Its been coming slowly in the background for a while now and I guess maybe, maybe not coming from an area which has a couple of large car manufacturing plants we`ve seen jobs become automated over the last 20 years or so. I guess that's nothing new other than now its hitting more and more sectors.
Do Not Pay
Do not pay is a as it describes the worlds first robot lawyer. Developed by Joshua Brower an 18 year old computer scientist it is a multiple choice option site that guides you through the process of appealing a car park ticket. Now whilst you may argue that you would never employ a lawyer to argue such a ticket the data mining over time by such sites and the development of more complex algorithms to handle more complex questions is surely in the making. One can imagine a no win no fee case with a fall at work where one merely answers a series of online questions of how the accident happened to determine the outcome. Potentially with another algorithm on the other side to reach a conclusion.
Last month you would of no doubt seen death of Tesla owner Joshua Brown when the car in autonomous mode failed to distinguish between a white truck and an off white sky at an intersection. Whilst obviously Tesla sympathised with the family and claimed a full investigation would take place they did say that the average distance for a car death was 90 million miles opposed to this autonomous Tesla death which was at 130 million miles. Tesla also state that the driver has to remain in full control of the vehicle whilst in autonomous mode which covers them insurance wise. Which is interesting as when Volvo release their version Drive Me it`ll be Volvo taking the liability for failure, that's how confident they are in the system.
Uber headlined this week with a plan to roll out fully autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh, thus reducing the low income taxi driver to a zero income taxi driver. Daimler continue to develop autonomous systems for long distance trucking an industry worth over $50B.
Smacc is an accountancy start up that generated $3.5M in its first round of capital investment. An AI solution to those dreaded yearly return.
The premise to all these applications is as more data is collected and the systems learn how to manage that data then over time the application continues to improve. One just has to have market share to grab the data.
Which brings us to is the question Switzerland voted on earlier this year and the idea of a universal income, a guaranteed income that doesn't equate to minimum wage but in the case of Switzerland $2,500 a month. If the white collar is now being felt up as much as the blue collar then the question arises if we continue to automate as we are doing what are people going to be doing in 20 years time.
The Swiss voted the proposal down 77-23% and with an unemployment rate of around 2-3% it not hard to see why. But it`d be interesting to see the demographic of how that 23% was made up and if in 10 years time as automation in the workplace become more and more common that 23% become 43%.
Of course the obvious argument is given the opportunity people would just sit around drinking booze all day. But if we asked the bigger questions of say "How can clean up the entire planet" "How can we stop using fossil fuel" "How to end Poverty" or even try to answer one of the 17 UN SDG goals then I'm sure that instead of asking a no win no fee lawyer to defend an arthritic thumb case or an accountant to undertake an annual tax return, those minds could be put to better use.