A mini-series from HBO called ‘Years and Years’ centres around a family and covers 2 decades, ending 2030. It’s a projection of what the future could be like, and a study of where we are today. Both sobering and thought provoking.

The final episode comments on how things had evolved, and that it was “all their fault” for not speaking up at the time, not caring when some things changed.

I began work as a bank teller, (after 6 months’ probation), right when cards were introduced to replace passbooks. The bank offered massive incentives to change at the time, to the detriment of many customers… particularly the elderly! But we tellers were pushed hard to convert everybody, if only we had all cared more and spoken up back then.

You see pensions and government benefits at that time were paid directly into a bank account or by cheque. Pensioners would bring in their passbook religiously every fortnight to get that benefit printed into their passbook and their balance updated. That was all they knew! This new technology was totally foreign to them and of course the increased interest rates quickly reverted to normal as every passbook account was closed.

We all know this has resulted in Auto-teller machines everywhere, less bank employees and much less personal interaction.

HBO highlight automation at supermarkets. The Sydney Morning Herald’s article yesterday says Coles could have check-out free shopping by 2030. They quote Mr Davis from Coles who says “I have no doubt in the next 10 years, customers will be able to take the product off the shelf, put it in their basket, walk out and have it all paid for.” This technology strips $1 Billion from its cost base by 2023 through an initiative it dubs ‘Smarter Selling’. Amazon in the US is already trialling similar technology.

So, you think this is ‘pie in the sky’ and could never happen here in Australia? Ten years ago, only 60 of 800 Coles stores had self-checkout, now they all do and 50% of their customers use it already! Woolworths are testing a mobile phone scan which pays digitally before they leave the store and Coles are taking strides to fully automate their distribution network.

The saving amounts to $Billions from Australia’s $100 billion market, almost all at the expense of the person who once served us. How do we interact with store employees anymore and how does our economy replace those tens of thousands of jobs?

But it is worse isn’t it? Go to a coffee shop, a train or bus and see people on smart devices, none of them talking any more. An App can order and pay for your goods before you arrive at a shop, so you don’t even have to talk to somebody to get your goods. In the gym there is auto entry and earphones to completely isolate yourself.

All these examples, and there are many more, are prime opportunities to meet someone new, chat to or just smile at somebody that have been lost forever. Studies recognise the human need to be connected to each other. Their findings conclude that the human need to connect is as vital to us as food and water!

Do we strive to stay connected to people around us anymore? How many people do you afford the opportunity to speak to for the first time? Are we learning about someone else and the world they know anymore?

Can we speak up now, or is it already too late? Is it still possible to care about connecting with and caring about others, outside of our own bubble? Surely it is not too late yet…. But soon… 2030?

One of the ultimate ways to keep yourself… human and connected to those around you is soaking in an Aussie Spa!

Spending time with loved ones, friends and family gets you into a place where warm water is the enemy of those smart devices and behaviours that are creating barriers to connecting with each other. You are in a welcoming environment with nothing allowing you to insulate and shut yourself off. Your Aussie Spa frees your soul and helps feed your emotional bank, allowing you to practice and exercise your human interaction skills that can then be used everywhere we interact with others.

In today’s world of ever-increasing isolation, I think this is one of the most critically valuable things that your Aussie Spa can do for us all. Human connection is vital to our health and wellness.

Aussie Spa Guy