The world continues conspiring to make us cattle. Whole Foods at lunchtime has always felt like stockyards. In Union Square, shoppers with a handful items stand in one of five express lines. As cashiers become available, a clerk gives you a register number and points you in the right direction.
Now the whole process is automated. Available register numbers appear on an enormous, colorful LCD screen and drop into a row corresponding to the lane whose turn is next. Shoppers blithely follow the dictates of an automaton.
The Matrix and Arthur Clarke envisioned a future controlled by robots. I think they were a little optimistic. As services become more and more streamlined and electronic, wealth will be increasingly concentrated, until the whole world is ruled by one man sitting at an enormous switchboard, controlling every facet of our consumerist lives.