Well, we appear to have found a solution to the old Taylorist dilemma of working being efficient but boring: turn it into a video game.
I heard on the radio this morning that FoldIt players had solved a virus structure puzzle in 10 days which had eluded the best efforts of scientists thitherto. FoldIt turns macromolecule folding problems — devilish 3-d puzzles — into a videogame which can be solved in parallel by a bevy of “players”. The account of the latest solution is in Science Daily here.
How Frederick Winslow Taylor, the inventor of “scientific management” (or, more eponymously, “Taylorism”) would have rejoiced! Although his methods reduced work to rationally most-efficient segments, it is also notorious for draining work of all pleasure or meaning.
We don’t get the meaning back with video games, but we do get the pleasure.
Mechanical Turks of the world, unite! Your have nothing to lose but your boredom.