We have been hearing for a while how technology is going to take jobs and a recent piece I read somewhere predicted that most of the jobs due to disappear are the ‘middle skill’ jobs and that they would be gone within the next twenty years. This prediction was brought to life this weekend when I visited the Ideal Home Show in Manchester.
First of all, the show was a big disappointment for me. I was very glad I had a free ticket courtesy of Martin’s money page. From George Clark’s revolving home that didn’t; to the overwhelming use of grey in furnishings, fittings and textiles; to the preponderance of exhibitors selling enhanced personal image products – cosmetic surgery techniques, skin care products and some things that disturbed me so much that I have coined the word ‘robotherapy’ to cover them.
Now I own a wonderful bed. It has Niagara massage function built into it, and it lifts up at both ends to provide support when necessary. I use it every day and along with an infrared lamp, the two together help with the pain and keep me on my feet. (I also have regular body massages in order to keep my muscles loose.) So I can honestly say that I don’t have an issue with using technology for health. However, seeing two rows of people sat back to back with plastic gags in their mouths with wires attached is a different matter. It was like looking at something out of a sci-fi film.
Serviced by two girls in white (who could have almost been robots), for a special fee of just £39.99 (according to the hastily made hand-made signs over the head of each person) you could have your teeth whitened and there was massive queue of people waiting to do it. DID ANY OF YOU ASK JUST WHAT CHEMICALS WERE GOING INTO YOUR MOUTH?
I suspect not.
I looked at the website today. The home page is focused on selling you a franchise. Says it all really. Apart from ‘zero peroxide’, there is absolutely no information about what chemicals might be used with the product other than ‘activators’.
So that was the first example of job replacement I saw. The next one disturbed me almost as much.
Another row of people sat in chairs having a Shiatsu neck massage – FROM A MACHINE – which according to the blurb, mimics ‘almost perfectly the pressure and kneading massage of a massage therapist’. As I said before, I don’t have a problem with massage beds, nor chairs, nor devices at all and I agree that ‘the simple kneading or stroking of your back, legs, sole or neck may ease pain and help with the recovery process after an injury’, but this final quote comes from the blurb for an advanced massage chair.
We are now in the realms of having technology sophisticated enough to replace the tenderness of the human touch. That to me is the really disturbing development and it is already here.