A largely automated hotel, a luggage storing robot, and automatic check in desk with self-service touch screens. The future is here and its getting restless. Our love hate relationship with technology probably goes back to the Platonic idea of the first chair and wheel, and the copy of the copy of that is a hand me down to our present time, the recycling and enhancement of the original. But, ultimately, technology is a neutral phenomenon, in the same way we cannot go back to Luddite weavers and bucket and rope wells, there is a way to integrate changes in our lives knowing that the short-term disruptions, particularly in unemployment will find an eventual equilibrium, albeit not without some turmoil.
Hotel baggage handlers are one thing, but what about white collar bourgeois professions like accounting, law, and even medical evaluation. When this class is hit in the pocketbook a crisis will be more endemic and confrontational to the nature of the economic system and its purported relationship to economic injustice. The Vietnam was did not receive widespread protest until middle-class children began coming home in body bags and the same dynamic will be applied here. The traditional high-skill professions whose members have done reasonably well since WWII may turn out to be like those Industrial age crafts people displaced by the early mechanization of guild protected occupations. Even in the much vilified financial sector, automated trading systems have furloughed thousands of individuals who found themselves redundant. Unions and structural barriers eventually collapse when the situation begins to look absurd; the jumping the shark moment when things like a physical newspapers make increasingly less sense unless for aesthetic reasons.
…We loved the futuristic lobby, which is decked in purple neon and stainless steel, and has a robot that stores luggage. It feels more like the inside of a video game than another overstuffed hotel entrance. And we had a great time taking in the wacky yet fascinating scenery at the bar, restaurant, and club area on the fourth floor, which is also in keeping with the modernist theme.Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/yotel-nyc-2011-6#ixzz1ruo1xeCr
…Minimized space means that efficient design, comfort and smart technological details become fundamental to the experience. The New York Yotel, for example, features a bed that transforms into a space-saving lounging position at the touch of a button, a Techno Wall that houses a flat screen TV and storage components, and a sleek, modern bathroom wrapped in glass. There’s also the “Mission Control” space, which offers a one-stop shop for service, snacks and shopping as well as a “Studiyo” for meetings, events, yoga and parties. For dining, the hotel has created “Dohyo”, a 110-seat restaurant in the size and scope of a traditional Japanese Sumo wrestling ring, with a hydraulic-controlled floor that can be raised and lowered to create a chill-out platform or performance stage when not used for dining.Read More:http://www.gizmag.com/yotel-worlds-first-hotel-robotic-porter/19576/
Golden age or armageddon? Thorstein Veblen predicted a future run by engineers, one in which democracy was seen as unnecessary in a land run by technocrats. In Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano,there is an extension of this theme where machines eliminate all manual labor, with most people wards of the state while a few elitists run the show….
Yobot, a direct descendant of the robots working in automobile-assembly plants, deftly grabs, lifts and stores baskets containing luggage, much to the delight of sidewalk onlookers at its street-level window. Guests needing to store luggage start Yobot with their room cards and then follow instructions on a video screen as the luggage hatchway opens and closes before Yobot goes to work. The large robot moves surprisingly smoothly for its size as it locates the proper drawer space for the luggage and puts it away.Read More:http://www.pcworld.com/article/227246/robot_luggage_handler_highlights_futuristic_hotel.html
…Besides monetary incentive, and not to mention that the kiosks will also be getting rid of cash transactions since they only accept credit or debit cards, the kiosks are also a way to gather statistical information about people’s eating habits, said Easterbrook. The company could potentially track every last thing you order (or perhaps offer you a free Big Mac with every ten that you purchase?).
“Ordering food has not changed for 30 or 40 years,” Easterbrook said, reasoning the addition of touchscreen kiosks….Read More:http://www.neowin.net/news/mcdonalds-orders-7000-touchscreen-kiosks-to-replace-cashiers
Is it really possible for technological progress to harm large numbers of people? It is and it has been. Economic historians confirm what readers of Charles Dickens already knew, that the unprecedented technological progress of the Industrial Revolution took a long time to be reflected in higher real wages for most workers. W
A likely answer is that early industrial technology was not only labor saving but strongly capital using–that is, the new technology encouraged industrialists to use less labor and to invest more capital to produce a given amount of output. The result was a fall in the demand for labor that kept real wages stagnant for perhaps 50 years, even as the incomes of England’s propertied classes soared.
Economists more or less agree that the same thing is happening to the Western world today, except that the benefits of biased technological change are flowing not to capital but to the highly skilled.
It is easy to understand why the Industrial Revolution was capital using and labor saving. Just think of a factory full of power looms replacing thousands of hand weavers–the development that gave rise to the Luddite rebellion in early-19th-century Britain. Can we come up with comparable images that relate recent technological change in the economist’s sense to its more normal usage? That is, what is changing in the way that we produce goods and service that has apparently devalued less-skilled workers?
The short answer is that we do not know. There are, however, several interesting stories and pieces of evidence.
Probably the simplest story about how modern technology may promote inequality is that the rapid spread of computers favors those who possess the knowledge needed to use them effectively. Anecdotes are easy to offer. Economist Jagdish Bhagwati cites the “computer with a single skilled operator that replaces half a dozen unskilled typists.” Anecdotes are no substitute for real quantitative evidence, but for what it is worth, serious studies by labor economists do suggest that growing computer use can explain as much as one-half of the increase in the earnings edge enjoyed by college graduates during the 1980s.Read More:http://www.pkarchive.org/economy/TechnologyRevenge.html