No more waiters, we’ve got technology!

Technology is replacing staff

Technology has been getting better and better, from what we can do in our own time on our own laptops/computers, to (the faster) self checkouts in supermarkets. But is it that as technology gets better in a technological sense, that our social sense fades?

BBC Click: restaurant projects food onto plates

A quick (2:50) video from BBC Click shows that companies are now using technological advances to enable customers to order their own meal. The video shows the clear advantages, and highlights the downfalls of being your own waiter(ess). Yes, a restaurant has now got technology to show you images of food at a few clicks of a button. It also enables customers to order their food, and see a webcam of the kitchen if your food is taking a while to show up. And yes, it probably is a fun idea, but it begs one question: are we now having to be an employee and a customer in most stores?

Employer forces employee status onto customer…

While this is a new and exciting time for technology have the designers catered for all customers? For example, a customer with glaucoma (a serious sight problem) may not be able to actually see the menu, or dishes on the table. Or what was the table, is not the board, the computer for the customer to use.

What if an elderly person went in during the day to grab a quick bite to eat? Does this reveal the huge gap of social interaction? It might be possible and plausible to state that people – all kinds of people – regardless of age, gender etc actually like to interact with a member of staff. As humans we like to say hello, ask about the nice dishes on a particular day, at a particular time. Has technology over looked this area?

Tip or no tip?

After ordering your own meal, sending your order to the chef (although not physically) and paying for your actual food, is it even right to ask about giving a tip? After all, you pretty much worked for some of your evening. You had to learn a new interface, select the correct dishes, order the accompanying drinks, wait as normal for your food, and pay as normal for your food … is it okay for a system to ask you for a tip?

The idea that technology simplifies our life, enhances our experiences is sometimes, just sometimes overlooked.

Post 36, over and out

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