The robots are coming for your job … and what then?

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2014, file photo, truck drivers stop at a gas station in Emerson, Ga., north of metro Atlanta, to fill up their tractor trailer rigs. A new government rule being announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, requires an estimated 3 million commercial truck and bus drivers to electronically record their hours behind the wheel in an effort to enforce regulations to prevent fatigue. (AP Photo/David Tulis, File)

Because this election season has been hijacked by a huckster and turned into a ratings-driven reality show, we’re not talking — at least not in serious terms — about what’s really happening to jobs in this country, and how we might adapt to that change.

Take Georgia as an example. Our state economy has long been based on the efficient transportation of goods and people. In fact, according to federal job-classification data, more people work as drivers in Georgia — truck drivers, bus drivers, cab drivers, van and shuttle drivers, delivery drivers — than in any other single profession in the private sector. According to those statistics, almost 120,000 Georgians make their living behind a steering wheel.

And with the expansion of the Port of Savannah and a huge public investment in the the state’s freight-movement network, state officials even worry that the demand for qualified drivers is going to exceed the supply.

truckjobs

The most common job in each state, using 2014 data

Look a few years ahead, though, and things change dramatically. Auto companies such as Ford, Tesla and Toyota are investing billions of dollars in autonomous self-driving vehicles, as are technology companies such as Google and Apple.  In less than a generation, perhaps in a decade, experts in the field predict that most if not all driving jobs will fall victim to robotics. Uber and Lyft are also heavily involved, already foreseeing the day when you’ll summon a driverless car.

If all this sounds a bit too sci-fi, I sympathize. But back in 1990, how much of today’s world would have seemed equally unlikely? Those companies aren’t investing that kind of capital in something that might happen; that’s the kind of money you invest to ensure that it happens. Last year, for example, Freightliner introduced and licensed its first road-ready self-driving 18-wheeler, which it calls “Inspiration,” and it’s already being tested on public highways.

The benefits of moving human beings from behind the wheel are enormous. More than 90 percent of auto accidents are caused by human error; eliminating humans will eliminate those errors and the tens of thousands of annual fatalities that come with them. Ask the families of those five young Georgia Southern nursing students killed in a trucking accident on I-16 last year about the value of such a change.

Then there’s the economics of it. Self-driving trucks don’t need to sleep, they don’t need vacations, they don’t need a health care plan or pension and they don’t get an hourly wage. They are on the road 24 hours a day.

However, as a price of that efficiency, tens of thousands of Georgians and millions of Americans nationwide will lose their profession, with no real idea of where they can turn next. It’s the next chapter in an ongoing narrative in which millions of good-paying manufacturing jobs have disappeared in the last 30 years, stripping families of the middle-class incomes that those jobs once provided and fueling an air of ugly desperation in our political debates.

Contrary to much of that debate, manufacturing hasn’t declined in this country. The golden age of U.S.-based manufacturing is today — even adjusted for inflation, American factories produce twice as much as they did 30 years ago. They just do it more efficiently. And while the history of technology tells us that better-paid jobs have always popped up to replace those that vanished, you do have to wonder whether at some point, that history ends.

And if it has, what do we do about it?

Reader Comments 0

1339 comments
John Washington
John Washington

Well, once robots replace us, leaving us no income to live on, let alone enough to re-train for another job, the wealthy will simply blame us for being lazy and not wanting to work. The economy will collapse since there won't be any money going into it (after all, it's the middle class that drives the economy), and the wealthy will blame that on us as well.

Starlan Hoke
Starlan Hoke

Yes at the WORLD FAIR IN 65 half of the things are here

RamonMendoza
RamonMendoza

Thank you for shining a light on the REAL jobs problem in this country.  Employers aren't so saddled with taxes and regulations that they can't create jobs.  They don't create those jobs because they don't NEED to.  Today's worker is far more efficient than those of the previous generation largely due to technological advances.  Why hire 100 workers when 75 can meet the same demand?

Robert Diggle
Robert Diggle

Maybe we could get a robot journalist! Oops! We already have one.... Robot for the socialist party.

Roger Xavier Jackson
Roger Xavier Jackson

They will kill just as many people, robots malfunction to. Robot mechanics next to fix themselves. Soon they will take over the planet and enslave all white people on welfare

Xavier Gingerbreadman Bledsoe
Xavier Gingerbreadman Bledsoe

I wonder what a robot will do when the fuel island is blocked, or someone blocks then in at a truckstop? What about a blown headlight, or a lost mudflap?

Matt Peacock
Matt Peacock

IMO, Manufacturing demand has decreased while capacity is at peak. 

David Howard
David Howard

No no no no no no not on the streets that my tax dollars pay for

RantNRave
RantNRave

To all of you cons who support or do not


support The Chump !



Here's a thought:



We all will get SCREWED if he is elected


President.



Here's another thought:



The Chump is not my type !


K



rimsky
rimsky

Let’s hope Donald Trump wasn’t planning on taking his private jet to Europe anytime soon: The number of cities that would welcome him is shrinking by the day. 

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo became the latest head of a European capital to speak out against the presumptive U.S. Republican presidential nominee. 

“Mr. Trump is stupid,” Hidalgo said this week while meeting with new London Mayor Sadiq Khan — also not a Trump fan. “He’s very stupid. My God.”////////

I guess the Mayor was sugar quoting her views.

Peachs
Peachs

The cons want to be isolationist anyway, so this really fits into the Republican plan. The only time they want to go to Europe is when they have guns in their hands!

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@rimsky @InTheMiddle2 I guess we can take down the fence around the WH, then?  Are you going to petition the Vatican to tear down their wall?

RantNRave
RantNRave

@InTheMiddle2


And you cons need to build a


yuuuugggeee mirror !



Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

DP, I saw this below:


I know the liberal/Democratic Party establishment has reacted to the WV result with barely concealed contempt, but it might be wise not to dismiss the results there, and the long-term implications for the Democratic Party, too quickly. 


...and I didn't take that personally, realize you're directing it elsewhere. But to make it clear, I simply wanted to point out that it's a very small sliver of a rather small state who even trouble themselves to vote in this thing (scheduled as it is toward the end of a grueling primary race).

(And hey, I really like what I've seen of WV. We've had several long ski-weekend vacays up there. Wish it weren't so long a drive.)

Basically, I agree that a 50 state strategy ought to be just that, and you can't write off a place like WV. OTOH, as others pointed out, Hils clobbered Obama last time out, and you have to wonder just what it is motivating those hardy few who bother to vote in a primary where the party's nominee is basically doomed anyway. (as we Georgians can sadly attest.)

Maybe in WV it's just raw bigotry against first a black man, then against a woman; more likely it's more a middle finger to the Democratic establishment's apparent pick at that point, or some messy combination of the two.

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@Visual_Cortex The Democratic Party's anti-coal stance is a big middle finger to West Virginia.  Plus the old blue dog Democrats (would vote for a blue dog if the Dems ran him) are dying off.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Saudi officials were 'supporting' 9/11 hijackers, commission member says

First serious public split revealed among commissioners over the release of the secret ‘28 pages’ that detail Saudi ties to 2001 terrorist attacks

A former Republican member of the 9/11 commission, breaking dramatically with the commission’s leaders, said Wednesday he believes there was clear evidence that Saudi government employees were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers and that the Obama administration should move quickly to declassify a long-secret congressional report on Saudi ties to the 2001 terrorist attack.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/12/911-commission-saudi-arabia-hijackers?CMP=share_btn_tw


PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Peachs  Almost makes you wonder who was POTUS when the 9/11 report was issued and decided to not release the famous redacted pages.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Donnie_Pinko

Well hell's bells, it's not like everyone wasn't aware that this Godforsaken kingdom had spawned and supported the cray-crayest perversions of Islam going back a century, already.

This is just a detail.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@Donnie_Pinko The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has donated between $10 million and $25 million to Clinton's family charity, the Clinton Foundation. Another group called Friends of Saudi Arabia has given the Clinton Foundation between $1 million and $5 million.  Nothing to see heah, though, amirite?

Peachs
Peachs

You will find their name on the Bush contributions too. The oil relationship between Texas and Saudia Arabia is a real brotherhood !

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@Nick_Danger @DownInAlbany @Donnie_Pinko I'm saying that you can't have it both ways.  You can't, out of one side of your mouth yell, "..they sponsored the terrorists who flew those jets into the WTC" and say it's "ok to take money from them."  (but, I'm pretty sure you knew that already!)

Peachs
Peachs

Second only to the NRA!

Peachs
Peachs

Actually they will be released during Obama's administration.

Peachs
Peachs

Damage has already been done, horses out of the barn. Now vote for Trump, get him-elected, and you have done the impossible. Downs, you have made it so bad in America, that we will wish we had the Bushes back in office.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@DownInAlbany @Donnie_Pinko  In other news, Saudi Arabia is the largest foreign purchaser of US arms in the world - purchasing $billions (with a "B") of arms over the last couple of decades.  Wonder why they are treated with kid gloves

TBS
TBS

The Saudis just started purchasing arms from the US when Clinton became SoS

Remember you stated all facilitated by....

Before you answer

Show your work

Thought so.. Just yapping like usual

FYI: was glad to assist with the stand down info earlier

Lol

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Can you imagine the pathetic souls of the folks bidding for Zimmerman's gun?

Trumpshair
Trumpshair

@Donnie_Pinko @Trumpshair So its now decent to brag about putting people out of work? Its now decent to want men using the bathroom with little girls? Its now decent to spend countless trillions of our tax dollars to keep people down? Who knew....

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@Trumpshair Talking about sinking to a new low. Of course worse than that would the one that buys it

TBS
TBS

Projecting what you did when you read the article

Hilarious

Trumpshair
Trumpshair

@Donnie_Pinko @Trumpshair I didn't know he was a raciest. I do know he was exonerated for a crime that "you people" presumed he was guilty of. That was mighty decent of you... But answer me this. How can a Hispanic guy be raciest? I thought it was only whites?