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Note from Lee: This may seem like a silly post from Tim, but he’s making a very important point. Low skilled, manual labor jobs are going away, slowly but surely. That’s why we see real retail sales per capita still below the levels of 2007. The US economy is being hollowed out.
I was recently griping to The Director about the fact that I buy a chai from Philz Coffee every weekday morning, but the quality varies from so-so to great. I had taken it upon myself to try to figure out which of the baristas there managed to make the best chai, but I realized that was pointless, since my mobile order was going to get randomly assigned.
He wrote me back with a link to a startup that is making a chai robot. Now this isn’t a C3PO-style humanoid scurrying around delivering chai. Instead, it is a big ol’ box whose innards are wholly devoted to creating a user-defined chai with the precise ingredients and quantities you desire.
I think this invention is brilliant. There are so many advantages to this approach. First off, there is obviously the ability to perfect a drink you love and have it that way every………..single………….time. You can also share recipes with others (sort of like Slope’s own watchlist publish feature), watch the chai being made on your mobile device (if you’re into that kind of thing) and also feel all space-agey by having your drink made by a freakin’ robot.
This is precisely the kind of job that is at risk from technology, and to be honest, I couldn’t care less. My goal is to have a good-tasting drink. I don’t get my jollies chatting with the person at the counter with a pierced nose. And I certainly don’t feel any kind of rush of anticipation when I take my first sip, wondering if this particular $5.45 chai tastes good or if it sucks. Not that the good people at Philz aren’t willing to fix a problem. It’s just that I don’t want to hang out another seven minutes for them to do it over again.
So………..bring on the robots. The humans are on their own.
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