My Thoughts for March 29, 2015   

What is happening to the world I once knew?  A few weeks ago I went into a restaurant for lunch and discovered a tablet on the table where I was seated.  It was taking the place of a waitperson.  Today I read in the news that Tesla Motors is planning on rolling out a driverless car.  The only thing holding up the planned roll out is the state, in this case California.  Apparently technology is moving so fast that the state’s insurance department can’t keep up. 

Michael Barry, vice-president of media relations for the insurance industry, said the auto insurance industry will adjust to the new cars and the new technology.  He believes that driverless cars will lead to fewer accidents.  Of course if a child runs out into the street will the driverless car be able to decide whether to sacrifice the child or its passengers by suddenly swerving away from the child.  But Barry thinks we are years away from the U.S. car market being dominated by driverless cars.  I don’t agree.  In the past, when a new idea has taken hold, it hasn’t taken long for the transition to take place.  Imagine, a highway full of cars with people reading, sleeping, or daydreaming. Gosh, a lot of them do that now.

But more importantly, what we’re really talking about here is robotics. Yes, robots.  If you look at the car manufacturing assembly lines you will see a bunch of robots working the lines.  These robots have replaced human workers.  Men and women who need jobs to feed their families; men and women who have bills to pay; men and women who have children to clothe and educate.  It’s sickening to think big corporation in their quest to make bigger profits are sacrificing the American worker.

And, if we have driverless cars, will that lead to driverless long-haul trucks.  Will tens of thousands of truck drivers suddenly be without job? What will these people do?  Where will they go?  How will they pay their bills?  You big boy employers need to think more than maximizing profits.  You need to reach out and help out the little guys. 

And, the restaurant industry, you guys better thinks about the reasons why people go out to eat.  People like to have a waitperson, someone that knows how to make a person relax and enjoy a well-cooked meal.  Even the fast-food restaurants need to thinks about how they present themselves to customers.  I enjoy ordering food from a person with a cheery disposition and an effective “Can I take your order?” More importantly, the restaurant industry provides for many young people their first attempt at a job.  It would be terrible to lose that to a bunch of robots.  Guess being an old curmudgeon I vote for humans, robots be damned.  A smart business can still make a nice profit and keep people working.

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