Rise of the robots

A Walrus article, Rise of the Robots, claims that “Automated trucks will transform an industry and put millions out of work.”

Hermann is just one of the thousands of truckers who can be found on BC’s roads at any given time. In Canada, more than 1 in every 100 workers is a truck driver, some 300,000 people—it’s the second most common occupation reported by men. In 2010, truck transportation contributed $17.1 billion to our country’s GDP. It’s a similar scene in the United States, where about 3.5 million people drive trucks for a living.

But the job isn’t what it used to be. Gone are the hours spent yakking on the CB radio, the straight runs across the country. And many drivers predict that the days of watching the miles slip by under glinting chrome grills will soon be over altogether. Today, investors in Silicon Valley are pouring millions of dollars into making the first autonomous trucks, which will be able to drive and manage themselves, making humans unnecessary. “If they can get a computer to do my job,” Hermann says, “they can get a computer to do any job.” [continue]

Do you know any people who drive trucks for a living? I do, and it is troubling to think about what will happen when their jobs disappear.

One thought on “Rise of the robots

  1. Hi Mirabilis,
    The consequences for truck drivers will certainly be disastrous, but it seems to me that their plight will not be essentially different from that of the millions of workers already displaced by one innovation or another. The social implications are terrible – a permanent underclass of unemployable, uneducated men (mostly) who are the natural prey of demagogues. A guaranteed universal wage (or something like it) might alleviate the disaster … or not. 🙁

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