particularly hard. Even if we assume that demand for eggs has been stable, there are fewer chickens laying them and therefore fewer eggs coming to market. With the product in shortage, the price has increased markedly. It’s not a plot. It’s not surprising. It’s literally the fundamental free market elements of supply and demand doing their thing to find equilibrium. One more story about the sky falling really, truly, isn’t going to make a difference.

3. Humanity. I read a lot. No shock there. This week I’ve been served up several articles about computers or AI “eclipsing” humanity. To that, I mostly offer a shrug. Look around at the masterful job we’ve done running the place as the apex species. We’re collectively like the kid that was sent to school and eats his textbook. Why not let AI run the show for a while? Do we really think it’ll make a worse hash of things or are we terrified it would do better?

Robots…

They say robots and artificial intelligence are coming to take all the jobs. Apparently this time it’s not just manufacturing that’s going to feel the pinch of automation, but professional services will be absorbed into the collective too.

On days when I’ve sent 87 emails and received about twice as many, all I can really wonder is what the hell out robot overlords are waiting for? Why on earth would I resist or even object to an AI system taking over the heavy lifting so I can focus in on the 5-10% of those emails that should have really gotten some academic rigor rather than just the stock answer.

As far as robots taking over the place, personally I welcome it. Let them do the drudgery and free up some good old fashioned human brainpower to deal with the stuff that actually matters.

Then again, at the end of a day like this one I’d also probably be equally welcoming of Skynet come to eradicate the species, so my judgement could be somewhat compromised at the moment.

Skynet…

I keep seeing these Terminator-esque news stories pop up fueled by fear of computers gaining sentience and destroying humanity. Apparently it’s an actual concern and not just something you see on TV. I can’t quite bring myself to lose sleep over it, though. As long as Facebook keeps prompting me to “like” 5k runs and exercise clothes, I’d say we’re all pretty safe from Skynet. I realize an inordinate number of my friends have this strange obsession with running for “fun”, but I’m not going to be in the same town as that bandwagon at any time in the foreseeable future. I have a feeling it’s safe to assume that if our would-be evil computer overlords can’t get the advertising right, AI clearly isn’t quite ready for prime time. Sleep well Sarah Connor.