Robots taking over the world. Is there an answer in the future? Most likely. Is there an answer now? Not quite. Self-driving cars are coming alive in 2017, luckily, these cars are not quite revved up to take the occupations of professional drivers quite yet. However, now that self-driving cars are available, even if they are not currently eligible for professional usage, who wants to apply for a job and undertake training in an occupation that will die out in the next decade. Typically, there are 90,000 new professional drivers each year; but this year, it is projected that there will only be 40,000 new professional drivers. We are 50,000 workers short in one of the most crucial occupations. Transportation connects everything. This goes beyond the transfer of goods for corporations, the shortage of professional drivers also affects the transportation of people, delaying them from reaching their own jobs, further affecting the economy before even self-driving cars were put in place. However, this current growing pain is much better than what would happen than if self-driving cars existed with no precautions put in place. Professional driving is the most popular occupation in the United States with a total of 3,500,000 professional drivers. Losing these jobs to robots will surely cause large swaths of unemployment if we were to allow self-driving cars to totally replace them. There are no laws in preparation for this type of AI currently, but there must be checks and balances in the future. Without government regulation, there lies a possibility of losing over 1% of American jobs to robots.
Former President Barack Obama discussing the loss of jobs in the steel industry to foreign nations.
In Barack Obama’s discourse regarding globalization and the loss of jobs in America, it was due to a foreign nation that we have little to no control over. With regards to AI, we are going to lose a plethora of jobs due to something we have little to no control over. The creation of AI is much akin to Pandora’s Box. Once we discovered this possibility of immense advancement; society realized that we cannot stop ourselves from opening this box. This progression of humanity’s perfectibility… has come to deny the perfectibility of the individual. Sure, humanity as a whole will have mastered AI. But at what cost? Assuming we have an unregulated America, it is much more probable that it will be the AI who will have mastered the labor force. However, we cannot speculate that the government will be useless in labor’s greatest revolution. We should be speculating with proper government intervention and capable management of AI. Doing so may push humanity to enter Rousseau’s State of Nature. There might not be a need for work nor connection with society, why bother searching for perfectibility in work when we can look for it in ourselves? We may have advanced to a point where we can safely regress, just like in Disney’s movie Wall-E.
Ultimately, the future has much to be speculated on and yet little we can make conclusions on. Going back to Pandora’s Box, the best thing that we can do is hope. Perhaps the loss of jobs in the fast food industry can propel the engineering industry and perhaps the loss of jobs in the automobile industry can propel the neuroscience industry. Former President Barack Obama did suggest that the first two years of community college be free in advocacy of advancing the bottom layer of American jobs. These are changes suggested with respect to the future, but it is still a difficult prospect to imagine based off of the past. If students fail high school and have to work a fast food job, can they really survive in the new technologically advanced world? We are potentially eliminating a safety net to increase the standard of living. Currently, there is no answer for where those people can go if all the bottom level jobs are eliminated. Would you trust an engineer who failed high school, what about a surgeon, an architect? It’s a good thing, we don’t need the answer now. 2017 is not ready for the introduction of robots into society quite yet. But in the future, the best thing that we can do is hope. We’ve already opened Pandora’s Box.
Food For Thought
- What suggestions do you have for those who are going to lose their jobs and are unable to acquire a more advanced job?
- Are we necessarily going to advance towards a state of nature with the interaction of robots instead of society?
- What other industries are likely to falter besides the fast food industry and the automobile industry? What is the similarity that connects these occupations?