Hand Crafted

I was recently in Prague and noticed something about all of the sidewalks and many of the streets. They usually looked something like this:

Typical Prague sidewalk

It looked pretty and had a cool pattern, but I didn’t think that much of it until I saw these guys working.

They had simple tools: bricks, shovels and hammers. They were literally knocking each brick in, one by one. They worked all day on their hands and knees. I went into the building and saw their work from above.

Here is a zoomed out version from the window of the office I was working in. It dawned on me that these two people had hammered in bricks for the entire courtyard.

Then I thought about the whole city. This kind of brickwork was everywhere. I felt something warm when I walked across them knowing about these workers.

Lately, ChatGPT has been in the news. People speculate that AI will be used to eliminate human workers. Some even think design will be replaced by machines. This may be true for many circumstances and I won’t fight against it.

However, the pride I felt watching these two human beings toil in the cold hammering bricks to make a beautiful courtyard can not be replaced. When walking across the bricks, I remember that effort in a way I never will for a machine. A machine doesn’t get tired or suffer or bored. Doing the work is a sacrifice. I feel for people in a way I don’t feel for a machine.

I am not anti-technology by any means. My whole career has been about using technology better. All I am saying is that there is something noble in hand crafted things. When you make something, I hope you feel the pride in hand crafting whatever you are doing. I certainly do.


Whatya think?