Robots taking jobs? How technology could change the Grand Strand’s biggest economic driver
Technology is always changing. It’s transforming the way we live, from smart homes to self driving cars and kiosk ordering.
A report by The Brookings Institution said 25 percent of U.S. jobs could be at risk to become automated. Many of those at risk jobs include the service industry.
Tourism is the driving economic force for the Grand Strand, accounting for more than 80,000 jobs.
Luckily, this isn’t something that could be catastrophic to our area, Douglas OFlaherty, said.
“When we take look at technology in the work place and we take a look at robots in the work place, sometimes it might be something as simple as a kiosk that you might order your food or check in at hotel with as much as in the back of the house to be able to actually help prepare food and possibly even lift a fry basket,” the vice president of the South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association said.
Jobs could certainly change, though.
“The jobs are changing. They might not necessarily be in the front where you might see them, they might actually be in the back in a job that may be managing a process to be able to help them do that,” OFlaherty said.
Aaron Drake is a student at Horry Georgetown Technical College’s International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach.
He said he wouldn’t be surprised to see robots doing some of the simpler tasks in the kitchen like chopping.
“I don’t feel that there is much fear right now for what we call the back of the house side, or the kitchen. For out here in the dining room, sure there is fear,” he said.
Places like McDonald’s offer self-ordering kiosks, and other places allow customers to order off tablets.
Being a chef, like students are trained to be at the culinary institute, can’t be done by robots, Chef Joseph Bonaparte, the executive director, said.
“I know you can build an intuitive robot, but I don’t see that really as a threat to our industry in the very near future,” he said.
Cooking is about heart, soul and culture, Bonaparte said.
“There is still a discretionary side when you go through cooking. Is it a little too hot, maybe not enough heat. Is the meat really, extra fatty or not fatty? Are the vegetables sweet because it’s the fall,” he said.
Tourism has a $7 billion impact on the Grand Strand’s economy.