Are we heading into a storm – rise of the machines or rise of man?

A question I currently ponder is that of where are we heading now; as a father and an engineer I see a lot of innovation every day and it’s a question that fills me with both excitement and fear.

I’m excited because every day we see new technologies which simplify our lives or make certain tasks easier, but on the flip side I see the knock on effects of these innovations through the replacement of humans.

It’s a controversial subject which is very hard to truly analyse as there are many factors at play. To help to lead you down my thought process (and please bear in mind this is purely random thoughts written whilst in bed, and I am open to my views changing), I give a few examples of the good an d the bad of tech:

Stage 1 – Uber

Lets look at Uber, so they have revolutionised the way we travel. They have used technology to streamline the whole booking of taxi’s worldwide (still only in major cities, however the service is slowly stepping outwards; as off writing this Uber is active with 1 driver in Woking – Woking being a town very near to me).

Uber has done some great things, and at the same time pissed off some people along the way.

The great:

  • Made the process of taxi transportation booking easy
  • Caused a pricing change within the taxi market
  • Increased competition

The not so great:

  • Increased the number of taxis in the world
  • Effectively destroying the income of many Taxi drivers globally.
  • Creating miss jobs with lower earning opportunity

I will never forget a time I was travelling early in the morning to San Francisco Airport and being driven by an Uber driver;  I had recently got into using the service during a visit to the states.

The Uber driver I got was very negative towards the app, stating that the Silicon Valley was not all that it seemed and that it was not really affording him a reasonable income. To be honest the guy came across crazed and a bit suicidal, which made the journey one that was memorable; he did deliver me safely to the airport and apologised saying he’d had a bad day.

This has played on my mind ever since, and add the news showing many protests towards Uber across the globe, particularly Paris and London, it leads me to believe this could be the start of a problem.  A problem which will effect us more than we comprehend at this time.

Stage 2 – Google Automated Cars

I once tweeted that the future will be Google style self automated cars which will be managed by the app Uber.

I now think this won’t be the case, I think eventually Google will work out the niggles with the self driving cars, and will eventually run there own “Google Drive” service probably linked to Google wallet and advertised on Google Maps etc…

Ok, so the day this comes we start to look at what happens.  Well Uber has a competitor, and Google can just annaliate them by undercutting there pricing.  All independent taxi companies go under; assuming Uber hasn’t destroyed them already.

So now we have an influx of redundant out of work txt drivers, and Uber drivers.

Stage 3 – Google Robotics

Google makes headway thanks to improvement in machine learning etc… They produce a robot which is mass manufactured to cost less than a persons annual salary.

The robots start to to take over mundane jobs such as cleaning and repetitive tasks.

An influx of unemployed cleaners arrive, next manufacturing staff, the list hen goes on.
The tech companies are booming with profits being made from all industries and markets.  Unemployment increases globally.

The companies involved in tech get richer and the world gets poorer.

This then surely leads to an increase in crime, and violence and finally a full uprising against the machines.

Who would/will win the fight, and who should is still up for debate in my head.

I’m all waffled out for now, and open to hopefully a better outlook on the subject occurring in my mind.