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Candle in the wind

              Image result for servant lighting candles

This morning was rainy. As is normal for rainy days, it was cloudy and gloomy as I dressed for work. All I had to do was flip a switch and there was light.

Two hundred years ago, what did people do on gloomy rainy mornings? They lit a candle. If you were rich, your servant, probably the footman, (learned that from watching Downton Abbey) lit a candle chandelier. And when all the candles burned down to a stub, your servant went around the estate collecting all the stubs. The stubs went back to the candle maker, who then furnished new candles and sold the stubs to the poor folks.

Then Edison came along with electric bulbs. What happened to the candle maker? He probably went out of business. I doubt that the candle maker had the skill, knowledge, or the money to go into the bulb business. He probably went to work for somebody who owned a bulb factory. I wonder if the candle maker’s life was any better.

It’s the same today. We worry about being replaced by a robot or some artificial intelligence software. It a real worry. It’s happening right now. Self-driving vehicles or drones from Amazon will replace truck drivers. What will the truck drivers do? We don’t know.

Economists say that the truck drivers will get another job just like the candle makers did, but the economists cannot tell you what job. In fact, economists are guessing and if they guess wrong, they won’t suffer at all. It’s the truck drivers who will suffer.

I know, let's replace all the economists with artificial intelligence software and let the economists worry about their jobs. It’s fair.


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