Dan

Years ago a friend told me that one day in the near future that technology would replace people’s jobs. My response was “yeah right” with sarcasm. Today I am rethinking my response.

I remember the day when a person would pump our gas, check the oil and clean the windshield. Today if you want that done you will do it yourself. Fuel pumps are now computerized so you can pay at the pump. No people are involved unless you’re paying with cash and that is quickly becoming obsolete.

My second job as a teenager was that of a bag boy at the local Piggly Wiggly where I would take customer’s groceries to their vehicles. Today you bag your own groceries, check yourself out, pay at a computer and take your groceries to your vehicle. Today’s newest concept is order your groceries online, drive to the store and pick them up.

A few weeks ago I drove to Kaufman to deliver a print job for one of our newsprint customers on a Saturday because the post office was closed the following Monday.

I decided to stop along the way for coffee to go. For fifteen minutes I waited at the restaurant counter for someone to take my order. Even though there were four people behind the counter not one of them acknowledged me.

Finally a gentleman and his wife walked in and wanted to know if I had been served. I replied that I hadn’t. He then said that we would probably have to order at the kiosk, a computer.

This chain of restaurants has replaced most of their counter employees with kiosks. Computer or no computer I decided I was not going to order at the kiosk and then go to the counter for a person to take my money. 

I just stood there for over fifteen minutes when the manager walked to the counter and asked if I needed something. I told him that I needed to place an order to go. He pointed to the kiosk and I replied that I was not going to use the kiosk. With hesitation the manager finally took my order and I left with coffee in hand. 

I have been to other restaurants where they have a computer device at your table for you to place your order. No person to take your order just a computer. One day a robot will walk out of the kitchen with order in hand.

A year and half ago I recall going to a lab facility near Houston for lab work. I was the first one inside the building when they unlocked the door. To my surprise there wasn’t one single human in the reception area to sign me in. On a stand in front of the window was a tablet (computer) with a sign that read “Please sign in here.”

It has been predicted that in a few years 50 percent of jobs will be replaced with automation or computers. Don’t get me wrong I love most technology. However, I don’t like the idea of technology replacing people, especially those of us that are dependent on our jobs for survival.

Banks now have ATM’s (Automatic Teller Machines), automation has replaced people in factories, kiosks located at restaurants and stores have replaced people. The newest technology that has replaced people is apps on mobile devices. In most cases it’s the only way you can place an order and receive a discount. 

Speaking of people, have you ever tried to talk to someone on the phone at any large company lately? Usually you never get the opportunity to talk to a person just a computerized voice asking you to choose from a list of many options that never includes talking to a person.

Well, I guess there is hope for some of us. There has to be a person to turn this technology on. But wait! Now that I think about it Alexa or Siri can do that. Technology may very well replace people’s jobs.

Dan Moore is editor and publisher of The Henderson News. His e-mail address is <publisher@thehendersonnews.com>.

© 2019, Henderson Newspapers Inc.

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