Modern technology has improved our lives in more ways than one. The controversy surrounding the conversation is many skeptics believe the human race has become too dependent on technology; to a point where it hinders our ability to think critically and independently. Self-operated machines have already replaced some humans in the workforce. While this represents a tragic loss of revenue to those in need of the income; it also creates greater efficiency while reducing the risk of human error from the equation.
Google Self-Driving Car Project has created a prototype that drives people where they need to go at the push of a button. Their goal is to create the opportunity for “everyone to get around easily and safely regardless of their ability to drive.” In addition to providing a much-needed service to those in need, it also frees up your commute time. For someone like myself who commutes at least one hour each way, this technology would give me an extra 10 hours of freedom each week to complete other tasks; addressing the efficiency self-operated machines provide.
Driving is no exception when addressing the factor or human error. According to Google Self-Driving Car, a staggering 94% of accidents in the US alone involve human error. On a global scale, traffic accidents account for 1.2 million deaths per year. I assume this is caused in great part by driving while distracted ie texting, talking on the phone, applying makeup, the sun got in my eyes, drinking and driving, fell asleep at the wheel, spilled my coffee, in my line of work I have heard it all. This technology has the ability to reduce or eliminate the hazard posed by being human. No, the technology will not be perfect, that does not mean these vehicles are unsafe. Currently, there is cause for concern that this technology will displace millions of workers by taking over the transportation industry through the use of autonomous vehicles.
In addition to google, plenty of other companies find themselves in an arms race to deliver the self-driven automobiles of our future. According to cbinsights they have “identified 33 corporate groups involved in the development of advanced driver assistance systems and self-driving vehicles.” They explin this is “a diverse group of players, ranging from automotive industry stalwarts to leading technology brands.” With some prototypes already on the road and many more scheduled for deployment, theres is a great level of uncertainty on the economic imact these vehicles will have for those whose livelihood depends on the auto industry. In additiona to the auto industry, this may extend to commercially operated equipment such as trucks, buses, boats, and planes. Those are just the front lines. We should also consider the billion dollar auto insurance industry employees.
I am an employee of the auto insurance industry and I am personally hoping this technology succeeds. We cannot allow a fear of the unknown keep us from greatness. Whether technology drives us to the path of our own self-destruction is a topic for the skeptics. The truth of the matter is self-driving cars provide the benefit of safety and efficiency, safety should be our first priority. There will likely be entirely new industries built around this technology or maybe those of us displaced workers can learn a new trade. In my lifetime I have only benefited from the convenience of technology. I believe that we as humans will be fine and do what we always do, adapt and overcome.
I am curious to hear the thoughts, comments, or concerns! Please feel free to share your thoughts.
CB Insights Blog
Google Self-Driving Car Project