Remember how Ayn Rand-themed car service Uber is slowly turning the city of Pittsburgh into its own robotics laboratory so that it can save money on paying people to drive cars?
Well, there is one man heading up that effort. His name is Raffi Krikorian, and he’s the lead engineer of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center. Raffi had a public chat with some people in Pittsburgh today, and he talked about his soul.
“One of the things that I do think about a lot when it comes to automation in general is that this takes away jobs from other people,” the former VP of engineering at Twitter said in front of a crowd of about 30 and sprinkled with founders of homegrown Pittsburgh startups, city council members, and engineers last night. “That’s one ethical question I sort of struggle with and think about a lot.”
Krikorian, who's been with Uber since way back in March, has apparently given this enough thought to be totally cool with the idea of potentially replacing the roughly 200,000 drivers that Uber works with, and whom Uber has said about a billion times are the true economic beneficiaries of its business model.
“I’m not worried about taking away jobs,” he said. “I think, one, it hasn’t played out in history that way at all. If we were to figure out a way to automate our way out of everything we would just figure out other things we would do with our time and be productive in that way. I can think of other technologies. We haven’t solved education — that could be the next thing we focus on. There’s a whole slew of ethics around automation in general. I think about all of these broadly, just to make sure I’m fine with the day-to-day work I’m doing.”
See? The drivers will be fine without their incomes. Now let's replace some teachers!