Tuesday, October 12, 2010

That Google Robo Car That Drives Itself.

Google just recently released what has been touted, by some, as the future of the automotive world, the self driving vehicles aptly termed robo cars. According to google, this wonder on wheels will solve all our traffic problems as it will be, unlike human driven vehicles, infallible. It will not have all the problems associated with human driven vehicles, like accidents and road rage to name a few.  As the world celebrates this, obviously, great achievement, I want to advise that we look at take the achievement with the pinch of salt that it deserves.

Clearly, this is another attack on the masses by the super rich who, it seems, are hell bent on eradicating the middle and lower class from the face of the earth. While people might be swept into the fake euphoria of "scientific breakthrough" generated by the well paid press, the targets of this "breakthrough" are already quaking in their boots because they know, quite well, what has happened to other targets of "scientific breakthroughs"

These current targets, taxi cab drivers, know that they are about to lose their means of livelihood like millions of other people lost theirs to other "scientific breakthroughs". Most are already looking for alternative employment they know will be next to impossible to find, even as they put a brave face to a bad situation by declaring publicly that they have no fear of the robo cars.

They know, very well, what they are up against and they are not deceived, one bit. They know that was what bank tellers did before they were pushed into extinction by their own era's "scientific breakthrough" the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM). Does anybody still remember bank tellers? The same thing too was what mall cashiers did right before most of them were replaced by the self check out machines. Ditto, toll booth operators and factory workers and librarian assistants and many more too numerous to put down here as that is not the main theme of this write up.

The point is, when and, more importantly, where will it end? When we have all lost our jobs to machines? Will it end when the rich, who keep getting richer by taking away our paychecks and pushing us into joblessness, get tired of making more money? I'm asking these questions because we are all culpable in this.

We are all culpable because it is our selfishness and laziness that has made most of these machine takeovers possible. Nobody seems to have the extra minute it will take to stand in line to be attended to by the cashier at the grocery store. Or, we are so in a hurry to get to our destination that the human toll collector is too slow and will waste all our time. Therefore, we prefer to zoom through the automatic toll booth and be on our way.

Clearly, the library assistants doing the check out at the library are too slow for our liking and it's more convenient for us to just do our own check out at the self checkout machine. Yes, we're all culpable due to our selfishness because if we didn't use, and enjoy, these machines' services so much,  there wouldn't be such a race, by the rich, to put more and more of them out there. This they do all in the guise of providing convenience, while hoping we fail to realize that they're also taking our paychecks and adding to their already bursting at the seams pockets.

You may think that you're educated with a degree or many degrees and, therefore, your job is safe but that is not the point. The point is that while your job may be safe now, there is no guarantee that it will be safe tomorrow. In fact, your job is only as safe as how long it takes before a "whiz kid" comes along and figures out what program it will take to make a machine do whatever it is that you do. I'm sure people who lived, even, ten years before the ATM never thought they'd see a machine like that.

Now it is the turn of taxi cab drivers to lose their livelihood to the already very rich, through machines. Do they have a recourse? No. They will go home, cry alone with their families, come out and try to put a happy face to their "fate" and life will go on. But, for how long shall we fold our hands and watch our world gradually heading toward disaster, even though we could stop it if we want?

Yes, we can if we are willing to change our attitudes from being selfish and all about self to caring about what happens to our neighbors. Whatever happened to love for neighbor that is preached by all the religions of the world. We, as human beings, are supposed to be a religious lot. Aside religion, we are supposed to be social animals which means that we can't live in isolation. That also means that what happens to one of us has an effect on the rest of us. It also means that the effects of these job losses will, in the long run, come round to hurt all of us.

I can think of a million and one ways it can affect us and I'm sure you can, too, if you put your mind to it. But, like I said earlier, we can stop this descent to unsustainable economic imbalance if we really want to. We can start now by making a pledge never to enter any taxis which don't have a human driver. If we don't use it, they will have no incentives to make it. It's that simple.    


  1. This may be the single most idiotic, rambling, short sighted, did I mention idiotic?

    Your premise is that if we abandon technological advancement we'll rid the world of unemployment is so wrong on so many levels that it may take a lifetime of therapy and education to fix whatever misguided brainwashing you've undergone.

    In the meantime, I suggest you follow your own advice.

    Think about it. How many printing press operators did you put out of a job by posting this on the internet? For that matter, how many scribes? I suggest you take your own advice and start hiring said scribes to handwrite and distribute your nonsense.

    While you contemplate that, take it a step further and consider because of how slow and inefficient your new scribes are at producing copies of your mind vomit, how little you'll be willing/able to pay each individual. If only someone had a method of distributing your naive garbage to the masses extremely quickly or cheaply.

    Better yet, how many farmers have lost their jobs due to technological advances? How would your mind handle the balance between feeding the hungry and "stealing" peoples jobs?

    Like I said, there's so much wrong with everything you've written. Hiding from technology is not only naive, it's a dangerous policy for a country. America is only where it is and you only have what you have because of those that came before you and that innovated to make the world better.

  2. Don't fight technology and automation - embrace it: www.thevenusproject.com

  3. Robert SF March 4, 2011 at 1:57pm

    It is true that technology is bringing about the end of work as a human activity. It has been happening for a long, long time -- since the discovery of the lever -- but has accelerate ­d in the past 30 years.

    Until recently, the unemployme ­nt caused by technology was compensate ­d by the employment created by increased demand. To make and maintain a car takes less human effort than to raise and feed a horse; however, there were soon many more cars than there had ever been horses, so the net result was more jobs.

    The problem is that, as technology advances, you need a greater and greater increase in demand to re-employ the same number of people. At some point, demand can approach infinity without creating any jobs at all. For example, no amount of telephone sales will bring back the job of the PBX operator.

    And it's about to get particular ­ly bad. Consider just three technologi ­es that will undoubtedl ­y become widespread within a decade.

    1.- IBM's Watson. You don't have to be Jeopardy-s ­mart to answer customer questions over a phone. Watson will end call centers as we know them.

    2.- Self-check ­out. American retail will go 80% self-check ­out within the decade, putting 3 million more people out of work.

    3.- Driverless auto. Forget taxis. It will kill the trucking industry.

    Martin Ford and Marshall Brain independen ­tly write about how technology is disemployi ­ng us while leading to higher economic inequality ­. We can't stop the advance of technology ­, so they have different

  4. Clearly, some people get it while most don't, and never will, which is the reason our world is headed in the direction it is. Those who attribute it to technological advancement should do well to realize that technology cannot replace humans in a viable world.