When someone handed you a calculator for the first time, it meant that long division was never going to be required of you ever again. A huge savings in time, a decrease in the cognitive load of decision making.
You can use that surplus to play video games and hang out.
Or you can use that surplus to go learn how to do something that can't be done by someone merely because she has a calculator.
Either way, your career as a long-divisionator was over.
For several years now, there have been stories emerging about how computers, robots and shell scripts are being developed to write sports and news stories. Routine game stories, round-ups, any rote story that could potentially be automated could soon be automated.
This is naturally concerning for those of us in the business. If a robot can do your job, an employer is going to use a robot instead of paying a person. That means more job losses. Young reporters often get their start doing these kind of rote stories, which means fewer entry level opportunities. And I've long felt that those kind of rote stories are like scales for reporters - they're how you develop your skills and keep them sharp. You can't write great stories without building up to them.
But Seth brings up an important idea to think about: This is coming. This is going to happen.
So what will sports journalists - yes, the ones that are left - do with their surplus of time?
What stories will we be freed up to tell if the robots are handling the basic stuff? How can we rethink and reimagine the profession to fit what our readers want if we don't have to spend time on the journalistic equivalent of long division?
Lamenting the job losses is important. But there's still going to be a paper tomorrow, still an website and an app that need to be updated.
So how can we use our talents as an industry to best take advantage of this surplus?