The Future of Jobs is Nothing New

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.

 

 

Daily Inspiration: Women in Finance

Lauren Simmons is surpassing expectations at just 23 years old. She is currently the only female floor broker at the New York Stock Exchange.

In today’s video she talks about her journey and the empowerment she feels by accomplishing this goal. She is an inspiration to girls looking to find their place in STEM fields.

Digital Marketing Has Changed the Way People Internalize Ads

Advertisements are everywhere—on tv, in movies and in print. Companies have found new ways to market their products using technology. Mostly to their benefit and not the consumers. Photoshop showed society that too much of a good thing definitely exists.

Perfection gleamed across pages and screens so much so, that magazines had to admit that their models were heavily airbrushed(edited). Although, some of these ads were frowned upon, the culture of perfection intensified.

Recently, a model named, Shudu, made waves across Instagram. People seemed to be enthralled with her beauty and amazed at her hyper realistic features. Why? Ironically enough, because she’s not real. She was created with a computer program, making her the first digital model that we can openly identify.

The fashion and beauty industry is known for breeding perfectionism within itself; the growth of advertising and social media has greatly increased its influence. Ads are a symbol of what society deems beautiful, worthy and acceptable.

Self-esteem is directly correlated to how one sees themselves in the world. When young people and adults are constantly viewing ads, it is common to project what is being marketed inward. Suddenly it isn’t just about the shade of lipstick or the shirt with the logo on the model.

The consumer sees the features of the model: glowing perfect skin, white porcelain teeth, those long flowing locks and  perfectly sculpted abs. Internalization is the unintended symptom for the consumer. Companies are counting on the individual viewing the ad wanting to emulate what they see.

Dove’s Real Beauty campaign in 2004 was aiming to counter act the photoshop dilemma in magazines. The sentiment was nice in that they focused on how real women look. They were striving to give a face to the regular mom, sister, and overworked teacher.

The ‘real beauty’ campaign still exists today for Dove and other companies, but it will forever remain the step-child of regular ads that find no fault in the perfectionists game. Artificial intelligence is sure to advance this culture and society will have to stay vigilant in reminding itself that not everything in magazines and sponsored pages is real—its just marketing.

Daily Inspiration: Get Outside and Enjoy Nature

How many hours of your life do you spend indoors? For many people it is almost all of it.

Today’s video was created by The Velux Group, a company that manufactures skylights. In this video (which reads almost like a commercial) the narrator explains the transitions we have made from nature to an indoor environment.

The downsides of living a life within walls include sickness and depression. Centuries of technological advancement afford us the luxury of remaining indoors, but we should also remember that a world exists out there. Get outside.

Daily Inspiration: The Advancement of Animation

Walt Disney was a very successful entrepreneur, animator and film producer. His name might ring a bell. His company has produced very popular animated films and Walt Disney theme parks.

Digital technology is the cornerstone of Disney’s success. The animated films produced by Walt Disney Studios are widely known throughout the world and have been reimagined several times as the technology becomes more advanced.

In this video Disney describes what the multiplane camera is and how it made animated films more realistic. The development of this idea helped make animation into what it is today.

Daily Inspiration: Virtual Reality Helps Couple Relive Past Experiences

Nathan Windsor has worked for over a decade doing music therapy for nursing homes. He recently decided to start incorporating virtual reality recapture happy moments.

The couple featured in this video are in their 90s and have been married over 60 years. During those years they traveled frequently, harboring souvenirs from their adventures.

Due to age and limited mobility, they are no longer able to travel. Nathan presents them with virtual reality to go back to their most precious memories.

Microchip for Chips

Technology is rapidly expanding and becoming more innovative in the name of convenience. Subsequently, we are adapting to this way of life and enjoying the instantaneous results. One piece of equipment can make life so easy, that people are considering injecting themselves with it. The microchip may be the next step in advancements of the future.

The microchip is no stranger. We use them every day without a second thought, or knowing what they are. Wisegeek provides a simple definition:

A microchip is a small semiconductor used to relay information via specific electrical characteristics. In some cases, the term can be used interchangeably with integrated circuit. The microchip is at the heart of many electronics, including computers, cell phones and even microwave ovens.

The thought of using a microchip in these products does not raise eyebrows, but implanting it under the skin does. Employers and even transportation systems consider microchips an easy and fast way to store valuable information for people on the go.

A vending machine company in Wisconsin introduced microchipping as a way to complete activities such as, entering the building to buying snacks for lunch. Fifty employees were willing to receive the chip to try out the technology while others were a bit apprehensive.

Health and privacy are among the number one concerns for those opposed to being implanted. These same concerns do not stop most people from using cell phones, computers or credit cards. They also, are tracking our movements and collecting data on the individual it is associated with.

Companies will surely become more willing to embrace and promote the education behind this technology; the fear of this invasive measure will likely dissipate. Society’s  need for instant gratification will continue to grow, ushering in new advances that will be amazing albeit terrifying.  Ultimately, leaving one to wonder, how far are you willing to go for convenience?

Facebook: For Better or For Worse?

If you were born in the last century- you have heard of Facebook. The social media site has become a staple of daily life. With the amount of users climbing over one billion worldwide, it is safe to say it is wildly popular. Popularity though, has its drawbacks.

Former Facebook founder, Chamath Palihapitiya, isn’t necessarily proud of his achievements at the company. As reported by  The Verge, Palihapitiya voices his growing concern with the direction of social interactions on the platform.

“I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” he told an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business, before recommending people take a “hard break” from social media.

Palihapitiya’s criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”

Facebook was founded in 2004 and initially garnered attention from college students. To sign up you needed a college email and you were able to network with other students from your school or others. Eventually, this platform was opened to everyone and was a place to stay in touch with loved ones to share pictures and silly statuses about mundane aspects of life.

Fast-forward over a decade later, and social media has centered itself  around the success of Facebook. The growing popularity, grabbed the attention of companies looking to jump on the this new technological tether. Ad’s are tailored to our preferences and news from around the world is available at our finger tips 24/7. Sounds great, right?

In theory this type of ‘social’ interaction is amazing. In reality, it has fed into the egos, insecurities and the dark side of its user-base. Instant feedback has driven many people to portray themselves to be living an envious life. The quest of perfection has also altered the perspectives of the youth on what is real and attainable in life, off screen.

Users also hide behind a degree of anonymity to spread negativity. Comment sections of highly viewed posts are often a graveyard for positivity. Trolling and bullying has gotten so out of hand on social media that it has been attributed to the decline of mental health among young people.  But- big changes are coming.

Shortly after Palihapitiya highlighted the damaging effects of using the platform, a conversation started. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder, has offered up a good faith measure. He said that the company would re-prioritize algorithms to focus on making more meaningful connections for users.

This change may bring back a sense of ‘community’ to the social media empire. Many of the negatives aspects aren’t likely to completely disappear; it is encouraging that Facebook is willing to start somewhere, to make the internet civil again.

Has Society Evolved into New York City?

New York City isn’t known to be the place to go when you are looking to give out brownie points for hospitality. Tourists and locals alike will tell you that people who inhabit this city carry a bit of an edge. An edge that seems to be more obnoxious and pushy than most people would come to like. New York has come to terms with its reputation and invited people to come take on its bustling city in all of its nice and not so nice glory. But what if the reputation that has long surrounded New Yorker’s was long ahead of its time? What if it was a precursor for the mentality that all of us would soon develop?

When you think of this or any major city, what comes to mind? Fast moving, bustling and sleeplessness are a few things and rightfully so. In a place where you would attribute these words, it would be expected to house a certain type of person- impatient, insensitive, moody, unappreciative (ie: a person lacking good sense and common courtesy). Do these characteristics sounds familiar? It may be possible that you have started to see them a little closer to home because these traits are beginning to seem reflective of the general population.

In the world of technology we have each created our own personal hubs of bustling city life no matter where we reside. While I don’t have any significant statistics, it is safe to say that the majority of the population has staked its claim in the information age. The average person probably owns a cell phone, computer, notebook and maybe even a smart watch. All that to keep them focused on twenty-four hour news cycles, instantaneous status updates and answers to all of life’s looming questions in a New York minute. One can get accustomed to this life of conveniences and hast. The more plugged in we are to our technological devices the less connected we are to humanity.

New and modern advances in technology is definitely the best thing to happen to us since the first showing of indoor plumbing. People have access to and can do things that the thought of would have hailed you a witch barely 100 years ago. However, everything has a price. Those traits that used to only be associated with pesky New Yorker’s are popping up far and in between as people become less patient, sensitive, and appreciative. On the backside of this tremendous benefit, a ‘me, me, me’ subculture has arisen only to demand more of our thoughts but less of our manners. Needless to say, when we disconnect long enough to encounter it, it serves as a reminder that even though we love to be plugged in, a lesson from Mary Poppins could do us all a little good now and then.