Friday, November 30, 2012

Race against the machine

Race Against the Machine is one of the most interesting books I've read this year, and I'm constantly seeing examples of technology that heralds the ultimate dominance of our robot overlords. Today, a guy came to measure the mancave--soon to be repurposed for the holidays as a guest bedroom--for a new carpet.

He had a handheld laser pointer, which communicated wireless with a tablet, which was running a piece of software that sketched the contours of the room. He was finished in 5 minutes. I asked him about it: "I used to be able to do 8 houses a day." he said. "Now I can easily do 15. That means that the technology has doubled his productivity, but it also means that the Triangle needs one less person to measure rooms prior to carpet installation. There may be some cost savings for me, and some added IT work in the Triangle, but that job isn't coming back, and it doesn't seem at all improbable, that when the time comes to replace the carpet, I'll simply take my phone to Lowe's and they'll be able to get all the information they need from a photo I provide. I wonder what our friend will be doing then.

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