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What does the Amazon Prime Air experiment say about the future of work? - Stowe Boyd — Gigaom Research

http://research.gigaom.com/2013/12/what-does-the-amazon-prime-air-experiment-say-about-the-future-of-work/

I scratched my head a little after watching the Amazon Prime Air video (see here), and considered the impact of delivery drones and autonomous vehicles on the future of work:

[…]the big question about drones and autonomous vehicles in general is about the impact on work. Right off the bat, the several million people (mostly men) employed as truck and delivery drivers will be out of a job. Yes, some of them might get work in the Amazon warehouses, but as soon as AI and robots are up to it, those jobs will be gone too.

This won’t be limited to megacorporations like Amazon, although Amazon might be planning to leverage this as an additional industry disruptor, like they’ve done with Amazon’s elastic computing technologies. Imagine a local florist, Bette, in downtown Beacon NY (my home) wanting to make a delivery to a local customer’s home. No longer reliant on Ralph, her former part-time driver, she simply logs into Amazon Prime Air, types in some details, and twenty minutes later a drone touches down in the loading zone outside her store, picks up the flowers for Mrs Johnson, and takes off for North Brett Street.

Of course, her flowers arrive by an autonomous truck three times weekly, and her Samsung Smart Pallet communicates with the truck, gathers her flowers, and brings them to her cold room, without the services of Sheila, her former part-time assistant.

But Ralph and Sheila are off starting microbusinesses, where autonomous vehicles make the economics work.

Read the rest.

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