Of course there are factors like globalisation and outsourcing, but really it’s not that. Watch the video below. In a way it’s awesome, and in a way it’s a pretty scary view into the future.
So the question is: how long will it be until these things actually replace bartenders? Who needs to hire 5 staff on $40k a year plus super when you can just buy a few of these things?
The reality is that traditional “working class jobs” are disappearing because they aren’t needed, we have technology that can do what people used to do, but cheaper, faster and with less mistakes.
Also, a lot of work that used to be done for us is subtly being shifted over to us – as Craig Lambert pointed out in Sunday’s New York Times:
The conventional wisdom is that America has become a “service economy,” but actually, in many sectors, “service” is disappearing. There was a time when a gas station attendant would routinely fill your tank and even check your oil and clean your windshield and rear window without charge, then settle your bill. Today, all those jobs have been transferred to the customer: we pump our own gas, squeegee our own windshield, and pay our own bill by swiping a credit card. Where customers once received service from the service station, they now provide “self-service” — a synonym for “no service.” Technology enables this sleight of hand, which lets gas stations cut their payrolls, having co-opted their patrons into doing these jobs without pay.
Examples abound, helping drive unemployment rates. Airports now have self-service check-in kiosks that allow travelers to perform the jobs of ticket agents. Travel agents once unearthed, perused and compared fares, deals and hotel rates. Shadow-working travelers now do all of this themselves on their computer screens. Medical patients are now better informed than ever — as a result of hours of online shadow work. In 1998, the Internal Revenue Service estimated that taxpayers spent six billion hours per year on “tax compliance activities.” That’s serious shadow work, the equivalent of three million full-time jobs.
For more on this, there was quite an interesting debate a few weeks ago sparked by an article by CNN columnist Douglas Rushkoff called “Are jobs Obsolete?“. the Economist said no, they’re just changing, Phil Bowermaster thought that we just need to be more entrepreneurial and Arnold Kling took it further by arguing that the economy is compensating by adjusting itself to a state with less defined jobs and adding more people willing to do these.