In the UK today is the Queen’s speech, which is the day each year the Government sets out its programme of work for the coming year – what laws it plans to pass.

There has been some mutterings about there not being much in it due to other political things going on at present.

But when historians look back the piece of legislation (assuming it does become law) which will change our society from today are the plans to allow driverless cars onto our roads (sixth item down in their list of points) and the legislative framework for insurance companies to provide policies for vehicles on our roads without humans.

(the bill also outlines the framework for commercial UK space ports as well as extending use of drones – lots in there which will change our society)

This blog first mentioned the concept of driverless cars about six years ago. So on the one hand I am pleased to see this is finally becoming a reality. But on the other, we really need to be considering what this means for us all. In Australia the trucking industry appears to be worried. What needs to also be considered beyond the truck drivers themselves is the insurance industry (fewer accidents, less claims), the healthcare industry (so we have less accidents and less sick people, hurrah, except if you are a physio who makes your living fixing broken people) the mechanics (less accidents, less repair work) as well as all the road side cafes and motels no longer feeding hungry  drivers or providing beds for when they are tired.

This is not the first area robots are changing our work place – I blogged previously about supermarkets and how jobs were being effected post the big global crash of the last decade. What we are still seeing now, eight years on from this crash is high levels of youth unemployment across Europe and in the UK anecdotal evidence of middle-aged workers laid off from whatever they were doing and now competing with young people for entry-level roles and getting them due to the years of experience they bring.

As well as putting legislation in place to allow the technological changes robots bring us, our Government’s should be looking at how to manage the social change which will accompany them. An option I have heard a lot about is the Basic Income idea. This would avoid a great deal of the social issues around a changing economy – there is already hysteria around robots taking jobs.

I am not necessarily advocating the Basic Income at this point, but it certainly is one of the options policy makers should be looking at when they plan how to tackle this likely social change.

It is also possible we could all find alternate jobs which spring up around the rise of the robots. I have heard it argued stable boys thought the coming of the automobile would leave them jobless forever, yet around the automobile industry whole new classes of careers opened up in the factories building them, the garages repairing them, on the oil rigs fueling them and the law firms insuring them. So perhaps all the humans will be working in jobs which haven’t even been invented yet.

 

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When I was a teenager I was semi stalked by a poster of Robert Smith from The Cure.
Lots of people I knew had the exact same poster of Robert with his white face make up, rosy lips, white shirt and flowing mounds of black Goth hair.
Maybe I had a particular type of people I was friends with in my teens, but there was that same poster of Robert looking down at me.
I had heard the odd song by his band The Cure before this stalking incident, but hadn’t paid them a great deal of attention.
But during this period of my life I seemed to hear the Wish album on repeat whoever I was hanging out with.
Friday I’m in Love was the really big and – dare I say – pop ish song on the album, with the immense and fun video they made to promote it.
But the album also has To Wish Impossible Things, a lament to a relationship which didn’t work out which is one of my favourite pieces of music of all time.
A variation on a theme is this line from A letter to Elise “I’ll never really get inside of you / to make your eyes catch fire / the way they should” sums up the sadness felt by everyone who has been in a relationship where you are into them, but they are just not that into you.
On the album there is also Apart. Listen to Robert sing about his broken relationship: “How did we get this far apart? / I thought this love would last forever”
Without fail when I hear this track I want to burst into tears.
While the rhyme in High “When I see you sticky as lips / as licky as trips” always makes me want to giggle as it is just good fun and shows Robert’s less fragile side.
Aside from that beautifully tragic album you should also try more of the band’s back catalogue.
Listen to Boys Don’t Cry, Love Cats and In-between Days or any other song they recorded in the 1980s or early 90s.
Dark soundscapes, black emotions, the depths of despair with the odd moment of elation, but throughout gorgeous music.
The boys from the Mary Whitehouse Experience mercilessly mocked him for being miserable. But like any caricature, they only showed part of the story.
I read an article a while ago which said Robert is still writing songs and the band are undertaking a pretty big tour this year.
In spite of the slightly unconventional and downright weird way I first came to know Robert and his work, I highly recommend the band.
Whether or not you like Goth music or its bastard son Emo (and if you like Emo, The Cure most likely were an influence on the bands you listen to) or guitar music at all – if you enjoy music which moves you emotionally, you should check out the Cure.

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