“Danger, Will Robinson!”

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By Michael B Wright

You’re never too old to learn and as long as you’re still learning, you’re still growing.  I am a success! I did it! I finally conquered the self-service checkout at my local Wal-Mart without the help of an employee or another shopper.  I shouted “YES!” when the machine spat the receipt out into my hand as I drew my clenched fist back at my side.  Then I broke into my “happy dance”, which amazed the many onlookers, since my “happy dance” is the Pasodoble. I suppose it really looks weird when your partner is invisible.

My visible partner and wife also had a recent learning experience at the checkout.  If you’re using cash, you can’t insert all the bills at once as you do at the ATM, you insert one bill at a time. Evidently, the machine is being paid by the hour.

For many years I’d been avoiding self-checkout for ethical reasons. I didn’t want to contribute towards someone losing their job. However, an employee recently told me that these devices do not actually put anybody out of work. I cannot recall her exact reasoning because I was distracted by her nose which seemed to be growing longer and longer as she spoke.

All of this began with the elimination of manned toll booths.  Now, we have the Roomba floor cleaner and cars that can park themselves, not to mention driverless cars. The fast-paced growth in robotics technology and artificial intelligence has caused many to fear that we are heading toward an “Asimovian” society where man has become subservient to the robots that have taken over.

But as for me, all I can say is “Klaatu barada nicto”.

Mike Wright can often be spotted throughout Polk County and the Tampa Bay area showing off his prowess at various Wal-Mart and Home Depot stores. If you would like him to train you, contact him at micwrighthamo@gmail.com

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