Technology taking on more roles that humans used to fill

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Did you ever get assigned to be a hall monitor?

Some of us reveled in the authority to check passes and tell fellow students where they could and could not go.

Now that role is likely filled by a ceiling-mounted CCD, feeding a video signal to a bank of monitors in the school office.

The McCook schools are adjusting to the new reality, adopting a policy covering the expanded number of closed-circuit cameras populating their facilities, limiting who can see those images and when they can do it.

Law enforcement is adapting as well, turning to all-seeing security cameras to help solve difficult crimes.

Technology can be a handy scapegoat as well; if your next Domino’s pizza isn’t up to snuff, maybe you can blame a computer, if you’re visiting down under, that is.

Stores in Australia and New Zealand have started using the Dom Pizza Checker to make sure their pies are made right.

According to its website the camera’s “use advanced machine learning, artificial intelligence and sensor technology to identify pizza type, even topping distribution and correct toppings.”

If the food doesn’t match or order or internal quality standards, workers are ordered to make it again.

If Big Brother watching your brother make pizza gives you the creeps, you’re not alone, but Domino’s has an answer.

“Dom Pizza Checker is a tool used to train our team members ... not to punish those who make mistakes,” said a Domino’s spokesperson.

But the next step seems obvious — the computer can avoid those pesky pizza workers altogether, apply the topping itself and pass the completed product to the delivery drone, which will bring supper to your front door, untouched by human hands.

Thankfully, but still ominously, robots are taking over some of the jobs formerly filled by soldiers.

According to his own account, President Trump decided at the last minute not to retaliate against Iran over the shooting down of one of our sophisticated, multi-million-dollar drones when he learned it could result in the death of more than a hundred civilians or military.

But after the Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, he authorized a different kind of attack.

According to anonymous officials quoted by Reuters, Trump authorized a cyber attack on Iran’s ability to spread propaganda.

One of the officials said the strike affected physical hardware, but provided no other details.

If so, it isn’t the first; a cyber attack a number of years ago, reportedly conducted by Israel, destroyed equipment vital to Iran’s efforts to create atomic weapons.

In the early 19th century, a secret society of English textile workers, the Luddites, destroyed machinery they believed was taking their jobs.

Some of those same types of fears have merit today, but for some tasks, computers are welcome to them.

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