Since the news broke that Amazon is trying to get permission to test its drone fleet in Seattle, I've been spending some time reading comments on various reports, to see what the reaction is. There are a few distinct categories of commenters: The luddites, the defenders of privacy, the people who hate change, the Free Market Goons, the Amazon fanboys, and so on. But a lot of the comments involve an expression of relief at the fact that the commenter won't have to interact with a human being anymore. The purest form of this comment that I could find is in this little off-topic ramble by greatestNothing at The Verge:
RFID tags need to become mainstream like NOW.
I don’t even care about the self ordering fridge or delivery drones, I just want to be able to place groceries (perhaps from a list generated by a smart refrigerator) in my carry totes and then walk out without standing in line waiting on some idiot sub 100 iq level minimum wage slave* to sedately scan the groceries, fumble over upc codes for the fresh fruit, and if I pay cash, fudge up how much change I’m supposed to get.
Amazon, of course, is excited about the drone program in part because it will lessen their dependence on unreliable (and often unionized) fleets of drivers. And a lot of people are excited about drones for the same reason: They won't have to have a potentially awkward interaction with the person delivering the package (what if he—choke—doesn't speak English as a first language?) at their doorstep. What a relief!
Some people have always had contempt for the service class, of course. But there's a new creeping insidiousness in the tech industry that allows people to voice their loathing unashamedly in public forums. Variations on "most people are stupid, and I hate stupid people" are a common refrain. We hate having to deal with human beings at movie theaters, both behind the registers and in the audience. We can't stand cab drivers. We loathe cashiers who occasionally make human errors or don't seem personally interested in how our days are going. It's the same kind of blind self-aggrandizement people employ when they complain about traffic without acknowledging that they are part of the traffic that they're complaining about. If you spend a lot of your time on the internet complaining about the real human beings who earn almost nothing in compensation for maintaining your ridiculously comfortable lifestyle, you're probably a terrible human being.
* GreatestNothing quickly edited the post with a bit of a backpedal, but even with the small concessions he provides, the comment still fairly oozes with disgust toward the idiots who dare try to get a job so they can survive:
there are some truly awesome cashier men/women out there, that will engage you with a smile and genuinely care when they ask you how your day is going. while still ringing up your order proficiently. unfortunately these are few and far between.