A cashier once told me: "Enjoy your meal."
And I said, "Thanks, you too."
It's one of those moments where your auto-pilot brain takes over and you just list the the familiar phrases: Hi how are you, good thanks, have a nice day, see you later.
"Enjoy your meal." "Thanks you too oh nooooooo..."
I felt dumb for a little bit. It's a common mistake. It won't ruin my life. For others, it's a majorly embarrassing event.
I'm sure when people heard that Amazon opened a store without any cashiers, they jumped for joy.
No awkward encounters! No weird small talk while someone bags your groceries! No more exchanges of "I'm sorry we don't take checks here!" No more lines. No more holdups at checkout. No surly teenagers. Simple, easy, convenient, right?
Now, ask yourself this:
How many people does your local grocer employ? How many people work at the big Walmart in your city? What about at the Costco? Or at your favorite clothing brand? Or literally any store? The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that 3,424,200 people worked as cashiers in 2014. Half of them were 24 years old or younger.
What if many of those jobs vanished? Replaced by sensors, cameras, and RFID tags?
Amazon Go isn't the future. It's now - the Seattle location will open early next year - and we have to think about what automation is going to do to more and more jobs.
And it's not just one store. This store is one of maybe 2000 locations. Imagine how many people could have been hired by 2000 grocery stores, but now won't be due to automation?
This kind of automation is not just inevitable, but it is happening right now.
Cashiers are already being replaced by self-checkout kiosks. "How may I take your order?" has been replaced with menus on iPads. Self-driving cars and trucks. Automated production lines.
In five, ten years time, people won't be hired for the same jobs that we have today; not because they don't have the skills, but because these jobs have been taken by "computer learning, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion." It doesn't matter how smart, friendly, or skilled a worker is. Their job has been replaced.
People won't earn 15 dollars an hour if companies have replaced them with technology.
Want to utterly ruin your outlook on future job prospects? Check out this video below to really stoke your fear of the future: