Sunday, March 25, 2018

Technology is good, Technology is disruptive

I was reading an article about a strike going on near the Pakistan-Afghan border for the last four days because new technology has been introduced to easily facilitate the customs procedures by involving computers. This would seem very efficient from one’s standpoint but the old system had involved various steps and with each step somebody livelihood was involved and now they felt threatened and were striking to abolish this introduction of computers which they felt had eliminated their need for so many steps and now all those steps were replaced by one of two people. If I was one of them, I would also feel threatened since I would not know what I would do when my skill set which would have become obsolete by the new technology introduced to reduce costs and time, which makes me, come to this post. I also wrote in my blog a few weeks ago regarding how the online hailing websites has supposedly forced one of the taxi drivers to commit suicide blaming it on the new technology being embraced by the city of New York.
Technology is good as long as it enhances the standard of living and it has done wonders for the many people around the globe but the darker part which people did not realize (I don’t understand how would they not) that it has disrupted the lives of people who were trained to do things a certain kind of way. For example see how one of the biggest online retailers is experimenting with grocery stores with no checkout counters and no employees where people will only use their app to scan their products and also add to their account and just stroll out of the stores without interaction with any employee and instead of employing maybe several people to man their cash counters, they would have only a few employees to restock their stores. I have seen and used these electronic counters in stores where you scan your items barcodes and they will show the price and then you scan your loyalty card and your credit card and you are done without getting any face to face interaction with stores cashiers. Another one is how driverless cars are being experimented with so that there will be no drivers behind the wheel (scarier than in other cases as lives are at stake). Robots are increasingly taking over some of the work that humans used to do in advance countries as the ageing population is being gradually replaced by robots wherever the companies can. Although technology has definitely made life easier for people but it has and will cause substantial unemployment among less educated people and the resultant resentment will not be good for the economies which are increasingly relying on technology to increase their productivity and gain competitive advantage against their rivals.

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