Self-Service and Robots

Someone posted this on Facebook recently, and while I agree with it in theory, I simply don’t see it working in reality. THIS is the end-result of Capitalism, folks. The purpose of businesses is to make as much profit for their owners as possible. Sometimes it means hiring the bare minimum of employees that they can get away with. And self-service, or automation, is always cheaper than actual people. This has always been the case. I’m just old enough to remember when some gas stations still had attendants who would come out and pump your gas for you (and sometimes wipe your widows) when you pulled in. Then gas station owners realized, hey, we can save money by just making the customers pump their own damn gas. And there you go.

I remember when self-checkout lanes started appearing in local grocery stores in Southern California. It was soon after a 4 month grocery store workers strike ended. Store owners are trying to protect themselves against being this vulnerable again. Ralphs, Albertsons, Target, they all have self-checkout lanes. Now, personally, as a matter of principle, I never use them. I will instead wait in a long line. And, let me tell you, despite what the person who created the image says, most of the time that there are long lines, you simply have to wait. They do not always add another cashier. So you wait, or go use the self-checkout lanes (which sometimes have lines too).

But I accept that eventually I won’t have choice. Most grocery stores will go all self-checkout, or majority self-checkout. Just like gas stations. And it’s not just them. Other industries will catch on. And yeah, it does suck because it’s usually the types of jobs that poorer people count on that will be replaced, first. Like fast food restaurants.

McDonald’s Corp. is planning to expand the number of restaurants with self-service kiosks, adding them to 1,000 of its restaurants each quarter for the next two years, Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook said on Monday. The fast-food giant first started offering the self-service option about two years ago and is now beefing it up with new ways for customers to order and pay including by mobile means, Easterbrook told CNBC. The self-service kiosks allow customers to peruse the menu, customize their own food options and even ask for table service. READ MORE

That’s right. Why pay someone minimum wage to ask you want you want, enter it into a machine and take your money (or ask you to swipe your card), when they can just stick a machine there for you to press buttons for what you want and swipe your card in it? That’s the future.

And any jobs that can’t be converted to self-service, will be automated. Or it’ll be robots doing the grunt work. And as both workers and consumers, we the people will need to adapt.

But THIS is where I draw the line!

I’m seeing all this talk about self-driving cars, and I’m just like HECK NO! I don’t car what they say, I will never get into a self-driving car. The very idea is insane to me. I don’t care how sophisticated they clam the technology is, I’m not trusting a computer to be able to navigate public streets with other drivers on it. It seems like the perfect target for sabotage. So count me out!

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