The local Tesco corner shop has just installed 2 self-service tills, where you scan and bag your own shopping whilst a slightly-too-loud-so-that-everyone-in-the-store-can-hear computer voice tells you helpful things like 'unrecognised item in the bagging area', 'insert money now', 'not in there you idiot' 'please stop kicking me' etc. Meanwhile the remaining human staff are crammed up at the end of the store. The good thing is that most people are still going to the human tills.
At our Alpha course last night we were talking about London culture, and what a grave sin it was to talk to strangers on the Tube, or in fact anywhere. The auto checkouts at Tesco are trying to put us in touch with our inner Londoner - minimise human interaction, do things faster, stay in control. Meanwhile Tesco lay off staff and we all have a couple less conversations a day, becoming slightly less human in the process.