Lighting the Empire State

New Yorker’s just voted for the presidential primaries. The iconic Empire State Building was lit in honor of the occasion. Here is a paraphrasing of a story I was told this weekend when discussing the effect of mechanization.

The Empire State Building used to employ 5 people to change the light bulbs. This was a full time job and these men supported their family through their expertise for decades. Then came LED lights*. They only needed one person to manage the job now. Change the lights the few times they needed to be and learn how to utilize the computer program that controlled the lights displays. They had to let go of 4 people.

Now what does this sound like to you? Technology taking jobs away? As previously mentioned in the They Tech Our Jibs! post, I see this as an advancement to new opportunities. The person I was conversing with agreed with the observation of technologies ability to free us from what were once mundane and/or laborious tasks. Sure the 4 people were out of that particular job but not only had the technology greatly improved what could be done the building’s lighting displays, it has likely dropped costs for usage, and created a whole new industry in which other buildings that could not afford an expert staff of 5 craftsmen to entertain their own lighting options.

There are many issues at stake in the current political races. A large one is a push for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. This will most likely lead to a mechanization of these jobs, as the costs of developing, manning and maintaining more robotic and automated process will be carried out by  larger companies and it will likely limit the expansion(if not shutter outright) smaller business owners. The mechanization will eventually become more affordable to all but for now, I doubt many pushing the increase in wage understand this.

Don’t Fear Automation…Fear the Minimum Wage. This 50 year old essay shows that this is not a new observation.

Regardless I view it as the markets way of trying to regulate and advance itself. That’s it for today. More lights.


5 responses to “Lighting the Empire State

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