Future Earth, Future Tech

The Rise of the Machines

1 Comment 21 May 2012

Are we slowly sucking the fun out of life? I refer of course to the news that Google has been given the go ahead to launch a self driven car in Nevada. That’s right. A car that drives itself without the need for human intervention. Why? Because everyone knows that cars driven by humans are not safe – there is always the possibility of an accident because of human error. Not so with a computer though. They can never be distracted. Can never fall asleep. Can never misjudge a distance or ignore the speed limit for that matter. In fact given that commuting is such a painful experience these days we should be welcoming the advent of this new technology. It will be like having a personal taxi driver without the fare, attitude, awful jokes and overpowering smell of a pine odour eater! Just like catching a train for example or a plane or any other form of passive travel that we engage in every day of our lives.

So why am I so cautious about this news? Well there are a number of reasons.

Driving at one level is all about personal freedom. Don’t you remember the first drive after passing your test? That sense of freedom. To go anywhere you wanted. No longer beholden to parents or friends to take you. It was a very liberating feeling and has continued in one form or another all my life. Being able to take a road trip to nowhere. To go exploring. Stopping where and when you wanted. It was all very romantic and now a computer is going to take all the fun out of it. Travel will be predictable. In fact, boring -even if you are able to work or relax or catch a few minutes nap on your forty five minute commute into work.

But hang on. If a computer can drive us then they can drive taxis. Drive lorries. Drive vans. That’s a whole load of people who shortly won’t have a job. Which is of course the nature of progress. Jobs become obsolete as technology and innovation advance but I suspect we are on the frontier of a computing revolution that will render many existing jobs completely obsolete over the next few decades. If a computer can be taught to drive a car. They can pilot a ship. Fly a plane. Run a production line. Or a delivery service. Very quickly all but the most valuable jobs will be automated. In effect computers will commoditize work with the resultant disenfranchisement that goes with it.

Its a scary prospect. Only the most valuable jobs will be performed by humans. Ones that are not easily replaced. Teachers perhaps? I wonder. You read of online e-learning applications that can bespoke teaching to the speed of each specific child in the context of their learning approach. I don’t know of many teachers that can do that. Maybe nurses. Or home carers. Well a computer never gets tired. Make diagnostic errors. It doesn’t need to go home and no doubt one day will have the physicality of a person. What old person or patient wouldn’t prefer that type of care?

Can you think of anything that will be safe?

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Be Sociable, Share!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Are you a Petrol Head? | A Rush of Green - June 25, 2012

    […] recently blogged about robot cars and our subsequent loss of one more area of personal freedom as computers start doing something […]

Share your view

Post a comment

CommentLuv badge

Sign up for updates sent to your inbox

Join The Race

Reviews of The Human Race

Unputdownable. Yes, I know it's not a word, but it definitely applies here, anyway. That's the word I'm going with, to describe The Human Race by O.C. Heaton. - Hira N. Hasnain

An outstanding first novel from O.C. Heaton that catapults him into the Best Seller league… - Justine Bond

"This is an exciting, fast-paced read. The Human Race is a book that is very easy to forget to put down. Bring on part two!" - L. H. Bowers

"If you are looking for a well-plotted and well-written thriller to while away the hours of a long flight, this offering might suit you very well." - David Bryson, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

For further reviews of The Human Race by O.C. Heaton click here.

Author Bio

Charles Heaton British thriller writer O.C. Heaton, author of The Human Race, is fascinated by the past, present and future of human evolution. (Image credit: Ross Parry Agency) Read More>>

O.C. Heaton’s bookshelf


O.C. Heaton in the Guardian

O.C. Heaton's post about Harold Haw was featured in the Guardian.

On Facebook

Twitter

Facebook Love

Goodreads

O.C.'s bookshelf: read

The BeachThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeLife of PiOuter DarkThe FirmAlexander 3: The Ends of the Earth: A Novel

More of O.C.'s books »
O.C. Heaton's  book recommendations, reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

© 2017 A Rush of Green. Powered by WordPress.

Daily Edition Theme by WooThemes - Premium WordPress Themes