I went to a CVS Pharmacy during one of my lunch breaks a year ago, and I immediately noticed that they built automated checkout counters in the front of the store. The normal two to three cashiers were absent at their usual posts, and a lone store clerk idly stood by in the front of the store playing security guard and assisting customers who were unfamiliar with working the automated checkout machines. I went to the grocery section and grabbed some peanuts, four Granola bars and a ninety-nine-cent can of green tea. Scanning my items was relatively simple—I was out the store in less than a minute after completing my transaction. I loved the speed and convenience of the automated checkout, but I immediately wondered how many jobs would be lost if every pharmacy, convenient or grocery store adopted the same system.
I was the customer who always went to the line with the physical cashier present as opposed to going through an automated checkout line because I felt that people would eventually lose their jobs if everyone opted for the speed of scanning their items themselves. Now it seems as though the inevitable will happen anyway. Is the evolution of technology helping us more than it’s hurting us? I’m certain many people feel technology benefits society more than it hurts it, and I believe it does as well to a certain degree. However, I don’t think that it creates more jobs than it eliminates, and as our world moves forward, more and more people are going to be left behind.
Companies are sending jobs overseas in the name of larger profits, students are accumulating record masses of student loan debt and competing for less jobs than the generation that preceded them, people over forty struggle to reinvent themselves once their jobs disappear, and technology continues evolve at the speed of light. The day of the average American will soon be obsolete, and the gap between rich and poor continues to widen. Society is quickly ridding itself of people without the necessary skills to survive in this volatile economy. The future will look bleak for Americans who can’t or won’t adapt to change, and Darwin’s theory of Survival of the Fittest will become a reality.