It’s been happening for a while, in the last 20 or so years we’ve seen a heap of advances in technology. Fortunately computers are not becoming obsolete every two weeks like they were in the 90s, but the changes have been noticeable. The internet has made a sudden and massive difference to the world. Twenty or thirty years might not seem sudden, but if you look at the whole of human history it’s just a tiny fraction of it.
Jobs are disappearing
I’m not going to be alarmist and say that we’re heading for the apocalypse and the robots from Terminator will take over. What I am saying is that because of modern advancements in technology mean that even going back 15 years, the job market was vastly different. In my lifetime I’ve already seen a number of professions just disappear. Digital cameras came along and made the profession of developing film obsolete.
Even the job that has been derided for being the job anyone can get is being phased out. Cashier jobs will soon be a thing of the past. Go to your local supermarket, you’ll likely have an option to scan your own groceries, instead of having 10 cashiers, they have one cashier watching over 10 machines.
Even McDonalds has vastly reduced the amount of cashiers they employ. And replaced their humans with electronic cashiers.
In some ways this is great. I know that now when I go to McDonalds, their electronic cashier might not be as friendly but it is going to get my order right. And when I go to the supermarket, I may have to scan the groceries myself, but I’m unlikely to have to stand in a line for half an hour. By the way, when you scan your own groceries, do you thank the staff member overseeing all the self serve checkouts? I find myself doing it out of habit, it’s just polite to thank someone when they do something for you. But then I catch myself and think,” wait a minute, what am I thanking them for? I did all the work”
Eventually it will be impossible to drive a car
There are already a number of companies working on self-driving cars. The technology for them already exists, however, they do want them working perfectly or at least near perfect before they’re released publicly.
I’ve got a few predictions of what’s going to happen with self-driving cars.
Firstly they’ll come out with production models the general public can buy. Some people will love them, others will think it’s an abomination and not only will they not buy one, they’ll also try to stop other people driving them.
More and more people will buy self driving cars. The larger percentage of self driving cars in an area, the less road accidents there will be. Many people have their ego invested in their driving ability so they’re not going to want to admit that a machine can drive better than them. Especially the morons who say, “I drive better when I’m drunk”.
Eventually a fault with a self driving car will cause a fatality and there will be calls to ban them.
Road accidents will continue to reduce and eventually it will be illegal to drive yourself on public roads.
If everything is automated, what can I do?
Society survived the Industrial Revolution, and it will get through this period of rapid technological advancement as well. Many more jobs are going to disappear, but there will be new opportunities. There will be more opportunities in the maintenance of automation systems and there will be opportunities in areas where machines will never be able to replace humans. While I have a few hunches as to how the future will go, I can’t know for certain, but I do know that it is going to be interesting.