Friday, March 05, 2010

Obsolete information labor occupations

Cute bit on the NPR web site that a friend pointed me to: "The Jobs of Yesteryear"
As computers and automated systems increasingly take the jobs humans once held, entire professions are now extinct. Click through the gallery below to see examples of endangered professions, from milkman to telegrapher, and hear from people who once filled those oft-forgotten jobs.

Interestingly, half of the jobs profiled dealt with information labor: lector, copy boy, switchboard operator, typist in a typist pool, typesetter, and telegraph operator. (No telegraph messenger boys, sadly.)

As a way of getting undergraduates to think about changes in labor and technology, I often find myself turning to the Prelinger Archives collection of corporate and educational training films. Here are two of my favorites, one for each of the two deparments I'm involved with at UW-Madison:

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