“Catawba Pottery is the oldest Native pottery tradition east of the Mississippi River that’s been produced continuously throughout time,” Catawba Potter Keith “Little Bear”...
Are We Ready for the Future?
In a lot of ways, the world is moving way too fast for me. It’s the little things that make me take notice of this changing world. For example, on a recent trip to a big box store (you know, the biggie of the big box stores) I actually found myself voluntarily checking myself out and bagging my own items.
It wasn’t because I wanted to. It’s just that convenience overrode my need to stick to my old ways of doing things. And a check-out with an actual human being to do the job was so far away, it would have taken me more time and effort to walk to it, that I decided to bite the bullet.
This wasn’t the first time I’d checked myself out, but this was the first time I had more than one or two items. There were other complications too. I had produce that needed to be weighed and I had a sale item that didn’t have a bar code. For those two items I needed help from the lady standing by to guide novices through the process. But even with those two glitches, it turned out to be more convenient and definitely faster. I was proud of myself for actually doing something that was out of my comfort zone.
Still, I realized that my taking on the challenge of self check-out was part of a much bigger reality; a rapidly changing work world that will leave too many unprepared.
On my drive into work every morning, I turn on NPR. This morning, one of the stories was about robot-proof jobs. The reporter is traveling around the country looking for jobs that robots cannot do, jobs only people can do. As I listened, I thought about all of the under-educated and unprepared people whose jobs will be overtaken by technology and robots. I thought about the cashier at the big box store pushed out of a job because of people like me who are finally succumbing to “progress” for the sake of convenience and time.