Retailers and restaurants across the country are jumping on the bandwagon—the automation bandwagon. Chances are, you may have noticed an influx of self check-outs that are easily outfitted to complete your transaction. That unsurprisingly, is the line with the permanent direction of the future and it is nothing new.
Automation launched the textile and other industries into mass production during the Industrial Revolution. Some of the most notable inventions during that time were the cotton gin, steam engine and telephone. These inventions notably powered society in the past and new and improved versions of this technology still do today.
Large factories still use machines to do a lot of the brunt work of making products that assist daily life. By now, we have become accustomed to using technology to assist us in doing things like pumping gas and calculating change. Many people are thankful for these machines because it saves time, money and keeps us moving everyday.
The same efficiency sentiment has carried through with the introduction of these automated machines. Self check-out and ordering machines have replaced face to face interactions in the name of saving money. In a recent article by Forbes, the new uptick in automation for Mcdonald’s is accredited to companies now meeting the demands of a higher minimum wage.
While some consumers may appreciate the novelty or added convenience, the conveniences come at the cost of entry-level jobs…This trend is nothing new. Chains have responded to rising labor costs and technological advancement accordingly and McDonald’s has been leading the way as a pioneer in productivity among employees, concepts, and machines.
However, with labor costs continuing to skyrocket, it’s inevitable that restaurants and other fast food chains will continuously search for ways to reduce labor costs–particularly as customers get comfortable with new technology.
It is a surprise that this hasn’t happened sooner. Companies of all industries are looking for ways to increase their bottom line—cheaply. Technology has continued to be the answer to that problem. Requiring that customers actually meet with another live person is a courtesy not a necessity. Calling a bank and having to get through the initial pleasant voiced robot, will probably be permanent once voice recognition software has been perfected.
People will eventually need to assert their skills elsewhere, as those who found their jobs taken away in the past did. There is money to be made everywhere and in any evolving industry. Until machines have completely infiltrated society, a living brain is still paramount for them to function.