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Is anyone pondering the economic impact of driverless vehicles?

 
 
neologist
 
  2  
Wed 27 May, 2015 11:19 am
Quote:
Is anyone pondering the economic impact of driverless vehicles?
In the meantime, I am pondering how to avoid personal impact.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Wed 27 May, 2015 11:31 am
@hingehead,
Quote:
I dont mind at all, but you aren't being a sceptic. You're not arguing there won't be change you're just arguing there's been change before.
Thats a pretty unchallenging fact. I think that this will be seismic. You don't. Settled. Move on.


I am interested in the question of whether this change (driverless vehicles) is any more more "seismic" than any other change. There are quite a few ways that this particular technological change is very similar to previous changes.

If you don't find this interesting, than we can move along, but there are historical facts to discuss here. I don't think the facts support your thesis, and you haven't yet explained how driverless cars putting people out of work will be much different than when refrigeration, or plastics, or electricity or telephones put people out of work.

0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Wed 27 May, 2015 05:42 pm
As you requested, I did a little thinking about new business that could take place (I am sure that other people will come up with much better ideas).

With a driverless car

- You can send children to activities meaning new freedom for pre-teens and activities for them. Businesses will spring up to cater to pre-teens without parents with specially trained and certified kid concierges to ensure their safety.

- You can send children to visit grandma in Florida on their own. Along the way will businesses will provide kid safe hotels with each kid being assigned a kid concierge to ensure their safety. (Airlines used to do this).

- You can send pets to doggy day care or a friends house on their own. No more putting puppy in a crate. Puppy can get to his activity on his own. Pet hotels and day camps will spring up.

- Crave Ben and Jerry's at 2 AM? Just send your car for it without you. Businesses will spring up to put things in driverless cars.

- Drive through liquor stores will spring up (since DWI is no longer a problem).
jespah
 
  2  
Wed 27 May, 2015 07:19 pm
Cab driving is, it seems, one occupation that new immigrants get into.

What happens when it's taken away (or at least isn't as ubiquitous or lucrative)? Something will replace it, yes, but what?
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Wed 27 May, 2015 07:41 pm
Ya sure. Just retrain all those sidelined mill workers as computer engineers, or something.
hingehead
 
  0  
Wed 27 May, 2015 07:50 pm
@maxdancona,
Max, that's an awesome insight - kids won't need licences to 'drive'. Wow social change writ large. Parents probably feeling a lot safer with kids in a driverless vehicle going point to point than travelling on a subway. I wonder what the 'legal age' for ordering a DV would be.

The driverless delivery option is interesting. Will need some sort of encrypted 'key' to make sure the right person gets the delivery. And the trust issue will need to be sorted out 'cash before delivery' can be problematic but there's plenty of it going on now (e.g. Amazon) so no shortage of successful models. I wonder if it's an area postal services would invest in.

Drive through liquor stores? Don't you have these in the USA? Lots of pubs in Australia have them. They would just be another 'put things in driverless cars' retailer as opposed to something intrinsically different.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Wed 27 May, 2015 07:52 pm
@roger,
Oh, sarcasm ! Most countries have an over educated work force . Never hear about all the university graduates who cant get work ? Where countries have a social net to catch the disadvantaged, there is a constant problem getting a work force for labour intensive jobs .
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Wed 27 May, 2015 07:56 pm
@roger,
The phenomenon of workers displaced by new technology is sometimes tragic, but it is nothing new.



Quote:

John Henry was a steel driving man,
Drove steel all over the land,
And he said “Fore I’ll let that old steam drill beat me down,
I’ll die with my hammer in my hand, Lord, Lord,
Die with my hammer in my hand.”

Now the man that made that old steam drill,
He thought it mighty fine,
But John Henry drove down fourteen feet,
While that steam drill only made it nine, Lord, Lord,
Steam drill only made it nine.

John Henry’s captain, he set down on a rock,
Said “I think this tunnel’s falling in,”
Then John Henry smiled at his captain and he said,
“Now boss, that’s my hammer sucking wind, Lord, Lord,
Boss, that’s my hammer sucking wind.”

John Henry he had a sweet little woman,
Her name was Polly Ann,
And while John, he was sick and he lay down on his bed,
Little Polly drove that steel like a man, Lord, Lord,
Polly drove that steel like a man.

John Henry hammered in the mountain side,
‘Til his hammer caught on fire,
And the last word that poor John Henry said,
“Give me a cool drink of water ‘fore I die, Lord, Lord,
Cool drink of water ‘fore I die.”

They took John Henry to the graveyard,
Six feet under the sand
And every time a freight train would come a’rolling by,
They’d say, "Yonder lies a steel driving man"




hingehead
 
  2  
Wed 27 May, 2015 08:06 pm
@maxdancona,
I'm with Roger. It's nothing new, but the skills being displaced aren't as easily transferable as they were in the past. Finish the railway, work in a foundry that makes hardware for the railway.

If your job was lifting heavy things and now robots lift heavy things what do you do? I do think this is different.

Look what a decline in manufacturing did to Detroit. Now remove a significant employer of low-skilled workers (detroit autoworkers weren't low-skilled, they were specialists so more 'flexible and mobile') in every country in the world.

We're not going to see more jobs created making these cars, existing jobs will move from driven to driverless manufacture - the computing hardware side is already massively automated and outsourced to cheap labour countries.

Most of the stuff we've thought of doesn't create new industries it just allows for the disintermediation of workers between producer and consumer.

maxdancona
 
  1  
Wed 27 May, 2015 10:16 pm
@hingehead,
The hand-weavers who were displaced by power looms during the industrial revolution in 1800s would disagree with you. Many of them were unable to get any job-- the unemployment rate for these workers was very high and the wages (if a job were available) weren't high enough to live on.

Technological advance often comes with economic upheaval. There are always winners and losers.

This is true for driverless cars in the 21st century. It was also true for hand weavers in the 19th century. The product was textiles, and people had been producing and buying textiles for century. The new technology didn't create a new industry. It just allowed for the "disintermediation of workers between producer and consumer."

This is the same process.
hingehead
 
  3  
Wed 27 May, 2015 10:49 pm
@maxdancona,
Still disagree with you on the scale, speed and nature of the change.

But taking your case for weavers.

Weaving was a cottage industry prior to the industrial revolution.

The number of looms in the UK went from 2400 to 25000 in 50 years (1803 to 1857)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textile_manufacture_during_the_Industrial_Revolution

So who operated, manufactured and maintained those looms? That's over 250,000 new jobs. It bought down the price of woven goods, promoted global trade (demand for cotton). It drove the industrial revolution. Accelerated the development of steam power and transport routes (notably canals and eventually rail). Created a working class and birthed the middle class. In parts of the western world.

It dragged people into the workforce. It massively expanded the market for the goods produced by dropping the production price. I still see it as different to the potential impact of driverless cars - which I don't see dragging people into the workforce and won't drop the price of goods directly, only their transport costs.

Of course technological change causes upheaval. I don't know why you insist on pronouncing the obvious when it's, well, obvious. My intention was to draw on people's imaginations about the possible implications. Why do you have a problem with me asking the question and engaging peoples thoughts? Do you find generalities more comfortable than specifics?

When powered flight was introduced no-one predicted hi-jacking. Maybe we would have.

Just go with the flow, this is just brain fun.
Ragman
 
  2  
Thu 28 May, 2015 05:54 am
@hingehead,
Computer systems go down and get hacked way too frequently, currently. Driverless or automated cars, no matter what, will always represent a safety hazard. There is and cannot be a totally faultless system. The possibility is always there of danger of fault that kills or maims someone.

Now, if you are putting federal, state, municipal, utility vehicles, mail trucks, and vehicles on a separate part of the road, I can warm up a bit to doing that a bit further.

What about the current state of safety with trains in NA and their safety record? Wouldn't the best and first place to automate further is train transportation? Why don't they try that first and see how that goes?

Otherwise, to steal a phrase from NRA, they'll have to pry my cold dead hands off the wheel.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:11 am
@Ragman,
Ragman,

You really think a computer is more dangerous than a human driver?

Humans get tired and even fall asleep while driving. They get distracted. They get angry. They get lost and take erratic turns at the last moment. They do stupid things like put on makeup or read while driving. They get drunk. They have strokes while driving (and crash). They take dares. Sometimes they plow into crowds of people to make a political point or just for the hell of it.

Computers are far safer than human drivers. You are correct, sometimes something will go wrong with computer drivers. But you are nuts if you think that putting your life in the hands of a human driver is any safer. There are 30,000 deaths in the US each year from human drivers.

There is nothing more dangerous than a human driver.
Ragman
 
  1  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:15 am
@maxdancona,
frankly...both have the potential to be dangerous. Humans are awful critters but there a mile ahead of whatever is or would be in second place. Human condition is what it is...computer systems are and will be flawed; however, giving up control is against my belief system. It's bad enough I have no control on planes, buses and trains.

Hell people will still put baby carriers loaded with babies on roof of cars even with automated cars...automate some warning signals for that too, I hope.Why don't they have that now?

So one is less offensive to my sense of desiring control.
Ionus
 
  1  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:17 am
@maxdancona,
We had a rash of older drivers some years back who would look over their shoulder to reverse out of a spot near a footpath, and put their foot on the accelerator and drive into pedestrians, killing in one instance a baby . Never mind selecting reverse... Rolling Eyes

We also had older drivers driving on the wrong side of a split four lane highway .

The one that has garnished the biggest response is 18 yr olds killing everyone in their car through hooning around .
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:18 am
@Ragman,
If by letting computers do the driving we could reduce the deaths from automobile accidents by 50% (meaning we would save 15,000 lives each year), would you change your mind?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:29 am
@hingehead,
Hingehead, everything you say about between building looms can also be said about building driverless cars.

People had to manufacture looms. People will have to manufacture new sensors and hardware for the new cars. The cars will make transportation much cheaper (since paying human drivers is expensive) and thus lower the cost of delivery.

We can leave this debate if it isn't interesting. I am just pointing out that to me, this new technological advance seems to have the same sort of impacts as earlier technological advances.
hingehead
 
  1  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:38 am
@maxdancona,
As I've already said max- we are already manufacturing a shitload of cars and computer processors. If anything there will be fewer cars in this scenario because they will be more efficiently utilised. How many hours a day do you use your car? I'd be 'lucky' to get an hour a day out of mine.
hingehead
 
  2  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:43 am
I imagine its the same around the world but there are people in oz who fetishize vehicles.I'm sure there will still be a market for owned human driven vehicles. Much like you can still buy books, vinyl and home brewing kits.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:53 am
@hingehead,
Everything you are saying about driverless cars you can also say about power looms.

They also manufactured a "shitload" of textiles and hand looms before machine looms. People wore clothes long before this point in time.

The reason that power looms were so successful is efficiency. You need fewer power looms than you need hand looms because they will be more efficiently utilized. Machine manufactured textiles are much cheaper than hand made textiles because humans are being cut out of the process. Humans are expensive and the savings you enjoy from buying machine made clothing comes from the fact that humans have been cut out of the process.

How many hours a day can you weave on a hand loom? I would be lucky to get an hour a day on mine.

 

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