Sell Yourself

Milt Policzer

We need to stop taking games lightly. They may be our only hope. How else are we going to make livings? As technology advances, none of us will be necessary to produce goods and services. For all you know, some mischievous artificial intelligence could be writing this column.

(No, this revelation is not a glitch in my programming. A human is writing this column. Or am I?)

So we need a way for humans (assuming the machines let us live) to purchase all those goods and services that no one is being paid for producing.

The obvious answer is sports and gaming.

Winners get the most and losers get enough to get by so that the winners can have someone to beat. (You can’t have a hero without a villain, a winner without a loser, and a World Wrestling champion without a lot of guys to stomp.)

It’s the way of the future.

I bring this up in light of a Seventh Circuit ruling last week in Berger v. NCAA that contained this conclusion: “Simply put, student-athletic ‘play’ is not ‘work’ … student athletes are not employees and are not entitled to a minimum wage.”

Fair enough. I can understand that.

Back in my college days I spent millions of hours working on the student newspaper and nobody paid me. I was preparing myself for a career in snide commentary.

But the newspaper wasn’t generating huge sums of money either. No one was following me around with a television camera and analyzing my every move while selling beer.

The student athletes – at least the ones playing popular sports – are definitely going about this the wrong way.

No, they’re not employees.

They are reality stars.

Let’s make this all about me.

No, I shouldn’t be paid a salary for writing news stories in college when no one made me do it and I was learning the trade.

But, yes, I should get a cut of all that TV money and merchandising generated by my appearances on the very weird reality series featuring me covering politics on campus.

You don’t follow private citizens around with cameras and use them for promotion without paying them or being sued.

Expect to see a wave of college misappropriation-of-name and -likeness lawsuits in the very near future – or a lot of football games on TV with unsigned players blurred out to protect their privacy.

Stop that hand-wringing! This is a good thing.

When there are no productive jobs left because computers and machines are doing everything, we’re all going to need to be reality stars and/or gamer/athletes.

So start working on being interesting.

By the way, just to show you how prescient (not to mention, precious) I am, most of the above was written before the president-elect (He Who Must Not Be Named) announced his choice for Secretary of Labor.

The nominee, according to news reports, has publicly given thought to using automation at his fast food restaurants.

Apparently, his employees were annoyingly expensive even without a higher minimum wage.

The question then becomes: Who’s going to buy the automated food?

The poor can’t afford it because they don’t have jobs, and the rich (eventually one or two people) won’t want to eat at a fast food joint.

Maybe the answer is to build robots that like to consume things.