Technology has been a threat to jobs ever since it was first used. I get that. All technology must improve efficiency in order to lower the cost of the previous technology it is replacing. This covers everything from the car, to the food-processor to the radio. Technology allows us to do things that would have been more expensive without it.
The rise of Uber is just another example of his inexorable movement, or is it? They have completely disrupted the taxi market on a global scale by making it easier (and therefore cheaper) to find a lift when you need one. The fact that the business has been built on the back of some less than desired working conditions has, in the main gone unnoticed. People like convenience and are happy for others to be ‘Ubered’ though I am not so sure that they would be happy for the same to be done to themselves.
But it doesn’t stop there. The firm is now piloting driverless taxis in Los Angeles (or are they driving pilotless taxis?) So now the Uber drivers are going to be ‘Ubered’ themselves.
Over the next decade we are going to see a huge change in the way that service industries are provided. The bank teller is a dying breed and there is talk of shops without staff to serve you. Amazon has already trialled its driverless deliveries. When will it stop?
The answer is that it never will. Low value add jobs will continue to be replaced by technology yet so far humanity has been adept at creating new higher value add jobs to fill the gap. The question is will we be able to keep up with the pace of the technological change? Will technology remove the jobs faster than new ones can be created?
Yes, it will and no, it won’t. Jobs will be lost which will lead to a depression in the market with less money to be able to pay for the technology, followed by an increase in jobs and a renewal of the cycle.
We are in for a long period of Uberisation.