“I can remember putting on the headset for the first time and the computer talking to me and telling me what to do. It was creepy at first, but that feeling really only lasted a day or so. Then you were used to it, and the job really did get easier. Manna never pushed you around, never yelled at you. The girls liked it because Manna didn’t hit on them either. Manna simply asked you to do something, you did it, you said, “OK”, and Manna asked you to do the next step. Each step was easy. You could go through the whole day on autopilot, and Manna made sure that you were constantly doing something. At the end of the shift Manna always said the same thing. “You are done for today. Thank you for your help.” Then you took off your headset and put it back on the rack to recharge. The first few minutes off the headset were always disorienting — there had been this voice in your head telling you exactly what to do in minute detail for six or eight hours. You had to turn your brain back on to get out of the restaurant.”
This fragment is from “Manna”, a sci-fi story by Marshall Brain.
“The place is immense. Cold, cavernous. Silent, despite thousands of people quietly doing their picking, or standing along the conveyors quietly packing or box-taping, nothing noisy but the occasional whir of a passing forklift. My scanner tells me in what exact section—there are nine merchandise sections, so sprawling that there’s a map attached to my ID badge—of vast shelving systems the item I’m supposed to find resides. It also tells me how many seconds it thinks I should take to get there. Dallas sector, section yellow, row H34, bin 22, level D: wearable blanket. Battery-operated flour sifter. Twenty seconds. I count how many steps it takes me to speed-walk to my destination: 20. At 5-foot-9, I’ve got a decently long stride, and I only cover the 20 steps and locate the exact shelving unit in the allotted time if I don’t hesitate for one second or get lost or take a drink of water before heading in the right direction as fast as I can walk or even occasionally jog. Olive-oil mister. Male libido enhancement pills. Rifle strap. Who the fuck buys their paper towels off the internet? Fairy calendar. Neoprene lunch bag. Often as not, I miss my time target.”
You’re a thinking human being. You draw up your own conclusions.