[Opinion] The Infrastructure of Our Assumptions

The infrastructure underlying our assumptions about work, the material world, and the digital world, and even how people get paid for work, have to change.

One assumption people still struggle with accepting is: If it’s not physical, then it’s not worth paying for.

Another assumption people struggle to change is: If I can’t see you physically doing the work, you must not be actually creating anything of value.

And yet another assumption people struggle to change in the face of shifting technology is: If it’s in the digital world (work, products, infrastructure, etc.) then there must be a physical corollary or else it’s not “real.”

All of these assumptions are being upended, moment-by-moment, bit-by-bit, by software companies (Google, Facebook, etc.) product companies (Tesla Motors), and digital goods companies (Amazon, Zappos, Netflix, etc.) and there are no signs of slowing down. Meanwhile, in the “real” world, the debates that rage in our public discourse are over basic income, wealth distribution, race and gender, and the nature of public policy, regulation, and laws in the face of rapid change.

We insist on using 20th century language and 20th century approaches to resolve 21st century problems. The solution to this is not to slow down, change, or push back machine learning, software development, or even physical and digital integration. Instead, the solution to this comes right out of the world of conflict resolution: Developing and sustaining the environments that will allow people to be creative, be generous, be courageous, and be truthful in a world that will increasingly reward by revenues of connection, referral, and relationship, those people who can successfully relationally connect with other people.

Rebuilding and reimagining the educational, social, and community infrastructures that will empower people to be their best, most ethical selves over the long stretch of their lives and creating and sustaining the systems to reward that growth—that’s the hard work.

Assumptions undergird work and the value of human labor. Assumptions undergird emotional labor and the value of that labor. Assumptions undergird adoption of technology, systems, and even the design of physical infrastructures.

But, the thing about assumptions is that human being make them.

Which means, with courage, and without apathy or defeatism, they can be unmade.

Even in the face of conflicts over change.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

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