Hurrah for Humans!

By Edith Morgan


Are you worried that we real people will soon be replaced by robots? The money grubbers are certainly trying hard to eliminate humans from a lot of jobs. I think it is great that so many repetitive, dull, dangerous and uninspiring jobs are being done now, in factories and on other dangerous and repetitive sites. Robots are strong, can work around the clock, do not get aches and pains, do not get sick or pick up viruses, and do not complain.

But they are incredibiy dumb and unable to handle the simplest questions not already in their limited repertoire. We have all found that out when we are trying to get a simple answer not on the loop and find ourselves having to press 1, 2, 3, or wait – sometimes for quite a while, only to have the robot hang up. It is particularly jarring when you want an answer from your doctor, and can not get through to someone who could immediately give you the information you need.

Any kind of work with humans – be it children, seniors, people who are ill, or who are not yet comfortable with the English language, should not be turned over to a robot, with such limited choices.

I believe that many of us would be happy to pay a little more money if we could be sure to be served or listened to by a real person – the human does not even have to be an expert or a genius, just someone who can respond as a real human does.

I deliberately go to the register or teller where there is a live person, and, as I shop or bank in the same place most ot the time, I get to know the employees and greet them (they greet me too). Sometimes I do have to wait, but do not mind, as waiting in line gives me a chance to observe others I the store, and often I meet neighbors, and we talk.

Have you ever waited in the hospital emergency ward – when you are not either bleeding to death or having a heart attack? The place is packed with all sorts of expensive machinery, dozens of persons running hither and yon, but have you ever tried to get a simple, human need taken care of there? I have been there with someone who, after hours of sitting on a cot, needed to go to the bathroom, and wanted a ”potty chair” by her bedside. Would you believe that there was no one available on the emergency ward and one had to be gotten from another floor? And after eight or more hours of waiting, there was no food to be had, as the cafeteria was closed. Thanks to a kindly nurse, we procured a half sandwich.

When your system is already under duress, why add to it by starving the patients?

But that kind of worker is usually the first to go when they are saving money.

Why are they not getting rid of administration instead?

All the really vital jobs in our society are not the moneymakers: they are in the human services: the low-paying jobs that take care of our children, our elders, our sick.

That is, all those that are really important.