19 January 2004

“You can be replaced!” Part 2

Last week, I made note of the “robot scientist.” Here’s another news story about it. I feel this one is noteworthy for exposing some of the attitudes some researchers have in this quote:

“We’ve had robot scientists for a long time now,” jokes Chrisley. “But in the past we’ve always called them grad students.”
Replace “robot scientists” with something like “robot janitors” and “grad students” with any ethnic group (Hispanics, say) and see if you think that’s funny. Long hours, no fringe benefits, little job stability; yeah, that’s hysterical. Work conditions for junior researchers are such that more than one writer has compared some senior scientists to plantation owners – business thrives thrives only because of a cheap, voluminous workforce that doesn't get too uppity. Sadly, I’ve heard that senior scientists do have that attitude. I’ve been fortunate not to have any in my career, probably because I’m in one of the scientific backwaters where things are a little less competitive and not as fast-paced.


I’m felling better now, if you’re curious, though still not back to normal. Still have a sore throat and cough.

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