nwitimes has a nice summary article on the bevy of self-service technologies that we use every day to streamline our lives. Here's a little taste:
"[M]ost of us who are comfortable with [self-service] technology seem to like it. People almost seem to prefer the automatic check-out lines at the grocery stores, for instance. And it can be more convenient to print out your own airline ticket at home or at the airport kiosk instead of waiting in long lines to deal with a human.
"Using our time differently (instead of waiting in line or on the phone for a customer rep) can save us time and save the company money.
"Companies even offer incentives for self-service. Many airlines and hotels give extra miles or points for online do-it-yourself booking. The incentive is there because if we do the work it lowers company labor costs, and miles and points are cheap compared to salaries and pension plans. Yet, if we prefer it, we can pick up the phone and talk to a person, assuming we can get through to one. It's freedom of choice and everybody can win."
Read the rest of the story here.