Comments about ‘Why the rise of smart machines could terminate jobs’

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Published: Wednesday, March 12 2014 12:30 p.m. MDT

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Bluffdale, UT

We heard all this before with fast-food restaurants eliminating table service and VCR's eliminating movie theaters.

Dr. Thom
Long Beach, CA

Said the man who made buggy whips

Salt Lake City, Utah

If anyone loses a job to a computer I know a lot of automated answering machines that need to be replaced by (intelligent) humans.

Eagle Mountain, UT

Evolve or perish.

Moab, UT

There is nothing new here. It started when man invented the wheel.

Layton, 00

No, Dave! We're supposed to get all worked up about technology advances! The new is evil! ;)

Heaven help us if we start seeing illegal robots crossing the border to take our jobs. I really dislike being forced to learn new skills in order to be marketable.


Cottonwood Heights, UT

It doesn't help when companies are forced to increase minimum wages. At some point why not use technology instead of humans?

Brigham City, UT

Many would argue with me, but hypothetically as a "prosumer" who handles checkout and ordering additional items in this Chili's scenario, I should be able to reduce my tip by the amount of work I am now doing for the server. Automate ordering (and even seating) altogether, have one or two host/CSRs that handle issues, eliminate tipping, and I will eat out MUCH more often. A tablet would do a better job of taking my order correctly anyway.

Seldom Seen Smith
Orcutt, CA

I don't go to a restaurant to play with video screens. Modern society has an unhealthy addiction/dependence with video screens. People need to get a life. I don't own a cell/smart phone, don't subscribe to cable or satellite TV. Lest you think I'm a Luddite, I have 25+ years experience in various I.T. occupations (e.g., software engineer, database engineer, cybersecurity specialist). A majority of people have an almost cult like faith in digital technology, a magical elixir that can solve almost any conceivable problem. A healthy dose of skepticism is in order.

Salt Lake City, UT

Read "Economics in One Lesson" (book by Henry Hazlitt).

The evil of technology argument is mostly crazy. Lower labor costs for a given product, due to improved technology, reduce prices for those goods , thus increasing spending power of consumer, and in practice, increasing their wages. This is THE main driver of the economy and our raising standard of living, especially over the past two centuries.

Evil? It may increase income inequalities.
Good? It does increase practical income for all.

Evil? It may force the labor force to educate themselves.
Good? It may force the labor force to educate themselves.

Salt Lake City, UT

One more cost/benefit:

Evil? Destroys jobs.
Good? Creates other jobs.

Somehow, the money is going to be spent, it just changes the location/person. Instead of hiring/paying servers, we hire/pay engineers on the front end. And, as a company benefits from the decreased cost it either 1) makes more money and spends it on something other than paying servers (making jobs elsewhere) or 2) reduces the cost of its products to reduce their profit (usually only will happen when all companies in the same industry employ the same labor saving devices), in which case, the consumer saves and can spend more money(making jobs elsewhere).

As Henry Hazlitt, author of Economics in One Lesson would say, we have to look beyond what we immediately see to understand the whole truth, instead of just half of it.

West Jordan, UT

Seriously? This is the theme of Frankenstein's monster. Jobs are replaced every year by technological advances, and they have been since cavemen found you could dig for roots faster with a rock than with your hands. I've been a computer programmer for decades and every year someone writes that my job will be replaced by a machine. Guess what, I replace my job by getting new tools and writing my own tools every day. And the next day I have a new more interesting job. If you are worried about loosing your job to a machine, you really do not have a job worth doing. If you think a clerk's job at a grocery store is totaling the price of groceries bought and collecting money, you may loose your job. If you recognize that being a clerk at a grocery store is about being pleasant and helping customers and not necessarily standing at a cash register you will always be employed.

American Fork, UT

And all of my programmer and engineer friends have more job opportunities making these machines work and maintaining them. The jobs just shift around, I would say flexibility in the workforce and in your knowledge set is one of the more valuable skills you can have these days.

Passaic, NJ

this will make marketing people giddy with delight, now they can exploit their target consumers at will. expect sugar related health problems to skyrocket! this reminds me of Homer Simpson, dreaming of donuts, "Mmmmmmmmmmmm, doughnuts!"

Bountiful, UT

I went to Peru a month ago to see Machu Picchu, and the employment contrast was very interesting. All along the way, many Peruvians were employed to assist tourists in their journey, and it was evident they took great pride in their work, were happy people, and had an air of confidence about today...and their prospects for tomorrow.

If Machu Picchu was in the US, there wouldn't have been dirt roads that bus drivers and tour guides patiently & professionally guide their guests on. There would have been a monorail or some sort of automated tram, and automated recordings to inform tourists about Machu Picchu at each step of the tour, with maybe 1/20th the employment.

Upper middle class Peruvians have a housekeeper, a driver, and a doorman to their building, all very cheerful and essentially extended parts of their families.

There's a lot in Peru that is not desirable, certainly, but the connectedness between people who depend on each other was striking. It's what America probably used to be like.

We go to automated car washes, check ourselves out at the store, get gas without having to deal with people.

Is this progress?

Sandy, UT

I wouldn't bother going to a full service restaurant if I had to use an ipad to order food or make request. What's next pay $15 to cook my own steak?

Wally West

Hello, Skynet!?

Hank Pym

to NoBoxScot

But, seriously... Just go to a call center. There are robots who could do that minus smoke breaks & lunch.

Provo, UT

The promoters of "unlimited free markets" should love this. Get rid of those pesky, lazy, stupid people. After all, only the owners and ceos of industry count. They are the only ones that work. "Evolve or die," they say. I strongly suspect one day they too will be replaced by machines. Assuming total chaos doesn't happen first. I saw a couple of techie gurus on 60 minutes last year saying that by the time our grandchildren are adults, what we call work will mostly be a thing of the past. "What will people do," the reporter asked? "Well," they said, "that the $64,000 question."

In, UT

Bookkeepers and accountants raised the alarm in the 1950s, yet accounting is still one of the hottest and most stable careers today. Office workers raised the alarm in the 1980s, yet hundreds of thousands of software engineering and network administration jobs, well paid professional positions, have been created because of technology. I guess being a Luddite is still a good route too though. Sigh.

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