The Internet of Things and the Future of Work

Generation Jobless; the global rise of youth unemployment, The Economist captures (may 2013): “More people are idle than ever…75 million people are looking for a job…the number of young people without a job is nearly as large as the population of America (311).

But does this mean that young people are not doing anything? Of course not. The problem is the definition of what a job is, what pay is is, what renumeration is and what it constitutes to be a ‘full’ member of society.

In a way, there is no issue at all.

Internet of Things easily solves it. We don’t need jobs. We need meaningful interactions.
WWWW| Work When We Want is a proposal by Konstantin Schmoelzer for a service available through mobile devices (iPhone, Android, iPad, etc.) and web browsers, which combines current existing established payment instruments focused on the domestic service sector with the convenience of online payment, an evaluation network to improve the quality of the market, introduction and matching of households with workers and packages to overcome bureaucratic barriers.

Can this system enable a new type of economic growth, namely ‘work where we want?


If we build IoT (read the seamless flow between body , home, mobility and local decision making data streams) from the scale of a neighbourhood this area can be enhanced with as many and as wide a variety of sensors as possible. Workshops with citizens by local media activists and media labs will facilitate the adoption of this process and will enable the personalisation of these sensors through 3D printing and fablab tools. The technical challenge will be to build a neighbourhood dashboard that is privacies friendly. The research questions are: how granular can we make the input of the sensors; that is what kind of quality data can we retrieve, and how can this process lead to local decision making procedures in ‘light communities’. The design and interface challenge is about linking low tech with high tech for a growing elderly population.

In such a situation I can get ‘paid’ for helping to carry groceries up the stairs of my elderly neighbour, talking about math, helping to fill out a form….In Iot a single currency makes no sense, so this will not strengthen efficiency paradigms and turn every human act into a potentially quantifiable act. It breaks up this 19th century factory paradigm of working 8 hours a day. That really makes no sense anymore. It also breaks the educational deadlock as the only reason now for kids to be in school is that there parents have to work and can not host them.

But most importantly it stops this nonsense of talking about a ‘lost’ generation. There is nothing lost about them. Growing up in the browser they are the brightest generation ever, the kindest and the one most tailored to cooperation.
They know the ‘system’ of their parents is dead.

However, they are a transitional generation and still psychologically burdened by all this negativity as if they should still hope or long for that job that will not ever ever come no more.

We should stop that.

I stared for a long time at this picture.

This is Madrid, 2013. These youngsters are dressed to party, but they are scavenging for food.
In the heart of the once so proud Spanish capital.
57% of them ‘jobless’.


Be ready for when they come
For they’ll be returning sure as the rising sun
Now get yourself a song to sing and sing it ’til you’re done
Yeah, sing it hard and sing it well
Send the robber baron’s straight to hell
The greedy thieves that came around
And ate the flesh of everything they’ve found
Whose crimes have gone unpunished now
Walk the streets as free men now
And they brought death to our hometown, boys
Death to our hometown, boys
Death to our hometown, boys
Death to our hometown

Daniel Ochoza de Olza
“People look for food in a trash bin in Madrid, Spain. Many stores throw out food when they close every night, and people often gather to look though the garbage bins. Photograph: Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP”


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