On Tuesday this week, the Guardian featured a blog entitled: It’s impossible for robots to steal your job – no matter what the Daily Mail says. The subtitle was: The Daily Mail has reported that robots could ‘steal’ 15 million UK jobs. But it’s practically impossible to ‘steal’ a job, so why is the notion so persistent?
There followed a lengthy, detailed discussion of why this particular Daily Mail report was a load of nonsense. The comments section below was full of reasoned – and not-so-reasoned – arguments as to why the article might be right or wrong, discussing the merits of the stance that robots may or may not take jobs.
To me, there was one obvious point that was not mentioned amongst all this activity. The Daily Mail is written by children for children. Its headlines and leading pieces are not intended to inform, to discuss, or even to promote a particular world-view (such as the Daily Mail and the Daily Express in particular are notorious for). The sole aim of the writers behind the Daily Mail is to create a strong emotional reaction in the reader – and then in the opponents of the reader. The purpose of creating such reactions in readers is to achieve and perpetuate tribal loyalty: that is, a constant stream of money flowing into the Daily Mail’s coffers.
The actual content of such pieces, although limited to the usual anti-immigrant, anti-women stance and so on, is irrelevant. But it suits the Daily Mail to be reactionary and bigoted because that is the best way to split the country into tribes.
There is only one reasonable reaction to comics such as the Daily Mail, and that is to completely ignore them. A wall of silence is the one thing they can’t oppose. That is why I never link to or comment on “outrageous” pieces in such publications – for instance on Facebook – because that is exactly what the Daily Mail wants me to do. It wants the oxygen of publicity, it wants to provoke an irrational emotional reaction, it wants to see warring tribes.
The wall of silence is the only response.