When we think about the future of work, we often think about three key principles: The use of tech to enable fast cheap start-ups; having more than one source of work and income; and the roles that robots will or will not be able to replace. We can see practical examples of all three of these principles in the fascinating world of online #Findom: Financial Domination.
For those of you who don’t know, FinDom refers to a type of online adult service. Through nothing more than a social media account, women (almost exclusively women) develop a brand for themselves based on an idea of their superiority over the men (almost exclusively men) who follow them. There is a complex power relationship at work here – but, in essence, the FinDoms interact with their followers and demand money and gifts. There are no sexual services provided, little if any nudity, and the services seem primarily based on denial rather than provision.
If all of this sounds a little too mind bending, don’t worry. It isn’t the specifics of how Financial Domination services work that are interesting as much as the general points of how this 21st Century business is established and conducted.
- The ability to establish a business within minutes, with an immediate global reach, with zero capital is one of the revolutionary developments of the 4th Industrial Revolution. FinDom is an example of how people are making tech work for them. None of this costs anything to set up. Working on the assumption that people already have a smartphone with a decent camera and internet connection, the entire FinDom structure can be set up in minutes with zero capital.
The time commitment for this type of work will vary but we would be surprised if anybody were actually able to make a living out of it. Despite the huge numbers of followers that some of the FinDoms have, you would have to assume that the amount of cash actually changing hands is probably low. However, if there is any financial return on a zero capital investment, there has to be scope for this to be a net contribution to an individual’s finances as part of other work or a course of study.
- As an additional income – with hours chosen by the individual – this is an example of how flexible additional types of work can be undertaken alongside a full time occupation of work or study.
Finally, is this one of the few new jobs that is genuinely ‘robot proof’? Is an ‘adult service’ based on an imbalance of power something which only works when human beings are involved? Perhaps there will come a time when this kind of service could be provided by an algorithm or artificial intelligence, but it’s difficult to imagine. Much has been written about the development of ‘sex bots’ but, however realistically physicality can be artificially replicated, is there something human in this kind of relationship that is fundamentally beyond automation?
- By effectively trading on the fact that they are ‘real’ people who others can interact with, this is an example of using tech to ‘sell’ an experience of human interaction.
If you are keen to find out more about how FinDoms are using technology in this way, you can search for the hashtag #FinDom Be aware that this will probably access content that would be considered 18+ and Not Safe for Work.