AI or I

Generative AI receives a lot of attention. One of the main issues is, to study how AI interacts with humans. The hiring decision by managers or an AI algorithm is an interesting application. According to Marie-Pierre Dargnies et al. (2022) the preference for human decisions remains strong despite reasonably unbiased performance of an algorithm. The main issue is with the transparency of the algorithmic decision-making. As a worker or as a hiring manager the preferences continue to sit with the person rather than the AI. It is a worrying outcome, however, that if the rule of gender equality is removed from the algorithm both workers and managers tend to prefer the algorithmic outcome. I interpret this as a latent preference of study participants for gender bias, which could lead them to expect a more favoured outcome in case the AI makes the decision. Knowing what decision-making rules have gone into the hiring algorithm has an impact on all persons involved.
A new managerial competence is to be able to assess tasks carefully, whether you should perform the task yourself or delegate to AI. In this sense the old question: to do the task yourself or to delegate has simply been enlarged by an additional delegation option. The decision-tree goes from (1) To delegate or not to delegate, and (2) if I want/need to delegate, should I delegate to AI or somebody in person (not allowed to use AI).
I opted to use AI for image creation rather than to take a photo myself or by one from a professional photographer. (Image creation: NEUROFLASH AI – Image-Flash 2024-1-26)

Work Satisfaction

There is an important distinction between job satisfaction and satisfaction with one’s work. Being satisfied with the work you have done or something you created or co-created has become almost a privilege. Production in capitalism has mostly different objectives like rent seeking rather than satisfaction with one’s work. Compromises between both are a major learning process about the functioning of labour markets. Remote work, for some, contributes a lot to more job satisfaction. For others a healthy work environment is the top priority. Many people however focus simply on pay packages and this is often out of sheer necessity to escape poverty eventually. Trades have a tradition to allow satisfaction with one’s work, more than most jobs in industry. Flat hierarchies and subordination to your own standards, rather than pressure from supervisors, are much more common. Recognition of your work adds to the pay you receive. Job turnover is related to job satisfaction but also to satisfaction or even identification with the product of your work.

There is more to work than pay. Recognition in form of winning a price in a competition may help to keep awareness high that pay is only one element of remuneration. “meilleur ouvrier de France“ is such a kind of recognition. It encourages people to try new things and test new ideas. This is a major source of satisfaction with one’s work. We might even feel sorry for someone shouting “I can get no satisfaction”. He probably has to try in a simpler or different fashion rather than to try harder. The city Dijon in Burgundy seems to have a pretty high number of people with high levels of work satisfaction and happy to show it.


Take work, take vacation = workation.
Take flexibility, take security = flexicurity.
Take business, take leisure = bleisure, not pleasure.
Blending notions or building hybrid terms is a powerful way to get discussions going or to challenge standard notions of work, security and leisure. At first sight these hybrid notions give the impression of a new, interesting approach to an established narrative. Adopting a new hybrid notion allows to blur the well-defined borders between established definitions. New narratives have their imaginative charm about them, only these hybrid notions tend to tip the balance in favour of work, flexibility and business, most of the time.
Additionally, there is a generational effect to it. Younger generations feel already more at ease with english-sounding new concepts. Feeling part of a new, cool approach to work is catchy. However, do not forget about the second part in all these notions: vacation, job security and leisure are fundamental rights of workers. Health and safety at work and in the medium- and longer- term depend on the latter notions. Sustainability and prevention of burn-out as well as depression hinge on taking time for leisure and vacation. Something nice in the immediate, might turn out to be very costly later on. Shifting costs related to health from employers to employees (or society) at a later time is in the end an unfair deal.
Just try a workation once and you are likely to value a real vacation much higher the next time. Why not do a workation in reconsidering the distribution of work within your household, couple or family. In this sense I am all in favour of a workation for men, most of whom still shun away from a fair distribution of care work at home. Happy Workation!

Flotow Offenbach

Erstmals in der Zeitschrift „Opérette“ (2012, No.164, S.53-57) erschienen, hat Dominique Ghesquière eine verschränkte Biografie von Flotow und Offenbach veröffentlicht. Die deutsche Übersetzung ist von Peter Hawig in den Emser Heften Nr.353 (ISSN 1436-459X) erschienen. In interessanter Weise wird das diplomatische Geschick, sich von kleinen Aufführungen in größere Häuser hoch zu arbeiten, von Flotow erfolgreich praktiziert zum Asset für beide Komponisten. So war der damalige Weg zum professionellen Musiker insbesondere auch zum erfolgreichen Komponisten. Flotows erste komische Oper „Pierre et Cathérine“ wurde bereits 1832 im Hôtel Castellane (Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 112) aufgeführt. Ein Vaudeville mit Gesangseinlagen „Le Comte de Charolais“ wurde im Théâtre du Palais-Royal 1836 zur Aufführung gebracht. In seinen Erinnerungen schreibt Flotow kurz nach dem Tod von Offenbach, dass er Jacob (erst nach Konvertierung Jacques) schon 1838 als Cellist kennenlernte. „die Runde durch die Salons war die Kunst, akzeptiert zu werden. Es war in erster Linie die Nagelprobe des echten Talents und der Virtuosität, gleichzeitig aber auch die des Dienermachens, der geschickt genutzten Gelegenheiten und schließlich des Erfolges. Jacob nahm also sehr gerne an, als sein Freund ihm vorschlug, ihn dort einzuführen, wo er selbst gern gesehen war.“ (S.7,9). Für diese Soirées schrieben beide Neukompositionen, die in 2 Serien erschienen sind. „Les chants du soir“ und „réveries“. Für Flotow war eine weitere Bekanntschaft mit Friedrich Wilhelm Riese (pseudonym W. Friedrich) in Paris bedeutend. Letzterer schrieb das deutschsprachige Libretto zu Stradella, der Flotow Oper, die dann erfolgreich 1844 in Hamburg uraufgeführt wurde. Wechselseitige Beeinflussung der beiden Komponisten wurden vielfach besprochen, jedoch sind keine wirklich belegt. Lediglich in den „Bouffes-Parisiens La Romance de la rose“ hat Offenbach eine direktes Zitat aus Flotows irischer Melodie  von Thomas Moore „Die letzte Rose“ verwertet und parodiert. Solche Anlehnungen, wie Flotows an die irische Melodie waren und sind auch heute noch gängige Praxis in der Komposition, durchaus mit Rechtsstreitigkeiten heutzutage. Während Flotow bereits 1848 recht solide etabliert war, musste sich Offenbach noch weitere Erfolge erarbeiten. Das hat sich in den Jahren um 1870 bereits ausgeglichen. Flotow’s Oper „L’ombre“ (Der Schatten) hatte die Premiere in der Opéra-Comique kurz vor Kriegsausbruch, wurde dann 1871 im Salle Favart erneut gespielt (S.24). Beide Komponisten haben sich gegenseitig inspiriert und in gewisser Weise voneinander profitiert. Klassik populär machen, ist beiden gelungen und die wechselvollen deutsch-französischen Biografien eine beispielgebende, positive wechselseitige Befruchtung.