The Story of the Lucas Aerospace Stewards Alternative Plan is a film produced by the BBC's The Open University in 1978. 24'30", 16mm.
"Pronouncements on the dehumanization of work in so-called technologically advanced societies have tended to concentrate on manual tasks. This is not surprising since despotism in the factory is now so great as to be counter productive.
It may be felt that although this can happen in the field of manual work, it cannot occur in the field of intellectual work because you cannot do that [add job enrichment specialists, group technologists and industrial psychologists] to intellectual work. In my view, the computer is the Trojan Horse with which Taylorism is going to be introduced into intellectual work. When a
human interacts with a machine, the interaction is between two dialectical opposites. The human is slow, inconsistent, unreliable but highly creative, whereas the machine is fast, reliable but totally non-creative.
Originally, it was held that these opposite characteristics—the creative and the non-creative—were complimentary and would provide for a perfect human/machine symbiosis, for example in the field of Computer Aided Design. However, it is not
true that design methodology is such that it can be separated into two disconnected elements which can then be combined at some particular point like a chemical compound.
The process by which these two dialectical opposites are united by the designer to produce a new whole is a complex, and as yet ill defined and researched area. The sequential basis on which the elements interact is of extreme importance.
The nature of that sequential interaction, and indeed the ratio of the quantitive to thequalitative depends upon the commodity under design consideration. Even where an attempt is made to define the proportion of the work that is creative, and the proportion of the work that is non-creative, what cannot readily be stated is the stage at which the creative element has to be introduced when a certain stage of the non-creative work has been completed. (…) Those who seek who seek to introduce computerized equipment into the this interaction attempt to suggest that the quantitive and the qualitative can be arbitrarily divided and that the computer can handle the quantitive."
in Mike Cooley, Architect or Bee: The Human/ Technology Relationship, (Boston: South End Press, 1980), 19.