Rise of the Machines

Rise of the MachinesSeveral weeks back I was in my local post office and noticed staff ‘training’ customers to use their self service kiosk that had recently been built into the shop following a recent refit. A lady, who was learning and there before me (I went in the usual human service line), finished up about the same time as I and thanked the staff member for making it a trouble free and much faster (?) process than waiting in line to be served. I recall going home, mentioning it to the other half and stating that the ‘trainer’ working there was ultimately working themselves out of a job.

Some time over the weekend been, I caught a interview on the radio about our postal service going through restructuring. They highlighted these new kiosks, as well as discussing that local city deliveries would be cut down to three days a week to ultimately save money (well, lets be honest, AND make a profit). As a result, yesterdays newspaper reported a looming 2000 staff reduction in the coming years for NZ Post.

In a similar story, not so long ago, I recall a local manufacturing company reporting they were moving overseas. Usually this is for cheaper Asian market labour, but in this case it was cheaper automated manufacturing.

If I think about it long enough, this really does concern me.

As someone who’s job is based around technology, and a fair deal of hobby interest also, I find advances in technology fascinating. At the same time, depending on the advances, I also wonder ‘at what expense?’

We live in an age where profits and cost cutting rule. If a machine can do away with 20 staff on a production line, and work 24 hours without a break it makes logical sense that that business will run more efficiently. But what about the people?

My old role at my organisation saw me assisting people to find and keep work. A number of those I assisted came from either fairly manual task driven jobs, or had little work and education experience. In the 7 1/2 years I was in that role, economy woes aside, I saw a fair sized reduction in jobs they could enter and work in. One persons answer for people like those I assisted was ‘up-skill’, ‘go back to school’. Its not always a viable answer for everyone…

Im not sure where its all taking us. We wont drop our technological changes in industry. Back in the day ‘they’ said technology and computerisation would mean we can all have a better work/life balance. Reality is, in some fields of work, its meant we can have less people and pay less salaries. Work/Life balance is arguably worse than its been before…


On a lighter side, I mentioned last week about Gimp not working in OSX 10.9. I mentioned reinstalling on my laptop, which worked a treat. My initial try on my desktop did not however. What I found is one of the releases from the Gimp site works, and the other does not. For anyone on 10.9, I recommend you use the 10.8 version from HERE 

Todays shot, taken on the iPod and processed in Gimp is of (if Im not mistaken) Autobot Swerve. I wonder if Cybertron ever had growing world unemployment?



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