MIT Technology Review recently shared an interesting piece entitled “The Relentless Pace Of Automation” which highlights the profound impacts of AI on how we work and what jobs will be ripe for takeout.
As previously noted, autonomous cars are advancing literally everyday and it is estimated they are being positioned to threaten or alter 2.2M to 3.1M jobs in the US alone. What’s more staggering to me is that an estimated 1.7M of those jobs are driving long haul, tractor trailers. Highlighted in the article is a story about Uber’s test last October where it had one of its self driving trucks make a beer (Budweiser) delivery 200 kilometers away on the interstate while the driver spent the majority of the time in the sleeper bed, simply monitoring things via an automated system. This same capability has already been commercialized in Germany with large truck deliveries growing at an exponential rate. They are safer, less likely to make erratic movements on the road and frankly more pleasant than the truckers i encounter.
Further highlighted in the article is a reference to President Obama’s top economic and science advisers report on “Artificial Intelligence, Automation, And the Economy” which highlights the impacts from proliferating AI across industry. The report suggests we are not headed for a catastrophe anytime soon, however it does highlight the need to ensure these populations of workers have a place to go and an opportunity to remain employed. These are the larger societal issues we will all have to deal with as robots take hold.