Monday, September 2, 2013

Taxi drivers are the new stablehands

I read a terrible article today about driverless cars.  There are valid concerns about driverless cars in terms of safety and liability (which turn out to be no issue since driverless cars are much safer than human drivers - they don't text / sleep / drink / chat / eat / check out hotties / get emotional while driving) but the article talks about the loss of jobs as a problem.  That is, they are concerned about taxi drivers who can no longer support their families by driving cars when driverless cars become the norm.

Oh noes!  They will be right there with stablehands, ploughmen, archers, blacksmiths, piss boys, milkmen, and alchemists in the unemployment lines.  All those jobs forever lost leaving us with basically 100% unemployment as nearly every job aside from astrologer and prostitute has been replaced by technology.  Of course internet porn is trying its damndest to replace prostitutes but hasn't quite made it yet.  Strangely when I look around I see all kinds of people working at jobs that didn't exist back in the days of stagecoaches and lanterns so perhaps this idea of jobs being obsoleted isn't quite so simple as that...?

The fact is that it is disruptive when technology takes over routine, boring jobs from people.  Those people end up needing to retrain or change the way they work to compete or just plain do something else.  That disruption does not mean that those jobs are 'lost' forever, it just means that money that people used to spend on taxi drivers they can now spend on haircuts or massages or more advertising or trips or music.  Taxi drivers will of course have to swap to supplying something people still want but swap they will and everyone will benefit from cars that drive with a greater safety record and lesser mad aggression.

We all need to take a deep breath and stop panicking every time something new comes along thinking that the world we live in is the only world.  Read some freaking history people!

1 comment:

  1. AIs not being emotional is one of the biggest myths out there, by people that believe that because they can't consciously connect seeing something with feeling happy/sad/afraid that there's some sort of magic human soul that has to do that (which is why humans are special). Instead of realizing that the brain subconsciously pattern matches things and sends off signals to release certain hormones that results in a cascade reaction we then recognize as a feeling. And that's essentially exactly what AI/recognition systems do (only with things like neural nets and feedback loops instead of chemicals)... it's pretty much a given emergent property of them. And when you think about it, doing things on miniscule levels beyond human cognition is what computers have always been good at. The hard part of AI is the rational conscious part, not the underlying emotional subconscious.

    And, yeah, a recognition system can certainly "check out the hotties"... to the point where running into the perfect pattern leads to going into orgasmic spasms until you kill the process.