Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Jobless Future...March On.

   Some time ago, I had a terrible thought. When I first witnessed the automated cashier in the supermarket, I wondered how many jobs it had cost to implement the device. In my local store, there were three such of which had clearly replaced a register were a person had been. I started thinking of the calculations the corporate executives had made in saving some overhead of the company by replacing humans with machines. As it turned out, the automated cashier’s were just passing through...since they hardly ever worked correctly and no matter how simplistic they were, some people just couldn’t operate it. I thought we had dodged the bullet of technology aimed at the human workforce...but I was wrong.
   Technology is a wonderful thing. It makes our lives easier and overall convenience to have. However, there are some instances where technology can be costly...especially to the person being replaced by a machine, or out of work because technology has made their industry obsolete. I’m a keen observer...of just about everything, and what I have observed lately is a mixed bag. Stepping into the future is leaving some people behind.
   I wrote earlier about the great strides and stunning changes that have occurred in my lifetime thus far in “Then, Now and Far Beyond.” I made some very interesting observations...and now I must add to that, but it isn’t good news for some.
   Direct video streaming and electronic reading has had a direct impact in those respective markets. Getting instant video streaming of your favorite movies is putting the neighborhood video store out of business...and eliminating the jobs of everyone that works there. In the case of a franchise like Blockbusters, that picture is exacerbated. Even sending movies directly to your mailbox can’t compete with it coming right into your computer. Technology is marching forward...while some are marching into the job search market.
   Reading a book isn’t what it used to be...and doesn’t look to be so ever again. Bad news for me as I write my third...but I’ll just have to step up and learn the electronic market. Bad news also for the local book store...and surprisingly worse news for the bookstore franchise. My local Borders has just closed it’s doors for good...and technology isn’t blameless. With Kindle and other electronic reading devices exploding on the scene, was there ever a chance for the old fashioned book? March on technology...march on.
   Truly, I’m surprised the U.S Postal system hasn’t taken a bigger hit...since I haven’t received a real letter from a real person, seeking to convey information to me, in years. Email replaced “snail mail” and with instant messaging and texting, I’m shocked they even make pen and paper anymore...cause I don’t know anyone that uses them with the intent of sending a thought through the mail. How many jobs will be lost when this aspect of technology finishes marching...?
   The advances in technology that we are making are wonderful...if all they do is enhance your life. Those same advances are terrible, if they set back your livelihood. It’s a sad fact that technology is forcing many people into a jobless future. With no easy answers, all we can march on.


  1. My wife works at our local public library. A few years ago, they installed three self-check out machines. Because of these three machines, the number of clerks has been reduced in half. That means five jobs that a human being could have filled have been eliminated. Does not portend a bright future for the working class here in America.

    1. Yes...the working class is a shrinking sector, replaced by the convenience of the uncaring.