Technology can handle increasingly complex tasks for businesses.
Consider the British company Bodymetrics, which makes equipment that scans people so they can find perfectly fitting clothing. (This one isn't a brand new idea--Levi's started implementing a similar system in 2005.)
It certainly seems like a no-brainer, right? Have someone step in the box, take a snapshot, and you get the exact fit. Automation can make the sales process faster, reduce human labor costs, and create efficiency in the process. As the New York Times Magazine noted in its recent innovation issue, salons may soon do something similar, using a machine to wash, massage, and dry customers' heads with little manual intervention.
Automation can be good--heck, even great--for business. In some industries it's absolutely necessary if you want to scale. But some of the latest newfangled tech ideas have me wondering if companies are losing something crucial: the human touch. People do business with companies for many reasons. Satisfying a specific, practical need is only one of them. Consumers also want to be recognized and valued. They want attention, which is at the heart of service.