Old School Cool
As a landscaper and urban farmer, I have long believed in the value of old fashioned manual labor. I love the simple things and have always been drawn to that style of living. For years I was an absolute technology hold out, hanging on to my old school flip phone for far too long. I moaned and complained about "those youngsters on their phones". No matter the advancements society had made I was constantly thinking of the "old ways" with fond nostalgia. It is startling how many times in my life so far I have said to someone younger, "Back in my day..."
Things changed for me in March of 2017. I was driving and listening to an interview on National Public Radio with Elon Musk. Elon, as you know, is practically a representative of the future and what he said sent my head reeling. He was advocating that world wide governmental agencies should strongly consider the value of a Universal Basic Income based on recent studies that show a 40% job loss automation and robotics within the next 20 years.
The interview and subsequent job loss due to automation stuck with me for weeks. I had long, drawn out discussions about automation, robotics, and AI with anyone who would listen to my doomsday scenarios. I admit that fear was at the heart of my thoughts. Fear of societal collapses, entitlements of my children, the loss of skills, and a deepening divide of the rich and poor. I had so many questions. Would my own job succumb to technology too? Should I try to wait out this whole thing and see if it was truly possible for robots to replace landscapers in the USA? Or should I bite the bullet and ride the wave of the future? And how?
I turned to the internet for answers and what I found was surprising. A quick search pointed me to the Husqvarna Automower, one of several brands of robotic lawnmower already heavily in use in the European market. A little more digging revealed that the high cost of labor in Europe had driven the market towards robotics almost 20 years ago. I was astounded that the technology had been in place for so long already.
With this information in hand, I knew the answer to my questions. While it seemed that the landscaping industry would take longer to succumb to the automation train, the truth of the matter was that it was already happening. In that moment I decided to be part of the future. And that is how Blackland Supply Co became the only Husqvarna dealer in the city of Austin, TX.
Progress and conquering challenges are a part of our nature as humans, so the future inevitably holds continued advancements in technology. We have generally accepted technological advancement as a good thing, with only a minor undercurrent of resistance. Is this really the direction we want to be going?
We at Blackland Supply Co invite you to join us on our journey as we explore the ways of the future and balance them with values of the past. We want to hear your thoughts on technology and the value of robotics. What are your hold ups about robotics? What affects will automation have on our society? Are we bringing on the Terminator doomsday?
Please share your feelings in the comments!