Future of the Workplace?

With all the articles on driverless cars, and workplace automation, you have to wonder, what exactly is behind the emerging technologies.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Bloomberg
    • cites: “… efforts to replace human drivers, the biggest cost in its on-demand taxi service.”
  • Asia – Nikkei  
    • blames a growing economy and aging population

One article I came across on the net indicated that one of the factors behind the push is  a growing population of travelers who no longer care about the ‘joys of driving.’  Dinosaur that I am, I am still trying to get my head around that one.  But it makes sense when I see today’s youth literally wired into their smart phones, unable to remove their attention for even a minute, but deep down I feel there is more to the story.

One thing has remained true throughout the course of human history.  If you want to find the root cause of a thing, ‘follow the money.’

Driverless Cars

I believe there are more factors at play of course, but when/if autonomous vehicle symptoms are perfected, and all the details ironed out, accident rates should fall to near zero.  I hope I am proven wrong, but I simply cannot visualize the automobile insurers just disappearing.  Rates could conceivably be reduced, as an added incentive to invest in autonomous technology, but I don’t feel they will ever disappear.

But imagine how the profit margins of insurance companies will soar, as accident numbers plummet, and rates stay at or near the same.

Workplace Automation.

The same with workplace automation.  Although robotic technology is expected to remain expensive in the near future, costs will eventually decrease due to growing market competition.  Even with maintenance and upgrades, over a 10 year lifespan, an investment in the workplace automation will definitely cost less than a human employee with wages and benefits.  Rising healthcare costs and changes in health insurance are also a contributing factor.

My take on all this?

Point #1) Once again it’s really all about the money.  Behind every Mega-Corp are people.  Wealthy people.  People who became wealthy by using every advantage possible, ethical or not.  No matter who gets hurt.

Point #2  High-Quality Content Creation is going to be increasingly one of the few fields where a person can continue to grow.  Sure, so-called ‘Artificial Intelligence’ may someday replace human content creation, but at present nothing has been revealed to indicate that it will be anytime soon.