1.7 Million Truck Drivers May Soon Be Replaced By Robots

14509376_620503061488104_698458009_nBy Jake Anderson

The rise of automation and the impact AI software and robots will have on the global workforce is increasingly on the minds of both economic analysts and everyday citizens. As Anti-Media previously reported, automation stands to fleece 80 million American jobs in the next 10 to 20 years. One of the staples of the American workforce, the trucking industry, could be the next to see the impact of this new economic game changer. New forecasts indicate that over the next ten years, 1.7 million trucker drivers could lose their jobs to robots.

Analysts say that within the next decade, giant automakers and ridesharing companies will easily be able to replace their human employees with driverless trucks. If this happens, it will eliminate one of the only remaining middle-class jobs that does not require a college degree.

The likelihood of this happening is greater than one might think. Earlier this month, Uber announced it would be testing driverless cars in Pittsburgh. The ride-sharing company said its beta rollout would include humans behind the wheel in a supervising capacity. Many took this news as an anomaly, assuming the technology is still far from being utilized. The reality is, autonomous cars are actually closer than you may think from hitting the roadways. It seems integration and monetization are the major unknown factors that remain.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick believes driverless cars won’t destroy jobs so much as replace them with new jobs. The only examples he gives to support this claim are that people will be necessary for “maintaining the fleet” and assisting with dangerous road conditions. However, in the same statement, he projected some bleak numbers:

I can imagine 50,000 to 100,000 drivers, human drivers, alongside a million car network.

This would suggest one human driver for every 10 vehicles in a fleet. This means major job losses, and it would seem the trucking industry is going to be the first to sustain these losses. Stanford analyst and lecturer, Jerry Kaplan, explains why.

We are going to see a wave and an acceleration in automation, and it will affect job markets,” says Kaplan. “Long-haul truck driving is a great example, where there isn’t much judgment involved and it’s a fairly controlled environment.”

Taxis, buses, and delivery vehicles — which account for another 1.7 million jobs — will likely be in next in line, along with ride-sharing drivers.

Such prognostications are spurring some to question whether America will have to implement a Universal Basic Income (UBI) in order to protect people who lose their jobs to robots.

This article (1.7 Million Truck Drivers May Soon Be Replaced By Robots) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Jake Anderson and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

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9 Comments on "1.7 Million Truck Drivers May Soon Be Replaced By Robots"

  1. Maybe for automobiles in the big cities but as far as big trucks going driver-less…this article is BS because it’s never going to happen on public roadways paid for with public tax money. Now if they want to run driver-less trucks on some kind of private roadway that will be all fine and dandy. But driver-less trucks and all the safety issues contained therein are like unicorn sightings especially when bargaining time for contracts for Teamster and other Union driving jobs is either here or on the horizon. It’s never going to happen (on public roadways)…

  2. Actually, driver-less rigs would be a lot safer than human drivers. Let me toss out an example from personal experience.

    My step dad was a long haul driver. He come in on the weekends and drank. Well, he was driving a pick up truck and drunk. He had an accident on his own time, not at all work related. The fact that he got a DUI out of the write up saw the company he drove for fire him. He had become an insurance liability to them, even if he did not drink “on the job”.

    Imagine though a long haul trucker that did drink “on the job”, even if only a a bracer nip on a cold night. Willing to gamble on odds even a shot won’t cause impairment? Willing to risk a rig rolling up over a school bus due to an intoxicated human driver?

    Yes, I know there are standards, protocols, laws to help prevent that happening. I also know human truckers up until recently, and maybe still do carry three “log books / lie books”. They use one for the cops and DOT, another for the company, a third as a personal log. Want to figure out which lie book is closets to objective truth? Maybe the drunk driver does not log his one nip to warm up. Point being laws, protocols, standards can be and are corrupted and abused.

    With robotic or automated drivers, there is no risk of intoxication. The risk of exhaustion is also eliminated and no need for a driver to do 8 on, 8 off. That means deliveries are delivered faster, on time. That means savings to businesses, trucking and otherwise. That means business/capital gets more ROI in the profits it can now reap. That will be the baseline too. Do humans do it cheaper or require more cost? Do humans make more errors?

    Please don’t misunderstand me. I know people will be put out of work. Hey driver, why not go learn to be computer literate, maybe even able to program computers? Why not go learn the veterinary trade? You might even volunteer in your children’s schools to do reading time. There is other work still out there which will need doing for a little while yet. Learn to do something aside from driving to live, try living just to live. You might even get into homesteading, possibly find a way to automate gardening further in an effort to help supply clean food and water for everyone.

    You might even go join a volunteer rescue squad, go drive a meat wagon and help save lives. We as a human race now need to unite because we soon might not have that chance. We need to abolish fascism, the corporate ran government, the oligarchy. It will be that aspect of ourselves what bring about dire situations. Do I have all the answers? No, I don’t. I do know though what I’m seeing and it looks bleak. I think we can weather it though, we have so far. 🙂

  3. Robots are coming…be flippin burgers..before ya know it…then the only work will be to fix the thing…before it turns on it’s masters and the complete AI will merge and meld into one. The machine will take control. Forbidden Planet and Robbie the chunkie, lovable robot. (circa 1950’s)

  4. Your social theories are just as junked out as the current paradigm we live in! Here is why:
    “”The principle behind the ZWT is that the fruits of the societies science and technological progress should not be appropriated only by a few elite but it is their historical responsibility today, to see to it that the benefit should be equally shared among all members of the society.””

    I agree. The ‘elite’ should not be appropriating WHAT DOES NOT BELONG TO THEM. However, to say that something that is highly useful to everyone must then become some collective hive property (like some technology or a new medicine or whatever) of all is STEALING. (whether one does it or a group, stealing is taking what is not rightfully yours). Therefore, while on surface your social theory of ZWT is appealing, it is corrupt at its core. You want something? You work for it. You do not get something for nothing, this is natural. Technology is immaterial. If you did not build it from your own work, it is not yours and you have no say so over it. Your theory is just more communism with a shiny wrapping paper and a new ribbon.

    • What about unemployment benefits, and all those Government social welfare programs? Do you think that is the poor people STEALING form the rich or the tax payers, which they don’t deserve? In the coming 10 to 20 years due to this automation, there are more chance of you (or your children) losing the job and becoming unemployed and needing the UBI. Would hold this same position?

      Back in the 1980’s when I published the book, the capitalist and the communist ideologues were all against my theory. They argued that reduction of working hours to ZERO is impossible, the entire social production would collapse. What do you think of it in today’s situation?

      By the way the ZAD is poised against communism “an alternative to Marxian Scientific Socialism”. Do you really known what “communism theory” basically means?

      • Hiya VallaB01,

        I already answered those questions you present: “what about unemployment benefits…” “gov’t social welfare programs…” with this:

        “”However, to say that something that is highly useful to everyone must then become some collective hive property (like some technology or a new medicine or whatever) of all is STEALING. (whether one does it or a group, stealing is taking what is not rightfully yours). Therefore, while on surface your social theory of ZWT is appealing, it is corrupt at its core. You want something? You work for it. You do not get something for nothing, this is natural. Technology is immaterial. If you did not build it from your own work, it is not yours and you have no say so over it. Your theory is just more communism with a shiny wrapping paper and a new ribbon.””

        Unemployment is nice, I have collected from time to time in the past between jobs. However, that ‘unemployment’ benefit I had to pay for out of my checks in the way of taxes and other extorted monies from my checks, that money does not come from a vacuum. Now as for gov’t social welfare programs, no one would need them if the government had not ****ed up everything to start with. I absolutely DO NOT TRUST GOVERNMENT IN ANY CAPACITY TO DO: 1. what is right, 2. what is efficient, 3. what is fair, 4. what is economical and sound. Gov’t ALWAYS SCREW UP 100% of the time. Retarded children can do a better job running a country than this group of corrupt jackasses currently making policy. And you want to give them MOAR power to **** up even more stuff? Get real man!

        UBI is a joke. It makes everyone valueless and money is just pointless in such a system. Why bother with money if it is just going to be given away? Furthermore, why would I want MOAR government handouts? For every handout, there is control from them to me. They will know how much I get because they give it to me, they know what I buy and they can then also tell me what I cannot buy and what I MUST BUY and even when to buy it. Your social theories would make us all 100% total slaves to government. Disobey any of their stupid arbitrary Joo laws and find your UBI gone. Oops, what then?

        Your ideas have too many unintended consequences. Think it out more. Go back to God’s principles: you work, you eat. You don’t work, you don’t eat. You eat what you earn. (sort of like how animals get to eat what they kill, you know?)

        • HIYA, Pyra Gorgon
          You seems to dwell in the past (No offence pls.). Karl Marx argued only the human labor (power) can create the commodity value and wealth in society, you argue without having to do the labor, people will loose their identity, need to work just to prove their worth in society? Marxism says, it is the capitalist who STEAL from the labor of the worker while you say UBI is STEALING from the capitalist profit or the tax(?) – I see both the capitalists and the communist are the opposite sides of the same coin, hope you understand what I mean. You say you were also unemployed time to time but somehow justify it as not STEALING in your case! While I speak about the present and the future of the human society but you are still in its past, Most importantly, you seems not to comprehend the consequences of the present day, deep-learning AI robot automation and its impact on the human employment (massive job losses) that the future human social production of goods and services, will no more need the human wage-labor/worker. You need to counter this point, rather than the vague talk about GOVERNMENT TRUST!

          After all, what I gather from your talk is that you are totally against the UBI, that’s OK with me. You need not beat around the bush to make that point.

          • Pyra Gorgon | October 19, 2016 at 7:42 am |

            How am I “dwelling in the past”? This is a spurious statement tossed in to invalidate my position/ argument by in essence saying I am out of touch, don’t have a clue, or whatever. Am I offended? Not a bit, but I do recognize that statement of yours for what it is.

            You preach more Communism/ Marxism/ whatever. Different names, same results: the masses of human souls become slaves to the overlord masters who are psychotic, control freak Satanists. You mentioned Carl Marx, so do not try and back peddle and claim you are not a Communist/ Marxist/ “Socialist” (euphemism for marxist) when every idea you promote comes from Marxist playbooks. UBI is definitely communism. Stop lying and claiming it is something else. It’s not, and I do not need another eye full of Marxist propagandist nonsense.

            So what is it I am supposed to grasp about automation that I do not currently grasp? Because here is what I am saying, let’s not mince words and fluff up posts with prose, but let’s go big with ALL CAPS:
            There ya go, sorted out now. You keep trying to fix stupid. You cannot fix stupid, but you have to start over. Same with AI hyper-automated technologically-created problems. There is no fixing that. You have two options as a race of souls: continue and DIE, or RETURN TO SUSTAINABLE METHODS WITHOUT EXPLOITATION. Back in the old days, most people worked in agriculture, lived close to the land, and did not have disposable mindsets. People knew each other, community was critical. People worked to live, not lived to work. Because of that mindset, people were not driven to insatiable greed and covetousness, also spoken against from the pulpit. No one cares for spiritual things anymore.

            With all that in mind, how can you fix anything? You cannot fix basic human nature, that is how God made us. There is no way around it. And God also made us to have a sense of human dignity, concepts of privacy, self-ownership, gratitude, sense of accomplishment (even God said after creation, “It is good”), property ownership, duty to community, and resolve. Where are any of these human qualities in your social engineering theories? You neglect every one of these with your UBI, your ZWT, and some other acronyms I don’t know/ don’t care what they are.

            So address these questions again, VallaB01:
            #1. Under UBI, how do you stop the government from dictating how you spend what they give you? If they give UBI, know that they will also go cashless, which leads to point two…
            #2. Under your UBI, ZWT, etc. where is human privacy? Since it will be cashless and a total dragnet control grid controlling everything you do, where is other human virtues like gratitude, sense of accomplishment, self-ownership (without this one YOU ARE A SLAVE)?
            #3. Where is civic duty to community? There cannot be an outpouring of this feeling from those given something for nothing and treated as a slave for the taking of it. People will just consume and not care. In fact, they will HATE THOSE WHO FEED THEM. Want proof of this? Check out every single housing welfare complex. Pruit Igo in STL was destroyed by those it was supposed to house. Figure this out and you will see if you get what you desire, the whole country will look like Detroit in short order. You social marxist democrats never stop trying to sucker us regular people, do you?

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