Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What you mean “we,” Terry Gross?

Yesterday on NPR:

This is Fresh Air. I’m Terry Gross. Remember when you first saw a self-checkout aisle at a grocery store? We use them all the time now without giving much thought to the fact that they're doing work real people used to do.
Some people don’t use self-checkout, precisely because they do think about the jobs self-checkout eliminates. Some people choose people, even if it means waiting a little while in line.

Notice that Terry Gross’s “we” — “We use them all the time now” — is a “we” composed of non-cashiers. But people (“real people”) who cashier or have cashiered go shopping too, and they, too, might have reason to think about jobs lost to automation.

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[Post title courtesy of an old joke about the Lone Ranger and Tonto: “It looks like we’re surrounded, Tonto.” “What you mean ‘we,’ white man?”]

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