truckers threatened by robots

The jobs of many are threatened by automation. This includes truckers and those who work in the network of truck stops that serve them. Leslie Hook has written a long, fascinating essay on the subject for this weekend’s Financial Times Magazine.

[Jim Scheinman, a venture capitalist in California, believes that in the near future] “It won’t be ‘cars’ or ‘trucks’, it will just be robots. Then you have a much more perfect system, because you don’t have humans making mistakes.”

This kind of thinking is setting Silicon Valley up for a clash with the rest of the country, where those “humans making mistakes” represent millions of jobs under threat from automation. In Washington, President Donald Trump has made American jobs a cornerstone of his economic agenda, and has shown a fondness for truckers in particular. ….

President Trump has routinely lambasted companies that he accuses of moving jobs overseas. It can only be a matter of time, some fear, before he turns his attention to the threat posed to American jobs by robots — and, in particular, self-driving vehicles — precisely at the moment when these technologies are on the verge of maturing.

Leslie Hook, “Out of road: driverless vehicles and the end of the trucker“, FT Magazine, 1 April 2017 (gated paywall).

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