Do you see the management class, in companies, public organizations, politics, all kind of institutions be eradicated and disappear soon ?

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Is this a question or a political polemic? Drop the ranty parts and explain what kind of "simple robots" replace the management class and how. $\endgroup$ Sep 4 at 17:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Do you even have the slightest idea about what a social class even is? Middle management and line management are salaried job positions; middle managers and line managers do not constiture a class in any way. I won't comment on your opinion that they don't do any useful work. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 4 at 17:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Downvoted because this is the Worldbuilding site, not the PredictTheFuture site. You might ask "what are the consequences if my world doesn't have management", "how do I get rid of management in my world", or even "what would my world be like if management actually was a social class" (instead of a demonstration of the Peter Principle)? $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Sep 4 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf 'You might ask "what are th..' do not teach the kid bad things - it clearly would be broad opinion based q. Another kne is a little better, but just a little, but yah it could work. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 4 at 22:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ not in my line of work, getting dangerously close to a 1:1 ratio of managers to engineers in my team 😑 $\endgroup$
    – Samwise
    Sep 4 at 23:14

Counterpoint: Everything except management will soon disappear.

Many AI-driven technologies are rapidly encroaching on what's referred to as "Level 4" in the self-driving industry. This level, which is one short of full go-to-sleep-at-the-wheel autonomy at "Level 5", indicates that the self-driving vehicle can do basically all tasks by itself except handle certain edge scenarios. A "High level 4" descriptor would indicate that the car can do basically over 99.9% of all driving completely without human intervention.

That last 0.01% is critical though, and just like any problem, eking out those last percentage points is a long, difficult, and expensive slog on the S-curve. That's why, in the short term, it will be cheaper to have humans overtake control or provide direction when the AI gets stuck.

To highlight this with a scenario from the (near) future, let's look at my best guess how truck driving will evolve in the next 10-20 ish years:

  1. A self-driving truck is commercially released that can perform loading-dock to loading-dock runs anywhere in the continental USA without human intervention (save for cargo loading and unloading crews at each end).
  2. Shipping companies immediately realize that robots are better than people, and even if the AI in the truck isn't perfect, the projected cost savings are enormous
  3. The shipping company buys a bunch of AI trucks, fires all the truck drivers, and uses money to massage lawmakers into ignoring all the disgruntled ex-truckers
  4. AI trucks take to the roads, and by god, the profits are enormous. AI trucks drive 24/7, don't get drunk, and don't get distracted. They don't even need health insurance or a pension or anything silly like that.
  5. Unfortunately, all's not good though, because occasionally trucks get caught in weird traffic scenarios and are unsure what to do. This causes several major traffic problems (and fatalities), so a solution is needed ASAP!
  6. The solution is simple: managers are brought in to supervise. Somewhere in a remote office block, they sit behind desks and watch the live camera feeds and current positions of their assigned truck fleet.
  7. When something goes wrong, the manager attempts to give direction to the AI to fix the issue, or remotely calls the tow-truck or someone locally who can fix the issue.

In a similar vein, I could imagine that there are many industries where automation can easily replace the grunts or the lowest level of employees. I mean, if you are an office worker, and your job is data entry, who do you think will be automated into obsolescence first? You or the manager? Hint, it will be you. Instead of one manager "managing" a team of 5 people doing data entry, one manager will be supervising a team of a dozen data entry AIs.

In summary, humans who manage AI is the future of work.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I kind of like this but I'm not sure I agree with it entirely. For example, people who work with spreadsheets are already "managers" from the POV of this answer ("computer" used to be a job title of a person who performed calculations (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_(occupation) , which spreadsheets running on electronic computers obsoleted) but, nevertheless, we wouldn't say a spreadsheet user is a manager today. So I'm just not sure that shepherding around machines in the near future, even AI based ones, is actually management by any conventional definition. $\endgroup$ Sep 4 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ @GrumpyYoungMan shepherding machines around is definetly a managment, no matter how you look at it, but it not necessarly not a blue collar work, lol $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Sep 4 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ For those of us who think about problems, think of what would happen either in a major solar flair taking down the GPS system or the Russians perfect their GPS hacking (which they are experimenting with a lot). All those cars and trucks losing their way. $\endgroup$
    – David R
    Sep 5 at 14:24

Yes. The proletarians will seize the factories in October.

Seriously, though, a management class (separate from the working class) has never been shown to be useful.

Managers don't actually know what their underlings are up to. They cannot tell the difference between employees who actually work 80 hours a week and those who just pretended to: https://hbr.org/2015/08/the-research-is-clear-long-hours-backfire-for-people-and-for-companies

Worker-managed businesses in the U.S. have a higher success rate than those who separate the management class: 25.6% survive at 6-10 years old (compared to 18.7% for managed businesses), and 14.7% at 26+ years old (compare 11.9% for managed businesses). (Source: Democracy At Work Institute's '2019 Worker Cooperatives State of the Sector Report')

"The average wage paid at all reporting worker cooperatives is \$19.67 per hour. This figure is more than \$7.00 higher than the minimum wage in the 13 states with the most worker co-ops." (plus an average dividend of \$8,241 on top) (same source)

Similar numbers in Japan: https://www.japan.coop/study/pdf/coop_in_numbers_en.pdf

Similar numbers in the UK: https://www.uk.coop/sites/default/files/uploads/attachments/co-op_economy_2019_0.pdf

I don't mean to be political; I mean to be data-driven. The data says that managers are fairly useless. People could realise this and abolish them.

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Sep 5 at 18:09

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.