Machines: Good Servants, Bad Masters

TAGS: Vending Times, Vending Times editorial, vending industry, coin-op, vending machine, coin machine business, office coffee service, vending machine operator, micro markets, Alicia Lavay, robots, artificial intelligence There has been talk about how technology is changing the future, and this has been great news for our industries (perhaps especially micromarkets), but somehow I feel that an important human element has been overlooked. How do we bring a personal touch to the on-demand services that are creating the economy of the future? In today’s market, machines have replaced once-human tasks; and often, when there is human work available, temporary jobs have become commonplace. In many businesses, especially in big cities, companies tend toward hiring independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees. This has become known as the “gig economy” and it has the potential to undermine the traditional marketplace of full-time workers who rarely change employers, but focus on lifetime careers. Due to the large numbers of people willing to work part-time in temporary positions, the result of a gig economy is cheaper, more convenient services (such as Uber) for those willing to use them. While not all employers have seen the need to outsource everything they do, the gig…


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