The traffic clogged heart of Manhattan is getting a state-of-the-art bypass operation — with city engineers now directing Midtown traffic flow by typing a few keys in a Queens control room. Mayor Bloomberg yesterday launched the first-of-its-kind, real-time, congestion-busting system, which allows the engineers to control traffic lights remotely.
He hailed it as the greatest traffic innovation since the city’s grid system, saying engineers with the city Department of Transportation will use data from live street feeds to battle gridlock at the very moment motorists are leaning on their horns and giving each other the one-fingered salute.
I agree this is an amazing addition to the City and of course only time will tell how effective the system is. The bigger message about this system is how it impacts employment: again we witness how high tech jobs are created at the expense of low-tech jobs…..here, the jobs of many traffic police will be replaced by technology and a few tech-savvy employees. We have seen this with self check-out at Home Depot, self check-in at the airports, and the list goes on. Indifferent, inefficient human beings are being replaced by machines that are 100% focused on the task at hand. The human touch is vanishing. And its making companies (and even governments) more efficient…..and profitable! The bigger message is that the key to unlocking the high unemployment rate may lie in our ability to train and educate the unemployed in new careers, equipping them with the skills our changing world truly needs instead of whining about which party or president is to blame. Lets face it, sooner or later we will all be directly linked to technology in our jobs…..we may be there already.
The next wave may be how to re-introduce the human touch to technology, after acknowledging that us humans became spoiled and complacent, and now have to embrace technology. We see this in real estate: at first many scorned the web, e-mails, websites, cellphones: the Streeteasy’s, Curbed’s and Zillow’s of this world changed that forever. Now there is an over-supply of information and technology and (highly informed and educated) humans have to step in to become the editors.