Re: The continuing evolution of business and education

Carl Feynman (
Mon, 21 Jul 1997 09:54:11 -0400

At 07:37 PM 7/19/97 -0400, Abraham Moses Genen wrote:

>You mention that the PC is neither the beginning nor the end,
>and you are quite correct. As a simple example, the typewriter
>brought the secretary's job into existance, and the PC abolished

An excellent point. Actually, if I may quibble, the 'secretary' role as we
have thought of it over the last hundred years (post-typewriter) combined
two jobs that were previously of substantially different nature: the
secretary and the scrivener. The 'secret'ary (pre-typewriter) was literally
someone who was allowed access to the boss's secrets. They were what we
would today call an aide or assistant. (Hence the title 'Secretary of the
Treasury', etc.) The scrivener was someone responsible for taking
dictation, copying the boss's documents in nice handwriting, and making
hand-copies if that was necessary. The advent of the typewriter improved
the efficiency of scrivening so much that it could be folded into the
secretary job.

Scrivener was very much a lower-status job than secretary; when they got
amalgamated the resulting job was still low-status, but it got the
high-status name. Now that the scrivener/typewriter job has been entirely
taken over by machines, the remainder of the secretary job has been renamed
'assistant' and has increased in status.

I wonder what other jobs will have their drudgery automated away and will
thus both decrease in number and increase in status? Bank tellers?