Saturday, December 31, 2011

Automaton supermarkets

A propos of my previous post, another area ripe for automation is the humble supermarket. We have all seen and used the little automatons that accept our notes into their metal mouths, and the process will continue. Cheap labour may for a time have halted the slide toward automatons, but with falling revenues and rising competition, I forsee a greater emphasis on clockwork and clanging.

Look at this post by Andrew McAfee to see how these smiling soldiers are displacing a goodly portion of the working population. The supermarket in question dispensed entirely with human cashiers. The lone shopper no longer has the option of lugging his trolley up to the till to exchange with a living organism.

My wizards moncole sees in the haze a long and snaking conveyor belt, onto which products are placed and even sorted into carriable bags, and the only human component is the portly engineer who visits twice weekly, and the vague form into whose electronic pocket your numbercash is filtered...

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