Humans, humans everywhere! How awful!

humanclipartIn the May 5, 2015 edition of the Wall Street Journal, the treasurer of a major American corporation offers (in “The New Bookkeeper is a Robot”) a brief but pointed glimpse into the future of America. Enthusiastically touting the benefits of financial software that allows greater profits for his company, David Clothier of Pilot Travel Centers LLC speaks of a pre-software past when Pilot had to rely on human employees to crunch numbers and take care of customers.

“It was just awful. There were humans everywhere,” Clothier lamented of the 80 humans who as recently as three years ago spent their time “tracking and paying for orders for thousands of goods, ranging from candy bars to diesel fuel.”

Gloriously, now a mere 10 humans remain.

The article gives other examples of companies that are ditching humans for software. And this does not take into account the hundreds of thousands of humans that are being replaced annually by various types of robots and other automated, computer-controlled machinery (hardware).

America’s future job force, in short, belongs to computers (whether software or hardware). And, in America’s churches, perhaps a few suave, computerized holograms, like that of Andy Stanley.

Just who is benefiting from the removal of humans from America’s workforce?

Folks like Jimmy Haslam of Knoxville, TN, CEO of Pilot, who is worth about $3 billion and who pays many of his workers at or near minimum wage.

And speaking of crunching numbers and diesel fuel.

In addition to removing Americans from the workforce to better Pilot’s bottom line, Haslam in 2014, following a joint investigation by the FBI and the IRS, “accepted legal responsibility for the criminal conduct of its employees” of some $56 million in fraudulent charges by “deceptively withholding diesel fuel price discounts from hundreds of customers.”

Haslam, also owner of the Cleveland Browns, denied knowledge of any wrongdoing.

The company, however, did pay the government a $92 million penalty and, in an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office, left “open the possibility of prosecution of any individual” found guilty in the fraudulent scheme. Pilot must “periodically report” to the government on how it is improving its “system of internal accounting controls and other compliance procedures.”

Ah, that would be the software, who committed fraud in bits and bytes and who was accompanied by the hardware. (Faint echoes of that quaint old board game, Clue.) Digital jail time for snippets of computer code may in order. Maybe Andy Stanley’s hologram could be beamed into the electronic jail. After all, who knows? Maybe greedy software can be reformed.

If they are lucky, the latest generation of jobless humans can watch their digital replacements on their used i-Phones via a live stream from e-jail.


1 Comment

  1. Hi Bruce,
    Our church, Tryon First Baptist Church in Tryon, NC subscribes to Baptist Today and our Sunday School class of adults use Nurturing Faith by Tony Cartledge. Your articles dealing with the Civil War are interesting and informative. Just want to tell you about a book that has been in my family a long time and if you are familiar with the book. The title is “Christ in the Camp” by Rev. J. WM. Jones, DD. The copyright of this book is 1887. I have read portions of the book and found interesting chapters concerning such topics as “Influence of Christian officers”, “Bible and Colportage Work”,” The Great Revival Along the Rapidan”, etc. Now that I am an older adult and thinking about what to do with this book and others I have, I must consider various avenues of departing with such a composition. One on my three children may be interested but that is to be determined later. I am not a Civil War enthusiast nor a Confederate sympathizer, but I find it interesting how people in that time period viewed religion and used the Bible as an advocate for slavery.

    If you are familiar with the book, just want to know your thoughts about it.

    Frances Wray

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