Friday, January 30, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Rise of the machines

wade kelvin column sig copy

By
From page A7 | January 31, 2013 |

A recent series of articles by The Associated Press highlighted the fact that middle-class jobs in America are being replaced in large part by machines. Machines can more efficiently and quickly do the jobs of many human workers.

According to the articles, between 2000 and 2010, 1.1 million secretarial jobs vanished, replaced by automation. The number of telephone operators dropped by 64 percent in the same time. The number of travel agents fell by 46 percent and bookkeepers dropped 26 percent.

Self-checkout at stores and libraries have helped speed customers through, but at the cost of jobs. Online banking and ATMs have greatly cut the need for tellers. Digital devices that eliminate the need to be read manually are replacing gas and electric meter readers.

Machines aren’t just replacing humans’ jobs, they’re replacing other machines. Who uses an alarm clock anymore when you can use your cellphone or tablet? I’ve got a perfectly good Kodak digital camera collecting dust because my cellphone takes good pictures and automatically uploads them to the cloud so I have access to them on any computer I use. And I haven’t worn a wristwatch in years. There are no wall clocks or calendars in my house.

There’s another cost to all of this that’s not economic. While technology has made the world smaller, connecting us globally and reconnecting us with old friends and providing networking opportunities through Facebook, LinkedIn, FaceTime, Skype and videoconferencing, it’s also pushing us apart.

People are lying about themselves, “catfishing” over the Internet. You see people out for dinner in restaurants ignoring their dinner mates and texting others. And according to a recent study published in the online journal Injury Prevention, people who are walking and texting are four times less likely to look before crossing streets.

The distancing effect of technology concerns me the most. The last time my brother Scott and his family visited from Canada, I noticed one day that he, his wife, two sons and myself were all sitting in the same room silently engrossed with our own laptops and/or cellphones.

I went so far as to ban all technology at the dinner table for Sunday dinner so I could engage with my grandkids and not see the tops of their heads as they texted or played on a Kindle Fire.

When I recently found myself visiting a sleep doctor about my lack of sleep, the first thing he asked me was about technology in my bedroom. Sure enough I use my iPad and smartphone in bed. He said researchers have found that the artificial light of smartphone and tablet screens lowers the levels of the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate our internal clock and sleep cycle. When I’ve avoided using the devices, I’ve gone right to sleep.

Unfortunately, my iPad often finds its way back into my room and into my hands.

This societal change of more machines is something we will be wrestling with for a long time. Science fiction movies have often warned of the rise of technology. However, I think we’re finding that the endgame isn’t the machines becoming self-aware and using us like batteries like in “The Matrix,” taking over humans as in “I, Robot” or launching a thermonuclear war like in “The Terminator.”

No, the endgame is a nation of chronically sleep-deprived social introverts with the only job left for us is inquiring, “Would you like fries with that?” Peace.

Kelvin Wade is a writer who lives in Fairfield. Email him at [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Peggy GoldenJanuary 31, 2013 - 8:28 am

    You are so right. I am a great-grand ma and I might as well talk to myself when trying to get the attention of members of my family because they are too busy texting, playing games or talking on their various devices. No social interaction so how will they react if they find themselves having to interact with others?? I see this even going on in church!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Teens earn right to perform with symphony

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
From classical to Queen: Chamber Players are ready

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Photographer has a passion for color

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Solano summit focuses on ways to end poverty

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
 
 
Cadets learn skills for future careers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
‘Souper Bowl’ coming to Solano County

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

 
Sports aircraft company CEO recalls effort to locate in Solano

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
SolTrans announces changes to bus routes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Fairfield police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

California’s snow survey shows far less snow than last month

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Protestors shun sister-city relationship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

City event criticized for Mexican mafia connection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
State to move more than 2,000 inmates

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Boy Scouts reaches settlement in sex abuse case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Tech advances lower chance that driver will die in car crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
‘Anonymized’ credit card data not so anonymous, study shows

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Poll shows giant gap between what public, scientists think

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Fort Hood gunman Hasan says he wants to keep top lawyer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Attorney General nominee wins GOP endorsements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Police: Family killed man over child custody dispute

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Killer says his ideas influenced family suicide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
NASA astronaut memorial stirs memories for shuttle veteran

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Simultaneous attacks in Egypt’s Sinai kill 26

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Indonesian investigators: Crashed AirAsia flown by co-pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Gas blast at Mexico children’s hospital, at least 2 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Families plead for lives of IS hostages as swap hopes fade

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Deadly San Francisco blaze spurs look at fire alarms

By T. Burt McNaughton | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 30, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
 
 
.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My cousin’s 14-year-old son sleeps in the same bed as his grandma

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Jan. 30, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Jan. 30 through Feb. 5, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: A tired gimmick weakens thriller ‘Project Almanac’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

‘The Thorn Birds’ author Colleen McCullough dies at age 77

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hilary Duff, George Lopez help in search for stolen dog

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Justin Bieber apologizes for bad behavior in online video

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Musician Geezer Butler arrested in Death Valley altercation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lil Wayne sues mentor’s record label for $51M, seeking split

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jim Parsons to play God in Broadway’s ‘An Act of God’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande to pay tribute to Stevie Wonder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
 
Bernie Mac widow drops malpractice lawsuit against doctor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment Calendar: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Desert stars: Celebs converge on Phoenix for Super Bowl 49

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Marshawn Lynch talks about why he doesn’t talk to the media

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Vanden boys pull away from feisty Fairfield 86-66

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B7

 
Serena aims for 19th major in Aussie final vs. Sharapova

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Gronkowski and Chancellor make for must-see Super Bowl matchup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Signups for Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
.

Business

Chevrolet polishes its mid-size truck

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Prospect of Chinese cars in US still remain years away

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Senate passes Keystone XL bill, battles loom

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

 
McDonald’s under siege as new CEO steps in

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Obama seeks spending spike for defense, domestic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

 
Who wants a bite of Hershey…jerky?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Anthony Neal Hunley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Joseph Phillip Raiff

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

Frank Z. Perez

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dzhon Athanc

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Gloria Elizabeth Neal

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9