Grist Columnist: Is A.I. Taking Over?

I often grouse around the office that technology is not making life easier at all, but in fact is making it harder. True, when I think back on starting when faxes were the newest thing, I know computers and the web have made our work much more efficient. Customers can come to us from anywhere in the world simply by pulling their smartphone out. We needed a lot more folks when we started in 1989 to do just about everything we do.

The problem is – besides what the workers are doing who have lost their jobs to technology – that those of us left on the job have to work like switch engines to keep up with the new demands that technology has foisted on us. Almost everything used to funnel in and funnel out by mail or telephone and only within business hours. No more. Now everybody wants to know where their package is, why it takes so long, send me the invoice, where’s the receipt, why was shipping so much, and on and on, 24/7, coming by mail (you plain folk), phone, fax, email – and thank goodness we haven’t gone Twitter. BTW, I’ve noticed, too, that we’ve already got driverless cars – the ones where the drivers have their eyes on their phones rather than the road. I’ve been rearended by one of those. I think we’re all getting rearended by technology as we’ve willingly enslaved ourselves to it. A.I. (artificial intelligence) ain’t even here yet, but it’s looking as if the chips are stacked against us. (Get it? “Chips – microchips” Ha! I challenge A.I. to come up with such brilliant humor.)

Well, it’s up to us to make the best of it. Some advantages of our slick website are always knowing current prices, finding parts diagrams for your machines, or finding a mechanic or suppliers for goods we don’t carry et al. And better yet, here’s a no brainer, artificial or otherwise: see page 13 for 10% savings on popular products with our current online coupon.

And as always, thanks for your business!

John F. Rebrovick

SouthStar’s new Bulletin #253 is now available. If you are a current customer or a recent addition to our mailing list, it should be showing up in a mailbox near you soon. If not, you can request a copy by writing us or click here to download a copy. Thank you!

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