I don’t know if you guys have been keeping up with the news lately, but according to the headlines I’ve been skimming on Twitter, robots are poised to take over all our jobs. Or something like that. I never actually click on the links because as the mother of a toddler, all I really have time to read are listicles about how to lose 10 pounds in 10 days.
(Note to the editors of Huffington Post: If you really want to keep people informed, you should start combining the relevant news of the day with the fluff. For instance, I would totally read a story with the headline “Scientists have finally created artificial intelligence and also, here are 8 fruits with anti-aging properties”).
It sounds scary, I know. But I, for one, am not worried about the day the robots inevitably take over the world because as it turns out, they are just as incompetent as us humans. I know this because I just spent the last hour sparring with a completely incompetent automated menu robot for the electric company.
And, contrary to popular belief, it’s actually incompetence that is the real job generator in this country.
For example, let’s say you work at a company with the incredibly creative name of Company Inc. Your boss’s boss, Pete, hired your boss, Tim, because they “know” each other through networking (networking, of course, being a fancy word for how dumb people keep getting promoted). Now Tim is utterly incompetent. But Pete can’t just fire Tim. Their kids go to the same tennis camp, for crying out loud. So, to pick up the slack caused by Tim’s incompetence, Pete hires Carol, who happens to be the wife of his golf buddy, Tad, for a brand new position with a fancy title like “associate manager of operations” that sort of indicates she’s also your boss but not really but kind of but not really but it doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t stop her from acting like she’s your boss anyway.
Carol is also incompetent. Sales go down. Your workload doubles because no one besides you knows how things work.
Starting to feel the heat from his bosses, Pete decides the best move is to fire Tim and Carol and promote you.
Ha! Kidding. That would actually make sense.
No, Pete decides to hire a 21-year-old “social media liaison” named Kimi because obviously the problem is brand recognition. Kimi is also your boss. You think. It was never really made clear. But she sure as hell acts like your boss during her bi-weekly presentations on dumb crap like “Utilizing Twitter Hashtags For Maximum Penetration Into Untapped Markets.”
Meanwhile, Tim gets a huge bonus for bringing his frat brother, Winston, on board to be the new assistant manager of associate operations. Winston is also your boss, or at least that’s the way it comes off when he informs you that you will be taking a retroactive pay cut because times are tight in the company right now and there is simply no more room in the budget. The good news, however, is that they are making you a part-time employee so they can take you off the company’s insurance plan, meaning you’ll have more time to spend with your children.
So, obviously, as you can see, there is a direct correlation between incompetence and job creation. You now have four direct bosses. Four people who had jobs created specifically for them because the person hired before them sucked so hard.
Anyway, what was my point? Oh yeah, I was trying to pay my electricity bill and there was a glitch on their website and so I had to deal with one of those automated menu robots on the phone and it was horrible and blah blah blah.
But the point is, the robot was just as incompetent as any human. It couldn’t help me. And 67 minutes later, when I finally got a human on the line, they were able to resolve the issue thoroughly and efficiently.
Ha! Kidding again!
No, Lydia was unfortunately unable to help me, so transferred me to her manager Raj, who was unable to help me, who transferred me to his manager, a fast-talking, angry woman whose name was something like Pffffftboobra (or so it sounded when she shouted it at me) and so on and so on.
And that, in a nutshell, is why I’m not worried about robots taking over all our jobs. Because no matter how sophisticated we make the robots, they’re still being built by humans who have no less than four idiot bosses breathing down their necks. Meaning the robots will be deeply flawed because Tim, Carol, Kimi and Winston will continually come up with unnecessary “improvements” for you to add to the system just so it looks like they actually do something all day.
Which means the customer will always eventually need to talk to a human.
Which is really for the best considering only a human brain can truly appreciate the vulgar and curse word ladled rant from an exhausted mom of a 16-month-old (who is screaming in the background) about how all she wants to do IS PAY HER FRACKING BILL, YOU $#&^ing MORONIC &@!%ing DILLHOLES.