It’s pretty clear that world is moving towards self service and self order kiosks for a variety of applications. We see it in airports, we see them in grocery stores, and now we’re starting to see that momentum start to take off for the restaurant and hospitality industry.
The benefits of self order kiosks for businesses are pretty evident. Self order and self service kiosks can help improve customer experience, shorten wait times, cut costs, and increase sales. The benefits for the customer is also is easy to see faster service, more accurate orders, simple to order and you can take your time without feeling rushed.
What about the cashier? Will self order and self service kiosks put people out of jobs?
Before we get into answering these important questions. I think it’s important to talk about why a business should implement technology. I believe the main reason that a business should consider introducing any technology is that it will improve the business. There are a few ways to improve the business. The most important one is that it will increase revenue. The next most important way is that it will improve the productivity and convenience for employees and customers. I personally believe these are the reasons why self order and self service kiosks are in such high demand.
Aren’t self order and self service technologies evil? These self order and self service kiosks are eventually going to eliminate the need for cashiers. If you look at any major technological change you will also see a high correlation to the kinds of jobs and how people are now going to earn a living change as well.
If you look at history, back when people were digging potatoes out of the ground by hand you have to ask yourself what happened when the machines came that started to pick all the potatoes? Did the people picking potatoes all lose their jobs? In the short run the answer is yes. However, I don’t think today or even back then people were going around looking for a job picking potatoes and people were not saying “when I grow up I want to dig potatoes out of the ground!”. People only had this job because there was no other way to dig potatoes out of the ground. Today there is no need for people to pick potatoes by hand. This is because that problem has been solved with technology and it is certainly not a job people want to be doing.
In my opinion, I think the cashier position is a lot like the potato picking job. I don’t think people grow up thinking that they want to be a cashier. It’s just a job because it’s something that we need people to do(at least for now). This same principle applies for all sorts of things that are no longer relevant because we’ve created other things to solve the problems we’ve had in the past. I don’t think people complained that we put washing board manufacturers out of business and people out of jobs because we invented washing machines.
There’s always going to be a new way of doing things. The future will be filled with technology doing the job of manual labor jobs. I believe we will continue to see significant growth where technology can do things that people don’t want to do anymore and that society accepts those jobs as something that we shouldn’t be doing anymore.
Will machines take over all our jobs? No, I think that’s going to be impossible. The reason for this is because the reason we have jobs is really to serve our fellow man in some capacity. Even though jobs like picking potatoes have been replaced by technology we still need people to do things that machines will never be able to do or we don’t want them doing. One of those areas which I believe we’re going to see significant growth in is jobs that require quality human interaction. We need people in to interact with other people. I personally will never accept having to negotiate with a machine, robot, or AI. I will always prefer to conduct business deals with a person.
What is going to happen is that a lot of low level jobs will be replaced. This really means people will need to find jobs that require a higher level of thinking, higher level of human interaction, and a higher level of skills. Society that fully leverages technologies to replace low level jobs won’t have as much room for those who are not interested in working at a higher level.
I don’t think the real problem is technology or the people developing it to help our society grow. I think the biggest problem is that the rate of technological advancement is disproportionately skewed against the growth rate of the percentage highly skilled and educated people in our society. I believe in order to help society keep up with the pace of technology we need to increase the growth and quality of education and training that people have access to. It’s really a matter of availability of quality education and training and establishing a society in which this is the norm rather than exception. Today the unfortunate reality is that the best education is generally only available to the wealthy and privileged. Investing in education is no small feat. It’s very expensive and it’s extremely time consuming. All things that people don’t have enough of.
You can disagree, but I don’t think that self ordering kiosks and self service technologies are the real problem or culprit for employment. It’s a matter of education and the average person learning to do things that require higher level human interaction. I believe teaching and training our next generation to increase their people skills will have a major positive impact on our society. As for self ordering kiosks impact on cashiers, I believe that businesses should train their cashiers to help improve customer service and improve business operations and leverage the new available human resources.
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