There is a known phrase I've been coining a lot lately. And it rings more prevalent every day as our world races at break-neck speed along the racetrack of technological innovations.
"There are two things people hate most, change, and the way things are."
Human beings are like water. Without any thought at all, but forced by nature, they seek out the easiest route forward. Since the creation of the wheel, humans have strived to make their lives easier through technological innovations. The path to inventions was paved with the desire to achieve great things with the least amount of effort. Long gone are the washtubs and washboards, now replaced by washers and dryers that you can start or stop from another province simply by using your cellular phone.
From working in the fields cutting, raking and piling crops up in stukes, to autonomous GPS guided combines harvesting sections of land in a few days.
And no different than when thieves would raid a warehouse of its goods, concerns of technology-based security threats are daily dialogue in boardrooms around the world. The ability for systems to be hacked is on every companies mind and they spend an enormous amount of money on mitigating those possible breaches. And let's face it, if the system of the US presidency can be hacked, anything can be.
So as we move towards autonomous transportation systems it doesn't exactly leave any of us with a warm fuzzy feeling.
A concern I have been mulling over, is technology moving faster than the first cloning of a sheep in its moral obligation to society?
Like that first cell reproduction, we must have cheques and balances in place to ensure that autonomous vehicles and their systems - but not limited to - are truly compatible with the basic requirements of society. Other considerations should also be addressed. Including, when drivers are replaced by a vacant cab, where will the tax revenue that was formerly collected by those employees come from? Should the companies employing the technology be accountable to the federal government for the tax loss? How will the employee replaced by a network system of lanes, permissions, and communications systems, continue to feed his or her family?
Working in an autonomous environment currently, I have witnessed how valuable this technology can be. What it provides for in safety and productivity. And in that I continue to be a proponent for technology whilst improving conditions in the work environment for my fellow employees and staff alike.
It has also given me the opportunity to listen to the concerns of the working person. The uncertainty and often confused mindset left behind by poor employer to employee communication and the ever-popular rumour mill.
This is exactly where the lines of socio-economic development, technology, and social interaction find themselves in a vortex of possibilities, conundrums, and instability.
If Western society is going to benefit from these vast technological changes as a whole, then the communication and education that is required must become as ingrained as the transportation industry is in our daily lives.
Our greatest asset in this world is people, not technology. Because without people, technology serves no purpose. Are we ready, or better yet are we really prepared to have a day to day interaction between robot tractor trailers and the common driving and non-driving public?
Which leads me to the final phrase that stands in the face of history, whether it was a horse-drawn cart or a shiny 18 wheeler, "If you bought it, a trucker brought it."