Seth’s Cut: High-tech, low stress

May 12, 2023 -  By
Technology graph (Photo: ipopba / iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Photo: ipopba / iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

A few years ago, I was in Denver on an assignment. My host was gracious enough to pick me up from the airport. From there, we grabbed lunch, followed by a tour of a few of Denver’s breweries (Yes, it was a good assignment.) Turns out, Denver has a nice brewery scene.

It was sometime after the second brewery when I asked my host how he thought robotic mowers would impact his job in 10 years.

He laughed a big laugh and told me that by then, he was pretty sure he’d arrive at work in the morning, open the shop door and watch little robotic mowers crawl out like crabs. He might not even need to leave the shop anymore, he said. He even mimicked the sound these crab mower bots might make.

He was joking. The IPAs had taken hold, and he was incapable of holding back his sarcasm. While I wasn’t necessarily suggesting that robotic mowers would take his job away, I could tell by his answer that he was cynical that anything could change his job too much in the next 10 years.

I was in a similar situation — only the roles were reversed from Denver — at a recent industry event. In a crowded ballroom during a cocktail hour, a reader asked me
how I foresaw ChatGPT changing the way I do my job. The big difference in my answer was, rather than laugh and respond with sarcasm, I had to ask, “What?”

ChatGPT — the artificial intelligence chatbot built to mimic human conversations — was just starting to make headlines at the time.

Personally, I hadn’t heard of it yet. And with that strange name … you can imagine hearing the name chat-gee-pee-tee for the first time in conversation in a crowded room … I had no inkling as to what my new friend was talking about.

Since then, I’ve been hearing about it more and more and all the work it might be able to take off our desks in our day-to-day lives.

Who knows, maybe it could write a magazine article for me? Maybe it could write this column?

I don’t think it can. ChatGPT can’t go to that Denver brewery and learn from a source. What we do here requires talking to you, the experts, earning your trust and learning about how you do your jobs. We learn about where you see the industry heading. About how you’re utilizing — or foresee utilizing — the latest technology. We take those insights and then deliver this publication to you every month.

For example, this month’s cover story, written by Associate Editor Rob DiFranco, required him to speak with six industry experts. The topic? How much has changed over the last 10 years in the compact equipment market, and what might come next. DiFranco took all those sources and boiled down those conversations to create a quality cover story. (Rob also wrote it shortly before getting married — congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. DiFranco!)

New technologies will keep coming our way, and I welcome them. But the key to any of this technology is that it is surrounded and supported by talented, passionate people. Look at any of the columnists in this issue, and all of them are in some way writing about the same topic: people.

People make the industry charge onward and upward. And people — my team — make this magazine what it is.

Only time will tell how much new technology will change our lives. But as I read this month’s cover story, “The Future’s Coming Fast,” I couldn’t help but think about my own job, how I do it, and how fast things are moving.

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Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at

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