Ed Driscoll

Coming Soon to a Hardware Store Near You: Robot Uprising Versus the Attack of the Luddites

“Welcome to the rise of the machines,” Kemberlee Kaye writes at Legal Insurrection, a natural outgrowth when demands to raise the minimum wage in a sluggish no jobs economy backfires. As she notes, McDonald’s is testing touchscreen ordering systems to reduce the number of employees at its franchises, and other industries will soon incorporate additional automation as well into their retail outlets.

“As the Wall Street Journal and many others have pointed out, entry level burger-flipping jobs are not intended to be long-term, family-supporting endeavors,” Kaye adds. “Yet the Raise the Wagers love to use low-wage earners as political pawns to target those with successful careers and businesses:”

Even more problematic for the “Raise the Wage” crowd is that the automation trend is not limited to fast food chains.

Lowe’s hardware store has developed a fleet of robots to assist customers.

Meet the OSHbot.  OSHbot isn’t quite as cute as WALL-E, but we’ll forgive it for that.

The OSHbot is designed to assist customers locate items they need. Looking for hammers? OSHbot will take you there. Need a particular nail? Place the nail in front of OSHbot’s viewfinder and it will show you where you can find it. No hablas Inglés? No problema! OSHbot is also multilingual.

OSHbot will go live at an Orchard Supply Hardware store in San Jose, California in the near future.

The video that Kaye links to provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of retail chains:

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So which union group will be the first to go back to the future, and smash up their new robot overlords?

The Luddite movement emerged during the harsh economic climate of the Napoleonic Wars, which saw a rise in difficult working conditions in the new textile factories. The movement began in Nottingham on 11 March 1811 and spread rapidly throughout England over the following two years. Handloom weavers burned mills and pieces of factory machinery.

Activists smashed Heathcote’s lacemaking machine in Loughborough in 1816.He and other industrialists had secret chambers constructed in their buildings that could be used as hiding places during an attack.

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The British Army clashed with the Luddites on several occasions. At one time, more British soldiers were fighting the Luddites than were fighting Napoleon on the Iberian Peninsula.Three Luddites, led by George Mellor, ambushed and assassinated a mill owner named William Horsfall from Ottiwells Mill at Crosland Moor in Marsden, West Yorkshire. Horsfall had remarked that he would “Ride up to his saddle in Luddite blood.” Mellor fired the fatal shot to Horsfall’s groin, and all three men were arrested.

Of course, other questions arise as well: When will robots move into the retail clothing sector? And will Jackie Mason provide their voices?

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And will Obama once again blame the Internet, ATM machines or robots on the lack of jobs, rather than his own policies, and the demands of his union and environmentalist crony socialists?