Can I help you find something?

EaselbackRobotI’m a big fan of UPS. Today a nice mad delivered a parcel while I was in the front yard playing fetch with the dogs. He stopped for a moment to throw the ball and chat. I mentioned an article I’d read about how UPS uses sophisticated tech to find the shortest routes, etc.

The driver smiled and explained that UPS knows when his seat buckle is (and is not) buckled; when the door to the fan is open and for how long; and how often he back up, and at what speed. Every Monday morning he’s given a printout of this data.

I should add he didn’t seem to have a negative opinion about this.

Later in the day I was in Staples where it occurred to me that the people who work there (probably) get paid the same whether they are helping a customer… or doing nothing. Doing nothing is a less attractive option if a manager is about or, obviously, if the clerk is just eager to help customers.

Could a future AI monitor the in-store video of employees interacting with employees and reward those who spend more time helping customers than those who have developed the knack of avoiding them? The AI would be smart enough to know when the employee was bugging the shit out of a browser, just to game the system.

Before you ask, no, I don’t think I’d much like working in this environment. But I might like it better than being replaced by the friendly artifical person that will be rolling silently up and down the aisles in the near future.