Saturday, July 2, 2016

Day 2392

Sign of the times. When I went to the bank this morning, I noticed that they had replaced some of the teller windows with ATM machines. There was only one teller working and everybody was lined up to see her. Nobody was using the automated machines, even though there was a video running in the lobby explaining how cool they were. A woman ahead of me in line told the other customers that she never used ATM machines because she was afraid of getting mugged. You could almost see the one overworked teller roll his eyes. I know he wanted to say "Lady, why do you think we moved these machines inside the bank." I knew the real reason had nothing to do with safety. Companies will do virtually anything to avoid hiring people these days. They'd replace everyone with a robot if they could get away with it.

Companies are training us to make our transactions without human intervention. I almost never talk to a receptionist when I make a business call. The phone system is automated. Heaven help you if you actually need to talk with a real person. My grocery store uses an automated checkout system. You scan the items yourself, put your credit card into the machine, and you're on your way. There is even a local restaurant that is experimenting with replacing waiters with touch screen terminals at each table. This is the future. When I hear politicians talks about creating jobs, I want to laugh. Where are these jobs going to come from? Factory floors are automated and use robots to assemble things. Customer service is becoming automated. Cars are learning to drive themselves. If this is happening today, just think what the world is going to be like forty years from now. You may have a job now, but it's going away.

One of the things I dislike the most about an automated world is the concept of auto-renewal. If you ever subscribe to anything on the Internet, you will keep getting charged for it forever unless you make a Herculean effort to remove yourself from the company's database. Netflix, Hulu, Angie's List, domain name registries, software subscriptions, tolltags for your car, and other services too numerous to name will keep renewing you automatically, once they've gotten your credit card number. There's usually something buried away in the fine print about how to cancel your subscription, but who reads the fine print. I thought I had canceled my subscription to Angie's List two years ago, but I keep getting auto-renewal notices. It's frustrating. I'll have to call an automated phone system on Tuesday and express my displeasure.

I'm glad that I mowed the grass yesterday. It was even hotter today. Almost every Summer I wonder why I ever moved here from Seattle. Temperatures were so mild in Seattle that I could easily forgive the continual rain. Hey, that was over thirty years ago though. I can't remember why I did anything thirty years ago. Since we can't magically transport ourselves to Colorado or Seattle, we do the best we can to deal with the heat. We walk the dogs very early now. It's interesting to watch how plants and animals react to dawn. Birds start singing well before sunrise. Some flowers close their petals when the sun hits them, and others open. There is a patch of Bindweed on our way home that is almost as accurate as a light meter. If we're early and it's still dark, the petals are closed. If we're late and the sun is getting hot, the petals close again. Today, we walked by at exactly the right time.

Bud is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day