Aug 20 2016
Welcome to our regular Saturday feature “What Aggravates Me”
Within the next few weeks. Uber plans to start using self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh. They just need to work out a few things. Like getting it to slow down to thirty when going through a tunnel.
So the future is here. Cars that drive themselves will be everywhere within a few years. For those of you that think it will be great to be able to play on your phone or sleep as you drive to work…Yeah, like you don’t already do that. You have to look at the other side. In Uber’s case, you eliminate jobs.
Now nobody is getting rich driving for Uber but I don’t think people are doing it as a hobby. They’re doing it because they need the income.
Uber is also working on self-driving tractor trailers. Truck drivers can make a decent living. Well, at least they can for now. So we have two candidates promising to bring back high paying jobs to this country. At the same time, corporations are replacing the jobs that can’t be sent out of the country with technology. You are no longer needed.
It’s not just Uber. My wife and I went out to dinner at one of those chain restaurants recently. You know the type. Where they have four crappy places sharing one area. Then at the end of the night all of the money goes down the same chute to the same corporation.
When we sat down I noticed a tablet on the table. It had menus for food and drinks but I didn’t want to be pushy. I would give the waiter or waitress the opportunity to come over to the table before I started to put in an order. Then the waiter came over and explained that was exactly what we were supposed to do. After we put in our order he would bring it over to our table.
This means he is no longer a waiter but a bringer. I don’t know why we even needed him. I could’ve gotten my drinks a lot faster if I had gone over and picked them up myself. I wouldn’t have had to wait for him to finish with his texting. The only reason this guy has a job is because for now he’s cheaper than the machine that will eventually replace him. By the end of next year, you’ll be sitting in a restaurant asking,
“Where’s our robot with those drinks?”
It will be frustrating for us at first as we learn to deal with machines doing the job of a person. But we’ll get used to it, the same way we got used to calling India when our cable goes out.
I went into a Subway in Virginia recently. It was around five o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. There were two women in front of me. The first one was ordering. The girl behind the counter was explaining that they only had Italian bread at this point. There were only two rolls left in the case. This woman took one of them.
I stayed in line with the hope that the woman in front of me might order a salad or needed directions. She ordered a sandwich on wheat. Now, I was behind her in the line. I had caught the explanation there was only one type of bread. I could also see in the case there was only one loaf left. This woman just couldn’t comprehend it.
After some discussion she ordered and the girl waiting on her grabbed the last of the bread. I interrupted,
“Excuse me, before I stand here and wait, was that the last bread?”
She was a tiny blonde girl with glasses and a dumb smile.
“Yes, but we’re making more.”
I could see the bread that was baking was still in its early embryo state. It would be a while before it was ready.
“But you’re Subway, you make sandwiches. Bread is the main thing you need. How could you run out?”
She just gave me a dumb smile.
“Who’s the manager?”
The dumb smile she gave me again let me know that it was her. Somewhere along the chain of command, somebody had decided she was best qualified for this job.
Now I am totally against taking a person’s job and replacing them with a machine. But, I can’t help but think a machine would have made the decision to bake more bread long before there were only two left.
You can’t fight the future I suppose. We’re not there all the way yet. Uber will still have somebody behind the steering wheel in case of any problems. If you get in and that person happens to be a little blonde with glasses and a dumb smile, I would get out and walk. You know, before you run out of gas.
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