Sick People? Something to fuck with.
Investors? Something to be careful about fucking with.
Wu-Tang Clan? Ain't Nuthing to Fuck Wit.
This one is quite thorough, with lots of links for further reading for those who are interested.
Hansen claims Tesla received a written notification from a U.S. Drug EnforcementAdministration/Storey County Sheriff’s Office task force in May in May, “alleging that several Tesla employees may be participants in a narcotics trafficking ring involving the sale of significant quantities of cocaine and possibly crystal methamphetamine at the Gigafactory on behalf of a Mexican drug cartel from Sonora Mexico.”
Hansen said that he told Tesla on June 12 that he had “corroborated connections between certain Tesla employees at the time and various alleged members of the Mexican drug cartel identified in the DEA report as located in Mexico, that he urged Tesla to disclose his findings to law enforcement and to the DEA task force, but that Tesla refused to do so and instead advised him that Tesla would hire ‘outside vendors’ to further investigate the issue.”
I’ve seen people discussing jobs for Labor Day and it made me think of my first job out of High School. It was an eye-opener, doing data entry for medical manufacturer Schering-Plough in Kenilworth, NJ. I was making $7.25 an hour, which was above minimum wage back then.
It was a giant warehouse operation packing gift-boxes for doctors with trials of drugs and all sorts of trinkets - golf balls and crystal mugs and travel metal detectors and whatever would make the doctor remember the product because performance is meaningless.
I got the job through a temp agency. Everyone who worked there full time hated it and generally tried to pawn off responsibility. I could type, so they offered me a chair for the Summer. They started loading me up with other responsibilities, especially the difficult ones.
I would arrive early in the morning, hours before the assembly line was supposed to get started, and check to see what orders were going to get processed. Depending on that I would know how many people were needed on the line. It was up to me to pick names from a list to call.
There I was, a fairly privileged white 18 year old trying to decide who on this list would get work that day. I got to know these people. Parents. Grandparents. Some spoke English. All were desperate. They all needed work. If they didn’t hear from me by 7:45am they’d call.
I remember trying to decide wether Sam, who needed money for his meds, or Rita, who had two kids to feed, would get work that day. It was awful. They took a bus hours each way from Jersey City to pack kitschy toys and antihistamines in boxes for ten hours and thanked me for it.
Telling people there was no work on the line was like delivering a death sentence. I would try to convince my boss to squeeze an extra person in, or to expand the order, or come up with busy work. At least one person cried on the phone every morning. Sometimes they were angry.
My boss was named Dan. He was in his late thirties and drove a brand new Camaro and had spiky hair with too much mousse and talked all the time about the glory days when he was a DJ. He never really worked but would listen to the radio that played through the whole warehouse.
So Dan, in his manic way, loved the song “Barbie Girl” by Aqua. Yeah, the bad pop song. He loved it so much that if it came on he would jump up and dance. And he wanted everyone else to dance. Even the people on the line. The belt would stop and the music got turned way up.
I remember sitting by the belt, listening to that neon pop schmaltz blasting with Dan giddily grinning and whirling by as the poor workers on the line took the moment to rest their weary hands and pretended to smile. Dan would ask Rita if she liked the song. It was surreal.
Then the music would end, the belt would start again, and Rita would continue putting Ray Ban sunglasses worth three times what she’d make that day in a gift box for a doctor to sell drugs. She would thank me on her way out the door to catch her long bus ride home to her kids.
That job taught me about labor and how it is valued in this country. It taught me about power dynamics and the way people are caught by them. It taught me about visceral need, and how indifferent the systems that contain us can be.
I still hate that song.
Happy Labor Day.
SUPERMARKETS, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, AND ICE CREAM
*EXTREMELY ADAM CURTIS VOICE*
This is a story about a supermarket chain that uses artificial intelligence, and how workers are then bullied into buying ice cream by their managers.
A friend of mine is a trade unionist. The trade union has over 400,000 members, many of whom work in the biggest supermarket chains in the UK--including minimum-wage labourers who work through the night to ensure supermarket shelves don't go empty. He shares this story.
At a supermarket chain, a CEO bought an "artificial intelligence and machine learning" stocking system. The old system was that night-shift workers, who put items on shelves, were responsible for checking levels of stock and making orders. The new system would automate this.
In principle this new system is great. Less work for night-shift workers! The computer takes care of ordering stock! When this system was trialled at limited stores, and then rolled out nationwide about 18 months ago, it was hailed as part of the FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION.
It was a step towards the dream of the fully automated ROBOSHOP (the plan would be to eventually replace night-shift shelf packers with robots too). But this ordering system has led to systematic bullying and grievances up and down the country. What on earth is happening?
The "artificial intelligence and machine learning" platform has historical stock and sales figures, and also has weather forecast built in. So when the system predicts hot weather coming, it automatically orders vast amounts of ice cream and soft drinks. Sounds fair enough?
But there's a deep flaw. The "smart" system doesn't correct itself quickly enough if it makes a mistake. If the weather doesn't get as hot as the system predicts, and so not so much ice cream is needed in stores, the system needs a "manual override" by an engineer/technician.
Anecdotally, when the "artificial intelligence" system makes a serious mistake, it would take an over-stretched (and probably under-paid) engineer/technician FOUR WHOLE DAYS to respond and insert a "manual override".
E.g. system predicts a WHOLE WEEK of hot weather. It orders trucks of ice cream and gets it delivered to shops up and down the country. But you end up with a week of rain. The system can't correct this quickly. So stores are suddenly flooded with ice cream no one is buying.
So the stores run out of room (refrigerated storage) to put away the ice cream. The night-shift shelf packers don't know what to do--every corner of the shop is already chock-a-block. The lower-ranked managers report to middle management of this "excess ice cream crisis".
Middle management initially don't care and tell the lower-ranked store managers to just "make it work". So the store managers starts putting 3 for 2 offers or half-price deals on ice cream to get rid of the excess stock. This is great for customers who are ice cream fanatics.
But discounts mean lower profits. So senior managers, who closely monitor sales data, start to scream and shout at the middle managers. The middle managers then cascade the bullying to lower-ranked store managers. The store managers then bully the night-shift shelf packer.
So now the trade union is suddenly receiving lots of grievances and cases, from night-shift minimum wage workers getting bullied, to middle managers getting bullied. Many middle managers have never been union members beforehand, but now they have joined.
In one particular store, there is a collective case of night-shift workers claiming they've been "bullied into buying ice cream". Managers want to get rid of the excess ice cream stock, so they literally force their minimum wage workers to buy it at the end of their shift.
It is almost as if the managers are saying, "all of you on minimum wage, your salary will now be paid in... this ice cream that this stupid artificial intelligence bought".
Meanwhile, an IT consultancy somewhere has made a lot of money. The CEO, who bought this "artificial intelligence and machine learning platform", will probably continue to "fail upwards".
"Let them eat ice cream!"
BONUS/ Listen to this soundtrack while you read the thread:
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