When I was a child the image I had of ‘the future’ was very much based on… ‘The Jetsons’. For those of you too young to remember this classic – this was a cartoon family from the ‘future’ who had all the gadgets that you could ever want. They were dressed automatically in the morning, fed by tablets that turned into a roast chicken when put in the oven ….and floated around everywhere on jet packs or flying cars.
Everything they did was just made that much easier by machinery and robots. I just couldn’t wait for all this to happen – my young life was just full of jobs that I was convinced could easily be handled by some automaton.
Washing up, cleaning, shopping …. jeez…all so boring.
I’m not that old …but I can clearly remember having just a black and white TV that we huddled round watching BBC 1 – there was nothing much on but we watched anyway. I can also remember ITV starting, and the wonder of BBC 2. My mother was convinced poor people watched ITV and intellectuals watched BBC 2 – it was literally that clear.
As I have grown up I have appreciated the arrival of –
Ordering food on line and having it delivered
Robotic lawn mower
Sky TV, film downloads
Music available to download…
…and more recently
Electric mountain bike
Wi-fi in my car
But with all these inventions coming at me thick and fast I’m just beginning to have one or two concerns about where we are headed? Are we just hurtling towards a scenario when we as humans have very little left to actually ‘do’…and have we thought about the consequences of this…??
Driverless cars. Ok I’m getting the point of this…the roads are just getting busier and busier and much of the time that you are in a car you aren’t actually moving. In fact, the majority of the time a machine could take the strain and just gradually move you along in heavy traffic whilst you read the paper or maybe did the crossword…or maybe even had a kip? So maybe a feature that can be switched on when traffic is so busy that your boredom level is at such a point that you need the car to self-drive.
But what happens to all the drivers of commercial vehicles who become unemployed as driverless lorries and container trucks take over the roads? What happens to all the mechanics who have trained so religiously on internal combustion engines that suddenly have nothing to do when electric vehicles with few moving parts suddenly become the ‘norm’.
All that skill and expertise gone to waste when all you have to do is ..plug it in… or maybe switch it off and on again??
All that shopping on line and Amazon related buying …. that we all do – amazing though it is – this is all stuff that you used to do by going to the shops and walking around and putting your hand into your pocket getting your wallet out and paying. You did this by interacting with people and shops and people in cafes and people attending you in the car park and people helping you load the car etc etc etc.
If you do this all on line – what do all these people do that used to help you and serve you… do now??…their jobs are all now done by machine??
…and it doesn’t end there.
Pretty much every job that you think of – can potentially be done by machine. Doctors can be replaced by a diagnostic computer that you breathe into. Surgery can be performed by robots…and this weekend I read that ‘sex robots’ will become the norm and there are already brothels with just robots to serve the desires of both the men and women that want this sort of thing…
I’m getting a few warning vibes being felt…. there may be trouble ahead???
Luckily, I reckon that all this shite will really hit the fan once I’ve retired so I’m not over worried. I’m also thinking that maybe somebody will read this blog in the future and realise that Mike Clough had sussed all this out – but just wasn’t listened too enough for anyone to act.
So maybe I will be looked up to once I’m dead…