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参考消息

【媒库文选】硅谷的效率专家想取消圣诞节

2018-01-06 00:19:44 来源:参考消息网 责任编辑:贾元熙

核心提示:如果说圣诞低效带来的喜悦、享乐和职业安全感给了我们什么启示,那就是不应把效率本身作为目的。鉴于无论我们做什么,低效总会冒出来,所以人的体验应重于一切。

Silicon Valley's Efficiency Mavens

Would Like to Cancel Christmas

硅谷的效率专家想取消圣诞节

Izabella Kaminska 伊莎贝拉·卡明斯卡

hristmas means different things to different people. For some, it constitutes a bona fide religious experience. For others, it represents consumer indulgence. For others still, it evokes nostalgia and ritualised tradition. But whatever your views on Christmas, one thing runs true across the board. This is the time of year inefficiency is celebrated for its own sake.

In an era when algorithmic hyper-efficiency is being prioritised, this is an experience worth making time for — not least because of the economic paradox it brings about.

Consider just some of the inefficiencies deemed acceptable at this time of year that might otherwise be targeted by technologists and entrepreneurs for elimination, automation or acceleration. Arts and crafts; handmade decorations; organically-sourced produce from Christmas markets and stalls; Christmas lights; the wrapping of almost everything in decorative paper; indoor trees; festivities and merrymaking on employer-time; Christmas shows; and, most crucially of all, unnecessary gift-giving all around.

Then, on the behavioural front, there's the over-consumption of almost everything, as well as the days-long preparation of just one meal. If we operated on this basis every day, it is fair to assume our finely tuned “fast-paced” economy could probably not keep up without cost.

And yet, despite all the wastage and inefficiency, the season is still considered an essential consumer blowout, with the capacity to make or break a small independent company or even the more established large corporation. So while the Christmas phenomenon may be deemed inefficient to a technologist's mind, the livelihoods (and positive experiences) it supports more widely suggest it is not all for nothing.

Of course, the greatest irony comes in how newly-minted technology billionaires like to spend their own money once they have made it. Take the products and services made available at the annual Web Summit gathering in Lisbon in November. In the VIP-only area the titans of the internet indulged in artisanal coffees and grazed hand-cured meats and traditionally-baked patisseries even as they evangelised about the merits of dehumanised mass-market solutions.

But in their private investments the absurdities really come to light. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Michael Baum, who made his fortune selling big data software, spent a fair wedge of that sum acquiring the Burgundy winery Chateau de Pommard, which prides itself on its traditional winemaking techniques.

The first love of Elon Musk, the electric car enthusiast and futurist, was always the bespoke high-performance sports vehicle. His vision centres on bringing highly individualised “green” transport solutions to the masses at an affordable rate. But even his automated, energy-efficient approach to car manufacturing is struggling to compensate for the unexpected inefficiencies in hand.

None of which is to say humans should not strive to be more efficient where they can, especially on energy consumption. But if the joy, pleasure and job security afforded by Christmas inefficiency tells us anything, it is that efficiency should not be regarded as an end in itself. Since inefficiency has a way of popping up no matter what we do, it is human experience that should be prioritised before all else.

圣诞节对不同人有着不同含义。有人觉得它是不折不扣的宗教体验。也有人觉得它代表着纵情消费。还有人觉得它唤起了怀旧情绪和仪式化的传统。不过,无论你怎样看待圣诞节,有一点对谁都没错。每年这个时候,低效都会因其本身而受到赞美。

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