Written by Clara Guzmán
What defines us as human beings? It might seem that this question has accompanied humanity since the beginning, but it becomes even more important in this technological era that we call 21st century. Sean Blacknell and Wayne Walsh asked themselves this very question. Frustrated with other filmmakers attempts to tell a story such as this, in May 2014, they decided to start a Kickstarter project. Three years later, The Future of Work and Death is finally a reality. After being screened in some prestigious festivals such as Raindance, San Francisco Doc Fest, and CPH:Dox, Blacknell and Walsh are able to say that they have made it.
This provocative documentary studies the impact of the unstoppable growth of technology on two relevant aspects of human life: work and death. In an era where everything changes before we can even realize it, these two things remain certain: both work and death have defined humanity throughout history. But do we know how the increasing technological development is going to change them? The film tries to shed some light on this issue by showcasing the opinion of important experts.
Featuring big names such as Gray Scott, Martin Ford and Aubrey de Grey, the film gathers experts in techno-philosophy, futurology and gerontology, among others — fields that might sound like science fiction, although they are just science nowadays.
The documentary makes an overview of the most likely short-term future of most occupations after the impact of increasing technology implementation. From more specialized fields such as medicine or cars, to non-specialized ones such as fast food, they all seem to be among the list of future impacted jobs, according to the experts. Having this scenario in mind, would it lead us to an unemployment/job obsolescence situation? And if so, what would come next?
Opinions about death sound more optimistic, yet futuristic: is it possible to stop aging? Is there such a thing as extreme longevity? What is more, and quoting the authors, will we work, age or even die in the future?
Like any good documentary, The Future of Work and Death doesn’t try to answer the questions it posits. Instead of that, it generates new ones. And it’s not afraid of it. This is definitely a must-see for anyone wondering about the consequences of the technological era.