Can anyone make the case that automated trucks will even be net jobs neutral rather than the disaster shown here? The big push is ON. You can see it already, basically using car safety statistics to make the case that this automotive automation is not even optional, a case of when not if.
Well hold on a moment. Just because we can does not mean we should. Nor must we assume with all this upcoming technology automation is the only or even the best way to go overall. The advocates message unsubtle is We Can Not Be Trusted Anymore. Of course you won’t see them say it quite like that.
Advocates gently admit the tech needs more work. Far too gently. Privacy disappears. Hacking becomes a possibility. Massive server capacities will be needed. Onboard and off. What they just happen to forget to mention is that every major deployment of new technology un uncovers unexpected technical flaws. Accident statistics clearly show the root cause of many accidents is caused by nothing more than a drivers unwillingness to just drive. To give full attention to the task. Dialing or texting or any online activity. Essentially we are deciding we’d rather not be bothered, that online activity is so essential we need to develop automation so nobody has to drive.
Well my opinion at this point is that vehicular automation should never be more than an aid, a backup to human or environmental issues. Is it really that big a loss to be offline on your commute? I want that big truck and the little tesla full of mom and kids to always have a human in the loop. That’s my humanistic argument the reader may add to the economic points below.
Let’s look at the trains. We want to add positive control to the operator of the train. Not remove the human, thinking element. For all that we can carp on human error, the human mind, especially at full attention brings great value to the table. A literally invaluable and inestimable value. Sure a distracted driver is a negative. So is crashed software.
It should be clear at a glance just how dependent the American economy is on truck drivers. According to the American Trucker Association, there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the US, and an additional 5.2 million people employed within the truck-driving industry who don’t drive the trucks. That’s 8.7 million trucking-related jobs.
We can’t stop there though, because the incomes received by these 8.2 million people create the jobs of others. Those 3.5 million truck drivers driving all over the country stop regularly to eat, drink, rest, and sleep. Entire businesses have been built around serving their wants and needs. Think restaurants and motels as just two examples. So now we’re talking about millions more whose employment depends on the employment of truck drivers. But we still can’t even stop there.