Job Loss due to Elimination of Self-Driving Vehicles in 19th Century
The story I am about to tell is a true story, but I lack any information about how often it happened. I shall leave it to you the reader to make your guesses.
To clarify some initial confusion, one should keep in mind that most land transportation especially the “last mile to the customer” used horse-drawn vehicles.
Nowhere was this more true that the enormous beer wagons pulled by those magnificent and massive Clydesdale horses.
Of course those enormous beer were far too large to make deliveries of kegs of beer to local taverns, restaurants and pubs.
Therefore, it was off-loaded to smaller beer wagons, each of which had its defined delivery route. (Some among you may have already seen where this is headed).
The grandfather of a friend of mine used to drive such a wagon, although as you will come to realize it is a stretch to consider him the “driver” of that beer wagon.
The fact of the matter is that he was drunk almost all the time, but the horse knew the route, and would stop at each eating or drinking establishment that was a customer on that route.
For all intents and purposes that beer wagon was a driver-less vehicle because my friend’s grandfather was in such a stage of inebriation and drunken stupor I doubt if you could navigated the traffic in the streets. However the horse could.
Well technology marches forward and they replaced the horse drawn trucks with internal-combustion engine trucks, and those definitely needed an alert and sober driver.
My friend’s grandfather lost his job to more advanced technology at that time.
Of course, if it had been driver-less internal combustion engine trucks then he might have kept his job ,,, in truth is was a sales job. Then again a spiffy AI could do that job, and if it was an automation that resembles a robot the picture would be complete … with one possible, very tiny, but perhaps very significant consideration.
I feel certainly my friend’s grandfather’s customer solicited his opinion about various beers (again something the AI robot could do), but more importantly, the fact that my friend’s grandfather’s state of inebriation was living proof of the efficacy of the product he was selling.
An AI robot stimulating inebriation would be false advertising, and illegal.
Perhaps this little parable could stimulate some thinking about what skills, abilities, or just aspects of the human condition will resist displacement by automation, robotics, and Artificial Intelligence.
I hope some people can identify those aspects of people that may consistently and inevitably elude automation.