Home > Uncategorized > At Least Professional Drivers are Safe From a Robotic Work-Force… Or Are They?

At Least Professional Drivers are Safe From a Robotic Work-Force… Or Are They?

So, dear readers, are you tired of hearing about how you will be replaced by machines yet?  Does the thought of an automated society free from human errors (and industrial injuries) no longer scare you so much as bore you?  Do you find yourself writing an angry e-mail to your humble blogger demanding blood (in the form of workers’ compensation injuries as described in recent panel decisions)?

Then I have some bad news for you, dear readers – here comes another techie post.

Google recently announced that it plans to produce (and possibly sell) a self-driving car.  The video for this car is actually pretty cool: no steering wheel, no brakes, just a couple of buttons to start and stop.

Obviously, we’re a long way from seeing these soulless automatons swarm our streets, but it kind of makes you wonder as to how secure more and more jobs are.

There is a huge employment sector for drivers – taxis, limos, buses, and trucks.  Those are a lot of jobs that could be affected by the mass production and distribution of driver-less cars.

Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself “Greg, it’s a good thing you’re so handsome, because you’re crazy! No one is going to get rid of a driver just to cut down on the workers’ compensation premiums – there’s too much risk if the car malfunctions.”

Ahh, you’re right on both counts dear reader: as handsome as I am, there is still the greater picture involved if businesses adopt driver-less cars.  I would be willing to bet my shiny penny collection that there are already tort attorneys preparing articles about how a google-produced driver-less car eliminates the liability for driver negligence, and instead turns Google into an insurer for strict product liability.

So, picture your garden variety employer: he or she can continue to pay higher workers’ comp rates to employer drivers, and also carry insurance for all the third-party liability, in the event his or her driver hits another car and is at fault.  Or, the employer could pay a little extra for a driver-less car and avoid the workers’ compensation premium while also having an argument to shift all liability for car accidents onto the manufacturer.

The point your humble blogger is making is that technology, once again, is making it more cost-efficient to minimize human labor, and a safe, reliable, and street-worthy driver-less car puts skilled labor – professional drivers – on the chopping block.

What California needs to do, and I mean RIGHT NOW, is make it cheaper to continue to employ human beings.  A good place to start is the cost of insuring against industrial injuries.

In the alternative, I suggest we all rent Terminator 1 and 2 (don’t bother with the others) and take good notes on how to fight the machines.

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