Warren Bennis? Fred Lamond? Jerry L. Benefield? British Post Office Engineering Union? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: A humorous and cautionary prediction states that the automated factory of the future will have only two employees: one human and one dog:
- The human feeds the dog.
- The dog makes sure no one touches the equipment.
This notion has been attributed to Professor of Business Administration Warren Bennis and others. Would you please explore this topic?
Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in the trade journal “Datamation” in 1978. Journalist Fred Lamond noted that the development of increasingly powerful microprocessors was facilitating new types automation. Lamond published a wry joke circulating in Britain:1978 November 1, Datamation, Volume 24, Number 11, Europeans Blame Computers by Fred Lamond, Start Page 107, Quote Page 107 and 110, Technical Publishing Company: A Dunn and Bradstreet Company, … Continue reading
“How many people are required to maintain a new System X electronic exchange?” runs a rather bitter joke in the British Post Office Engineering Union. Answer: “A man and a dog.” “What does the man do?” “Feed the dog.” “What does the dog do?” “Make damn sure neither the man nor anybody else gets his fingers on the equipment.”
Lamond did not provide a precise attribution. Thus, droll remark is difficult to trace because of its variability. Currently, the creator remains anonymous. Warren Bennis did employ this joke in 1988 and 1989, but he disclaimed authorship as indicated further below.
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.
|↑1||1978 November 1, Datamation, Volume 24, Number 11, Europeans Blame Computers by Fred Lamond, Start Page 107, Quote Page 107 and 110, Technical Publishing Company: A Dunn and Bradstreet Company, Barrington, Illinois. (Verified with scans; Internet Archive)|