Robots are taking away our jobs!!

United States
October 6, 2012 9:12am CST
I remember when I was a kid, and technology wasn't nearly as advanced as it is today (I grew up in the 80's), everyone was worried that one day all the jobs would be replaced by robots or computers. It may have been because machines started taking over many factory jobs back at that time, putting people out of work, though I'm not sure, it's just a guess. Well it seems to me those worries were right! This past week in my medical office systems class we discussed technology in the reception area. One new advance that many medical offices are already using is a self-service kiosk that patients can use to check themselves in and update their insurance information. So now with this new kiosk there is fewer need for medical receptionists. This is not a new concern for me, I've already been dealing with these types of feelings for a year now. I'm currently a bank teller, however ATMs have made bank teller jobs almost obsolete! And the worst part is that I am REQUIRED by my job to explain to each and every customer who comes in how they can do their transaction more "conveniently" by using their cell phone, home computer, or ATM! I'm basically giving them even more reasons not to let me have a job! They say it's for the convenience of the customer, and I do understand. As a person who often needs cash on the weekends when the bank is closed, I appreciate being able to use an ATM, or pay my bills online since I'm using working during the times most offices are open so without online banking it would be difficult to pay my bills. I also appreciate being able to see my balance from anywhere using my cellphone. I work with a few girls who've been at our particular bank for 25 years or more. They were telling us a few days ago how way back in the day there used to be more teller windows than there are now.. the entire lobby had windows lining every wall. One section was specifically for savings bonds, another specifically for cashier's checks and money orders. Another specifically for savings, and another specifically for checking. Each teller only needed to know about one particular product. Today we literally have 4.5 tellers in my bank to run both the bank and the drive thru (I say 4.5 because one is really a seller but can work as a teller if needed). 3 of these tellers are part-time employees (2 are 20 hours and 1 is 30 hours). The other is actually a teller supervisor who isn't technically supposed to work with the customers but instead help the tellers, run the vault (sell us money if our drawer is short, etc), do the scheduling, coach us when we've done something wrong.. that sort of stuff. Today each teller needs to know every aspect and product of the baking center. We cash savings bonds (but don't sell them anymore as the government wants people to buy them online through the government website instead of at banks), sell cashier's checks and money orders, exchange foreign currency, as well as the typical deposits and withdrawals for both checking and savings. Basically this change is due to the fact that technology has made our banking center a lot slower than it was before the age of ATMs and computers and smart phones. I wonder if there will be a day when tellers are completely unneeded? Or medical receptionists. I wonder what I'll do then? Perhaps I should have gone to school to create, maintain, and repair computers and machines as that seems to be the only job that isn't going to be replaced by other computers or machines. Have you ever had a job that was threatened to be replaced by computers or machines?
4 people like this
9 responses
@laglen (19782)
• United States
6 Oct 12
Our grocery store more often than not only has the self check outs available my job (bartender) could be replaced but would be counter intuitive as people specifically come in to talk. Otherwise, you could grab a bottle and go home. My worst enemy here is our town LOVES to give DUIs and will not allow alternative transportation. We have a taxi company that is twenty minutes away and takes up to three hours to show up. We had other people that would get you home for $10 and you and your car for $20. They showed up in ten minutes or less. The city caught them and all three are now out of business. The DUI money is so much. People now, if they come in, aren't staying as long, or me as a bartender am giving rides..... this is what threatens my job
• United States
6 Oct 12
Yeah I thought of that too with the self checkouts. I'm seeing them at more and more places. I wish my local Walmart would put them in because honestly it's the cashiers that keep me away from there the most! How ridiculous of your town to put those businesses out of commission! And what for? So they can issue more DUI tickets? Around here we have a similar type of business.. though I believe it's non-profit and doesn't charge anything and is supported through private donations. It's actually promoted to ensure the safety of our community as that is far more important than some $ for DUI tickets. What happens the night someone drives themselves home and the cop isn't there to issue the DUI ticket and the driver causes an accident that kills people? Makes no dang sense to me!
2 people like this
• United States
9 Oct 12
Wow! That's unbelievable!
7 Oct 12
People have been saying this kind of thing since the first Industrial Revolution, and it's certainly true that automation does away with some jobs. But they're usually the sort of dull, repetitive jobs that the average human being can do without anyway, and each new advance creates new opportunities. Just as an example, the introduction of the internal combustion engine drastically reduced the demand for stable facilities, ironsmiths, horse feed etc, but created new industries in the form of car manufacture, repair, supplying petrol etc. Most if not all people are intelligent enough to adapt, you just need to be aware that change happens all the time and make yourself ready to take advantage. There's no law saying being a bank teller's the only job you can ever do. Right now, you're earning. If you assume that your job will be obsolete in five years, that gives you a window of opportunity - you can take night school lessons to retrain for another job, set up your own business, whatever suits your particular personality. The end of one particular job does not mean the end of you - trust me on this, I've had literally dozens of jobs!
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Oct 12
Maybe I don't want to have to learn a new trade (which by the way I'm already in school.. as I mentioned in my post). Maybe I like the job I have and have planned on staying there until I'm old enough to retire. I don't want to have to be forced out of my job and be forced to go into another field.. that fact that it took me this long to find my job and go to college is because I never knew what I wanted to do or what type of job I'd like. Unfortunately people who are old fashioned like myself don't seem to matter when these choices are being made.
13 Oct 12
The fact is, no-one owes you a job. It's a contract between yourself and your employer - you provide a service in exchange for money. The employer is not obliged to keep you on if it's no longer worth their while employing you. That's economic reality and it's morally correct. Change is a natural part of life and you have to be prepared to roll with the punches, and hopefully turn change to your advantage. If you don't do that, you've no-one to blame but yourself.
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
7 Oct 12
My job is not in jeopardy and if that time comes I'll be retired by then....our bank still has 8 tellers.....I know because I give them Christmas gifts. I do go to a credit union though and I hate the fact that you can't go in an make a deposit. They have been replaced there....in the lobby it's like a morgue with just a machine to walk up to and there is not a receptionist.....it's so strange I don't go there often. I like talking to someone.....a real live human being!
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Oct 12
A lot of people still like having a person to talk to. Although it's part of my job to tell people about the more convenient ways to bank, most of them say they prefer to come in instead of use the ATM, and to that I thank them because I wouldn't have a job if not for them.
@mykmari_08 (2466)
• Philippines
6 Oct 12
Hi there. Somehow, I feel that we are alike in a few ways. First, I used to work in a financial institution. In fact, I've been with 4 banks for a total of 13 years. But more than a year ago, I resigned from my job for personal reasons. Second, I was born in 1975 and I guess our age gap isn't that wide. Third, I had the same thought about having gone to school and studied about troubleshooting computers instead of finishing my accountancy degree. At present, I am "in-charge" of my mom's internet shop; which basically deals with surfing the net, assisting clients on research, encoding, scanning, printing, downloads, uploads, and other legal online activities. I've been doing this on a part-time basis even before I quit my job as a financial analyst. But now, I'm definitely here day in and day out. I recall telling my mom that she should have told me before that she has plans to put up an internet shop, so I should have taken a related course on IT. She's already in her prime years and a senior citizen at that so it's quite difficult to try to teach her do downloads and similar stuff. I've tried teaching them (parents who are both senior citizens) before but I guess their memory isn't as keen as it was when they were both younger. Anyway, I do believe that there will come a time when most of the human duties will be done by machines. Suddenly, I'm reminded of a movie about these machines in "Rise of the Machines". Honestly, I dread that day because I feel that man has started and progressed in altering God's divine plan for us. But for now, we have to go on with our lives together with these machines whether we like it or not. Oh, before I forget, what bank are you associated with, if I may ask? Regards.
• United States
6 Oct 12
I think there will also come a day when teaching others how to use computers will be obsolete, because the older generations who don't understand computers will be gone and replaced with those who grew up in the computer era so fully understand it.
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36488)
• United States
7 Oct 12
No, i haven't & i'm glad i didn't. I'm sure it is a worry that nonone needs.
1 person likes this
@natliegleb (5184)
• India
6 Oct 12
for sure i have experienced it,they do work precisely without any errors and pretty fast and less cost involved,so its a bigger threat than we can expect
1 person likes this
@dorannmwin (36698)
• United States
9 Oct 12
There has only been one job that I've had in my life that is something that will never be able to be effectively replaced with computers or robots. That was working in patient care at the hospital. There are certain things that have been done that make the job easier with machines. However, I don't think that there will ever be a time that nurses and aides could be replaced by computers because of the fact that a person that is providing direct patient care needs to have compassion and that is something that will never be able to be programmed into a computer.
• United States
9 Oct 12
I haven't met many nurses or medical professionals with compassion.. I'd probably be bothered less if I were being treated by a machine because at least then it wouldn't give me a negative attitude which I see far too much of these days by everyone in every field.
• Canada
9 Oct 12
Pretty soon everything at the local train station will be self serve! ;(
• United States
9 Oct 12
I believe you've mentioned you are legally blind, correct? I imagine self-service isn't easy or convenient for you. My mother is also legally blind. When it first happened (she was in her 40's) she tried to maintain her job and a company came out and upgraded her station so she could still work. They put a zoom thing on her computer and replaced her phone with one that had large numbers, etc. All for free, it didn't cost her or her employer any money. Unfortunately it was the public transportation that caused my mother to quit her job. She got so frustrated that she couldn't see the signs on the buses that said what direction they were heading in, and the other people that were waiting for buses were quite rude when she asked them what the bus said.. since she was only legally blind they didn't understand why she'd need to ask, so I guess had no patience for her. She had some options, but they were less convenient.. and I think she was just depressed and frustrated so gave up.
@bounce58 (17524)
• Canada
20 Oct 12
I work in manufacturing. Early in my career I was in mass production of cosmetics, and we've always had the drive for increased in productivity and quality. We've helped companies purchase machines that replaced manual labor. So, not my own particular job, but other people's job were always threatened. But... Nowadays, with all most companies replacing their workforce with 'robots', there is a particular market for personalized service. Specially in banking! I think this is why some small banks prosper. A lot of people still want a face to talk to when they come in to their stores/banks.