Technology makes life easier. It lets us do more with less. But as sure as Angry Birds will divebomb pigs, technology is also always putting someone, somewhere, out of work. On my last camping vacation we stopped at a local Wal-Mart super store, to replenish our food supply. After 2 minutes online waiting for the cashier my wife says "lets go to the self serve check out line!". We were next and it was clear that the cashier was done with the customer in-front of us - so my reply was "Let's not, and lets help insure that wal-Mart employees keep their jobs". This caused the cashier to smile, I mean a large smile and she said "Thank you sir".
Technology is great, I love technology. But sadly, technology is also having a adverse effect on the economy.
Are they 'Terminating' your job?
Lots of Americans worry about workers in developing countries taking U.S. jobs. And that fear is hardly unfounded.
But as we suffer through a sluggish job market, we shouldn't forget the threats to our jobs found closer to home. Because the reasons some jobs are disappearing include your smartphone, your Kindle and a host of other cool gadgets.
One cool current technology being produced is the Google car. We've all dreamed of it - a car that drives itself.
The Google car
Google has thoroughly tested a "self-driving" car that employs a combination of lasers, software, cameras and other sensors to safely navigate highways in California. It's not science fiction anymore.
The Google car won't put parents out of work, but it will reduce the burden of one of their main tasks -- driving the kids around for activities. Over time, the system could reduce demand for truckers, cab drivers and construction equipment operators, or lower the skill set required for those jobs -- along with the pay.
12 Machines that want your job
Can you be Replaced
I remember when I was a bank teller in Green Point Brooklyn New York, I did not love my job. But when Banks started forcing customers to use ATM's by charging them a fee to use a "Human" bank teller inside the Bank - I knew the goal was to cut jobs. It was just obviouse to me. You can not even call the bank today and get a live person - you spend your first 10 to 20 minutes on the phone responding to an automated machine. And the sad part, when you do get a living breathing human being, they ask you the same darn questions the automated machine just asked you.
All these toys are great, but at what cost? My wife wants an E-reader, why? What is wrong with having a physical book? Not only do I fear the abuse of technology [ with out physical records real factual history can be changed "online" and know one would know it. ], but I also fear that our love for everything that is "tech" blinds us to the fact that we are part of the reason our fellow man lost his job, and ignorant to the possibility that you and I may be next.
Technology: the price we pay for job distruction
Economists tell us it will all work out in the end; it's part of the "creative destruction" of capitalism. They mean that technology creates more jobs than it destroys and helps everyone by making things easier.
But not so fast. Technology is creeping up the pay scale. While technologies of the past usually displaced mostly jobs that were dull, dirty and dangerous, machines are now mastering skills that used to be uniquely human. We're not far away from machines that can replace drivers, pilots and soldiers; handle the varied communications tasks performed by secretaries, customer-service workers and language translators; and even diagnose ills the way an M.D. might.
"What I'm worried about is the destruction of jobs where humans used to have an advantage," says Andrew McAfee, co-author of a book, "Race Against the Machine," that describes what's in store.
Because of the way technology picks up speed over time, this mechanized romp through our workplaces is only going to snowball. "There's going to be a lot of turbulence," predicts McAfee, an MIT professor who says he's no tech-hating Luddite. "New jobs will be created. But I am less confident that the creation is going to stay ahead of the destruction."
So no, the machines aren't coming to get us like those in "The Terminator" movies. But they are being built to replace us at work.