Guest editorial: We could pay Park City’s working class a living wage. Or we could replace them with robots.
It is melancholy to be driving into Park City (because you never take the bus) in a snow-tire-clad Porsche SUV mired in traffic caused by employees commuting to work for you — at our ski mountains, hotels and restaurants — because they simply cannot afford to live in this town they keep running. Then after struggling for parking (woe indeed!) and skiing all day only to come home to news of the troubles of these traffic makers — the lack of affordable housing, social inclusion and resultant worker shortages…
I shall now therefore humbly propose my own solution, which I hope will not meet objection: robots.
Human jobs in the service sector are being replaced by robots and apps. So I wondered: Why aren’t we solving all of Park City’s workforce woes (lack of affordable housing, multiple jobs to make do (ish), people stuffed into one room for living, employee shortages, etc.) the same way? Clearly, a ski pass, three jobs and the STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE are not enough to make the people who keep this town running happy. No! They want a home and to be able to eat and sleep and live! These problems are the direct cause of the people who make our lives possible but can’t afford to live here.
What guy wouldn’t dig skiing with the likes of R2-D2 and C-3PO? What could be safer than riding a chairlift high in the air over cliffs and snow-making lakes in high winds knowing a mere inanimate battery-run robot is in charge? So what if they short circuit in the snow.
Robots are great with kids! They’d love a robot ski instructor. Sure, I saw a robot liftie try to assist a dummy child and, in so doing, impale the dummy child with his metal robot arm.
It’s a coding fix (I hope?). We can work these kinks out more easily than, say, paying the people who work for us more, like an adequate wage, and getting them affordable housing in this town. Right?
For your apres ski, look to a robot! So the bot strictly keeps to that dismal Utah pour — it’s a trade off in order to enjoy less traffic and yammering about people working multiple jobs just to barely scrape by and being unable to afford a home and working this shift right into another and other concerns of human beings who literally make your amazing life possible.
We could treat them as valuable members of the community (because they are) and PAY them FOR IT: “If the federal minimum wage in 1968 had kept up with inflation and productivity, it would now be $22 an hour. Instead it’s $7.25,” according to a piece in the New York Times’ opinion section. So the biggest employers of this town (ski resorts, local governments, school districts, hotel and tourism) maybe don’t pay people enough.
Don’t be silly.
Robots don’t need a home! Stack them in an abandoned mine after their shifts to charge or whatever robots do. Health insurance? Some kids coding for extra credit should do the trick. Food? Electricity: If we can light up Woodward for alien life to see, surely we can charge some robots to keep the snow machines, lifts, ski school, restaurants, bars, hotels, coffee shops, ski rental stores and tourist venues running, right?
All these problems being suffered by this town — at the hands of smiling human beings who work for us but can’t afford to live among us. Replace the 99 people problems with robots.
What else to do? Work on more affordable housing and pay people more, like a living wage, because they deserve it?
Don’t be idiotic.
I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have no personal interest in endeavoring to replace the humans I love who make this town great with robots, having no other motive than the good of this town by giving some relief to those who can afford to live here (or at least a second home that they rent out for gazillions during Sundance or whatever).
Robots. Think about it (along with a monorail and/or teleportation).
P.S.: I don’t know anything about robots. Can they ski?
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