What human jobs can be replaced?
The future for technology is always just out there a ways and for it to become the present does not require as much as you think. Just 3 or 4 years ago, the idea of a car which could drive itself was still a dream which many fantasized about. It seemed that it would be too many years away before we would see come into being. That was before Google embarked on their self driving car experiment which has turned out to be a technology changing experience for the world. And in California, legislation has been signed which will require the state to prepare for their eventuality which is going to require the rules and laws to go along with that.
But, there is a nagging question which has just now started to be raised. It sure seems like we are our own worst enemy at times. The question is whether self driving cars will start a new wave of unemployment? And it is a very valid question coming from The Guardian. While they talk about economic conditions, this is a very real issue and something most are not thinking too much about. While the article says that people are driving less and the car has peaked, they may be missing some things. People are driving less because of the rising cost of gas. But what if you could find another mode of transportation which required less gas. We know that all electric vehicles with sufficient mileage ranges are only a few years away.
With that, car costs for fuel are going to be altered. But, how does that relate to self driving cars? Let’s take for example the idea of getting a cab in any major city. Today, cabs drive around looking for passengers which burns up fuel and has to be factored into the cost of the cab ride. In the near future, all of that is going to change. With self driving cars, you will not need to have a driver at some point. So, you now have cabs that can be requested and one would show up at your location. You would request your destination and pay before you start the trip. On arrival, you depart and the cab goes to the next request pickup. Computers would determine the most efficient next pickup for the cab.
All of this has eliminated the need for a driver. And that is going to impact a large group of people who depend on driving a cab for a living. It is not going to happen overnight, but it is going to happen. The same can be said for any of our mass transportation. The buses that drive around the cities is another prime candidate for this change and when implemented would eliminate the jobs of all those who drive buses. While technology for the future is what improves our lives, those who are put out of work because of the new technology will add to the unemployment.
You do not have to look back in time to find another situation like this. The ATM machine was a new technology in the 1970′s and it has altered how things are done significantly. Before that, there were a large number of banks and people working in the banks. As the ATM machines started rolling out, banks started letting people go because they no longer needed them. Today, you see ATMs everywhere and there are a lot fewer banks as well. You walk into a bank today as compared to 20 years ago and they are pretty much empty. That is the impact of some technology improvements.
How long it is going to take before the public can accept vehicles traveling without drivers remains to be seen. We know it is coming and have seen it demonstrated. Are you prepared for the new tomorrow?