The Twitter feed @HumanVSMachine is a haunting collection of images and videos showing the automation of work around the world. The videos place footage of people doing a job side-by-side with footage of robots doing the same thing. The overall impression is of human obsolescence—at least in certain professions.
— HumanVSMachine (@HumanVsMachine) January 18, 2017
Philippe Chabot, a French Canadian from Montreal, is the force behind @HumanVSMachine, and he knows something about being replaced. He used to be a graphic artist, first in the video industry and then as a freelancer. At one point, he had plenty of contracts and plenty of work. But increasing competition for fewer assignments made this an unstable profession. Eventually, Chabot was bidding against people who would churn out a logo for $5, and he found that game studios were increasingly outsourcing their artwork. Software and chatbots were created that could automatically design avatars and websites. So Chabot left the field and now works in a kitchen.
He’s not the only one of his friends and family whose work has been outsourced, whether to people in other countries or to non-humans.
Chabot said to Ars, “There seems to be stigma about this happening to someone, as if it is shameful. I think if more people would speak about this reality, we’d already be having a nicer transition with all these changes happening.”