CBS 60 Minutes segment on driverless automated trucking

I agree completely. This is different. More jobs will be displaced then ever before in our industrial history. It’s not just transportation jobs…this is going to hit almost every sector.

With all vehicles being fully autonomous…

. Fewer police needed because of the drastically reduced traffic problems and accidents.
. ER emergencies will be drastically reduced…So fewer doctors and nurses.
. Auto insurance industry.
. Many families may/should be able to have just one vehicle.

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I work in a level 2 Trauma Center in PA (I haven’t checked the numbers lately, but we’re usually top 3-5 in ER visits per year in PA). While we would certainly decrease the number of visits if all cars would be automated, they don’t make up more than maybe 10-15% of our number of visits per year. We see far more medical emergencies (heart attacks, strokes, CHF, ortho injuries from falls, flu/pneumonia, etc) Our ER team has a saying “people will always come up with new and creative ways to hurt themselves”


Those who stand in the way of progress may end up getting run over. Any changes or advancements that lower the cost of doing business are bound to eventually stick, no matter the impact on jobs.

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That’s probably true.

That’s a significant number.

I wouldn’t call it a drastic reduction, though. It won’t be as low census as we were early COVID.

My seventh grade agriculture teacher always had a placard with some slogan. One slogan that sticks in my mind was: “People Who Look Ahead Seldom Fall Behind”. I thought about that all through my teaching career.
When I started teaching at the university where I had a 44 year tenure, there was no computer science department. I well remember the discussion about trying to hire computer science faculty. The problem was that industry was paying three times what the university could pay. I thought about the slogan my agriculture teacher posted. I made the comment that if we couldn’t hire computer science faculty, we could “grow our own”. When everyone laughed at my idea, I signed up for classes at an institution 50 miles away and took the classes for credit as well as teaching a full load. I did this on my own dime. The sad thing was that some of my colleagues were resentful of what I was doing.
I always believed that education should prepare a person for many jobs. It should teach people to think. Unfortunately, we are too hung up on education being a product instead of a process. Drilling students to take statewide tests from elementary school through high school is not educating the students to look ahead to the future.


+1 to @Triedaq I can’t upvote this enough.

Spot on. Colleagues stuck in the box wringing their hands… Triedaq looked ahead and took action.

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@Mustangman. Thank you for the compliment. I always tried to instill in my students the need to think about the future, and that the coursework they were doing was laying a foundation to build on for what they would need to learn in the future.
I had really great classes the last semester I taught. At the beginning of the semester I tell them my the grading scale. I begin by saying this:“I have lowered my standards. It used to be that if you don’t know any more than I know at the end of the semester, you don’t pass the course. Now, if at the end of the semester, if you don’t know any more than I do, the highest grade you can get is a ‘C’. The ‘A’ and ‘B’ grades are for students who complete this class knowing more than I know. Civilization won’t progress if your generation doesn’t become more knowledgeable than my generation”.
One day toward the end of my last semester, before retirement, I had presented a solution to a problem. One student in the class spoke up and said, “I think there is a simpler solution”. I invited her to come up to the chalkboard and shoe her way of solving the problem. Her solution was elegant. I stood back and remarked, “Young lady, that’s outstanding. You get an ‘A’ for the day”. I then said, “On the other hand, you really showed up your old prof. I think your grade today is an ‘F’”. As the class started laughing, I said, "I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll average the two grades and give you a ‘C’ ". When the class stopped laughing, I reminded them of what I had said at the beginning of the semester about the grading scale. I then said, “This is my last semester. I am retiring at the end of the school year. This is the best retirement present I could have ever dreamed of receiving. When you students can go beyond what we’ve done in the course, I can retire a happy man”.
The room became completely silent. I said, “This is a good place to end the day”.


But what you aren’t considering is that at some point, the machines will be doing the job of doctors, nurses, orderlies, janitors, etc. Some will be sooner than others. Some won’t be replaced (I would guess) at least until after my generation reaches retirement age. But it’s going to happen.

So regardless of how many and what kind of emergencies your ER sees, humans won’t be working them.

Depends on how much more expensive. Most people do NOT buy the low models of ANY vehicle. The mid and upper models are by far better sellers.

And then there’s my kids generation. They don’t like to drive. They’d prefer to be chauffeured around.

There is strong economic incentive to advance the change to automation in trucking.

Not so in cars, as long as sef driving cars are more expensive, most drivers will opt for the cheaper. Unless you have a chauffeur or driver to fire, you won’t save any money by having self driving technology.

Have you heard about Amazon Scout? If not, look it up. We make some parts for that program and it’s no joke. The pace of development, like most technology is accelerating…

The vision that is being pushed is that when cars can drive themselves, you may not need to own a car. You summon the next available car with a phone app. Sure, it doesn’t work for rural areas so well but for (sub)urban environs, it will probably be a whole lot cheaper, all costs considered.

Just out of curiosity, what do you think the impact on trucking demand has been as more products were produced over seas instead of in regional plants? Ships full of containers that then must be transported around the country even though a lot of it is done by rail, I still suspect it has increased trucking demand.

I’ll keep my own car, thank you. That way I know I’m in a clean car that is well maintained. And I don’t need to wait for a vehicle to be available and arrive. I’ve ridden too much public transportation and in too many taxis to have any illusions about how clean and how reliably available and on time such on demand cars will be.

Yes, there will come a day I no longer can safely drive but until then I’ll keep my independence and a truly clean, clean smelling car to use as I wish, when, where, and on whim as I wish.


I don’t know how to do multiple replies yet. At any rate I might caution a little that people will choose the “cheaper” route. People buy value and what improves their lives rather than strictly lower cost. They don’t chose to live in a lower cost house, or dine at a lower cost restaurant, or go to a lower cost resort for vacation.


I don’t see machines completely replacing doctors and nurses. Assisting? Sure, that already happens to some extent (robotic assisted surgeries happen in hospitals around the world for instance), but replacing? I highly doubt it. I hate to use a work of science fiction in an argument, but consider Data from Star Trek. He was able to be an assistant for surgical procedures having studied millions of cases, but he was not able to be a surgeon due to how different each person is from one another.

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Bing, I’m addressing the statement that you won’t save any money if you choose that route. I’m betting it will be cheaper for the reasons cited. Whether or not someone decides to choose that route wasn’t the matter of debate.

Good. I’m betting a lot of people will. Notice I said “you may not need to own a car”.

Although some cities have excellent public transportation, many do not. Those are the ones you’ll find exorbitant costs for parking your personal car. Then there’s insurance, maintenance, repairs and the initial purchase price. Invest that money instead. And when they don’t pay someone to drive it, there will be more of them available in the fleet so wait times will be reduced over cabs today. And no public transportation options can ever be as clean as your own car. If that is a primary consideration, then your choice is clear.

Agree. It happens now. Son uses a million dollar piece of equipment to determine where to drill the hole in the skull and to do it, but is still at the direction of a human. Still we use machines all the time now. I’m using one now. I use one to clean the house and do the dishes, cut lumber up, drill holes. I’ve got lots of machines. People in the past envisioned robot butlers going around dusting but that’s just not how it happened and likely won’t in the future.