I will start fearing the singularity (superintelligent computers rising up and ruling over us all) as soon as my home computer connects to the printer sitting next to it without any problems, on the first try.”. Steve Jobs, said that, probably.

I tend to agree. In fact, I checked that particular “singularity alarm” this morning by trying to print something in a hurry, and… we are still pretty safe, folks.

To be sure, one of the reasons equipment never seems to work properly is because people treat it badly, either with constant overuse or letting it accumulate dust until we urgently need to overuse it. In theory, we know we should value these “extra pairs of hands” but we kinda hope they will last until they become obsolete.

Now, if my printer started noticing my spelling errors before printing, or my toaster began reminding me of the optimal thickness of the slice for this type of bread in order for my kids to eat their gosh-darn breakfast, I would suddenly pay much more attention to its well being.

As long as we never correct, never warn, and never say “no” to the client, we will be seen as just another “pair of hands”, skilled and useful but ultimately replaceable. For many lines of work, that is just a fact of life. For experts of all kinds, it’s an easily avoidable fate. Say “no”. Because if you never say “no”, what is your “yes” actually worth?


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