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  • Writer's picturePhil

Tudors & Technology

In recent post I have started to look at the changing nature of work - particularly the impact of increased automation and the rapid introduction of artificial intelligence. Recent news stories have reported further hits to employment in the retail sector as Tesco announced redundancies in some of its outlets. A visit to most supermarkets now is likely to involve self service scanning at an unmanned checkout or joining a queue together with those who prefer the reassurance of dealing with an actual person. We also have the convenient option of on-line shopping (particularly appealing for "bulk" buys if like me you do not drive). Convenience does have its price though leading to job losses and ever more reliance on larger supermarkets for affordable shopping. This should be off-set to some degree by alternative employment like that offered locally at the Amazon warehouse.

Part of my own self-employed working "routine" now is to spend the first two or three hours of a day at my laptop. In line with my aim to promote sustainability I will spend a little bit of this time browsing the local freecycle site (previous posts will show that I am trying to avoid the world of "consumerism" wherever possible and look for viable alternatives). Access to sites that promote reduction of waste show that technology doesn't necessarily have to feed the "rat race".

As my "on foot services" and local history work are only providing me with a rather minuscule income whilst I get established I try pick up a little extra in these first hours of the day by completing tasks like on-line surveys or user testing of web sites. Having registered for several platforms I can be reasonably confident that my email in-box will usually contain invitations to complete tasks. Such work is usually low paid (typically between £1.20 (often) and £7 (exceptionally) per hour depending on what is available and most tasks only lasting between 10 - 30 minutes). In these hours I aim to hit about £3 per day but rarely achieve it. I am an advocate of a decent minimum wage and for most this should only be seen as a "top up" income. For me those hours are fairly relaxed "working" from an armchair typically to the accompaniment of Planet Rock radio!

There is a section on "income" on Martin Lewis' "Money Saving Expert" site which outlines some on-line working opportunities and there are several worthy of investigation for tasks such as those described above. He also mentions platforms for self publication of writing (which I am in the process of investigating).

I am currently working on some (intended) publications alongside my main "Coventry Ramble" project. Today I have been working on a pamphlet sized publication about Coventry in Tudor times. It covers events that were played out in locations such as Whitefriars, Caludon Castle, St Mary's Hall and Coventry's first cathedral (destroyed under Henry VII) among others local sites. My area of research today was mostly about the Berkeley family who were resident at Caludon during the reign of the Tudors. Just researching this one family threw me off onto tangents - Shakespeare plays, the works of Thomas Nashe, astronomy and earth sciences, lute music, hunting animals, aristocratic disputes - just to list a few!

As I carried out my research on my laptop searches such as "Thomas Nashe and Elizabeth Carey", "Falconry merlins" and "Buck Hounds" threw back suggestions instantaneously as Google's artificial intelligence algorithms went to work.

In a previous post I have coined the term "democratisation of culture" to describe how now using platforms like youtube we can view films, rock concerts, theatre and opera or listen to narrated versions of any classic novel. This democratisation can also be seen in the field of research using tools that most of us are now reasonably comfortable with and take for granted.

I am planning for my first publications to appear available via internet platforms following self-publication in the next few weeks. If as I hope they are worth buying it will largely be due to the liberating side to the internet which provides us all with a massive pool of knowledge and resources. There is a downside however (I started today mentioning those Tesco jobs) which I shall explore soon as the ramble goes on............

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