Examples where our robot overlords have made life better:
ATMs: Remember the misery that the bank before ubiquitous ATMs? They sucked! Are you old enough to remember manually trying to get your money out of a bank? (Young people might wish to consult their elders on this.) Dealing with the bank was a friggin’ quest.
Suppose you needed to get fifty bucks out of your account to pay Vinnie the Loanshark and maybe ten bucks to fill your gas tank. (Yeah, there was a time when $10 would fill a tank. Get over it.) The bank was always closed (so often that there was a slang term called “banker’s hours”). Once you performed the miracle of finding a bank you had to wait in line. You waited for the privilege of being served by a bank teller. The teller might be a nice person but she (and it was usually a she) was slower than molasses.
Remember this had to be the bank where you had an account. If you and six other guys were going bar hopping and nobody had cash, you might have to go to six banks to make six withdrawals. This never happened because there was never a time in all humanity when six banks were simultaneously open. (Five of the six guys were broke anyway but that last part might just be memories specific to me.)
I don’t know why, but the teller was always an octogenarian and usually a woman. Lets call her Gladys. Gladys was a sweet woman. She’d tell you all about her cats. Most of the time she even counted the money properly. She was slow. Gladys worked at exactly the same speed if there were two people in line or forty. Gladys didn’t rush… ever. She went home at 5:00 pm on the dot. If you were in line at 5:00 pm, Gladys might serve you or she might duck out. Gladys had shit to do to. Those cats don’t feed themselves.
It was so slow and cumbersome that nobody wanted to deal with it. That’s where checkbooks came from. Everyone carried around a checkbook and a register and a pen and kept it with the crumpled up Styrofoam coffee cups and losing lottery tickets mouldering on the car’s dash. We begged Vinnie and the gas station to take our handwritten paper check. “Please don’t make us go to the bank. That’ll take hours.” Vinnie didn’t want your check and neither did the gas station. Why? Because they didn’t want to take time out of their day to stand in line like a moron waiting for Gladys to make the deposit.
Oh yeah, when your paycheck came, back to the bank. Unless you cashed it at the bar. Here’s a hint; never cash your paycheck at the bar!
One day Gladys was replaced by a soulless machine. I was delighted. You know what the soulless machine does? It works 24/7. It works on Christmas, at 2:00 am, in the rain.