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Is anyone pondering the economic impact of driverless vehicles?

 
 
Ragman
 
  0  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:55 am
@maxdancona,
Quote:
If by letting computers do the driving we could reduce the deaths from automobile accidents by 50% (meaning we would save 15,000 lives each year), would you change your mind?

yes.

initial startup and implementation (roadbed reconfigure) costs will be high. Also the US-ian tendency to want less intrusion and invasion by Feds has to be overcome, which is no small feat
maxdancona
 
  1  
Thu 28 May, 2015 07:08 am
@Ragman,
I agree Ragman.

I believe that we should make the change to driverless cars. I doubt the US will take the lead in this. I suspect that other countries will get there first.

I also believe in high speed rail... but these days the US has trouble making big infrastructure improvements.
Kolyo
 
  0  
Thu 28 May, 2015 07:42 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

I believe that we should make the change to driverless cars. I doubt the US will take the lead in this. I suspect that other countries will get there first.

I also believe in high speed rail... but these days the US has trouble making big infrastructure improvements.


I certainly don't oppose new technologies like driverless cars (although early on I was worried they'd run over jaywalkers). There's no reason to assume that trucking careers will give way to some other careers that pay equally well, but stopping businesses from developing labor-saving technologies isn't the way to go, IMO.

The comparison between rail and driverless cars brings up another point. Oil consumption will probably go up, as the overall cost of driving falls.
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  1  
Thu 28 May, 2015 07:47 am
@maxdancona,
I still disagree. There are akready cars. Shitloads. There were not shitloads of looms. Also looms create goods for sale. I am unaware what goods for sale cars create. Lastly, do you think the world got even close to looms per capita that vehicles have? http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_vehicles_per_capita
Ionus
 
  1  
Thu 28 May, 2015 08:13 am
@maxdancona,
Quote:
the US has trouble making big infrastructure improvements.
All major infrastructure in the USA is in need of maintenance/improvement/replacement from the electric grid to dams to roads and bridges . Fighting the world's wars for it is expensive .
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Thu 28 May, 2015 08:56 am
@hingehead,
Power were successful, but not because they create products. They are successful because they create products more cheaply by drastically reducing the need for human workers. There were clothes before there were power looms, and there were times where looms were a very common thing to have in your house.

It is interesting to see how society changed when automobiles were introduced into the economy in the early 1900s. All of a sudden you could ship goods more cheaply and efficiently from one place to another (of course this worked in conjunction with rail). Of course, there are industries around the car... from taxi services, to farm tractors, to party buses.

But the point is this. There were once lots of hand looms that were operated by lots of people producing lots of clothing. Then came power looms that produced clothing with far less cost and fewer workers required. These people were out of work and you can read about the hardship and social unrest this caused.

There are lots of people driven vehicles (including cars, buses and trucks) that are operated by lots of people to provide lots of transportation. When driverless cars come, they will provide transportation with far less cost and fewer workers required.
Ragman
 
  0  
Thu 28 May, 2015 09:07 am
@hingehead,
I'm unclear what relevance comparing a time when technology and the world was so different technologically and socio-economically than what exists now. These times now were built on the shoulders of those times. Technological acceptance is insanely swift. Furthermore the scope of what we're talking about is a transportation issue here...not a labor issue. Granted it does have an impact on labor but shouldn't the focus of the issue be about transportation and safety primarily?

Just look at how quickly we accept new tech... smartphones and cell phones have taken over. Whereas in the era when looms became popular the country was in the middle of the industrial revolution. It was not only feasible to do that activity, it was a preferable way (for some) of making money from home..instead of in a sweatshop.

Automotive, particularly highways is and will be dangerous. I'm all for reducing the danger in the most practical way. What I propose is to do a gradual rollout starting with train transportation...and then perhaps the Fed, state and utility vehicles on the major interstate highways .
hingehead
 
  0  
Thu 28 May, 2015 04:26 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Power were successful, but not because they create products

Sorry I can't parse that sentence (three attemtps) so I didn't read the rest.
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  0  
Thu 28 May, 2015 04:35 pm
@Ragman,
Quote:
I'm unclear what relevance comparing a time when technology and the world was so different technologically and socio-economically than what exists now


I agree - I'm only pointing out to Max that his 'comparisons' to earlier times don't cut it.

My thought is that it's a labour issue more than a transportation issue, which is why I posted that 'most common occupations' map at the start.

At face value driverless transportation doesn't change available services - just their cost - because labour input is reduced. None of the ideas I've seen put forward so far for new services aren't currently available - they are just expensive (e.g. home delivered pizza, chaffeuring children).

While I think the safety factor will have an impact (US road fatalities are huge http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year) I think the bigger more immediate impact will be loss of employment for a large group of people with apparently non-transferrable skills.

Trains miss the big sell of cars. Flexibility and scalability. A train isn't going to deliver a pizza to your door. The infrastructure for cars already exists everywhere.
Ragman
 
  0  
Thu 28 May, 2015 04:40 pm
@hingehead,
I understand your point now after re-reading. I'm concerned about safety and loss of control. Your focus is different but is a valid point too.

With governors like the convicted crook/nebbish that runs Florida (Scott) who voted down high speed rail between tamp and the eastern coast of Florida, there'll be little chance of the advances needed for the railway and interstate highway being retro-fitted with technology to allow driverless cars in the next decade. If they're not willing to improve and invest $$$ in trains as a modern safe and reliable transportation means there's little chance of driverless cars getting operational in my lifetime.
ossobuco
 
  0  
Thu 28 May, 2015 05:02 pm
@Ragman,
I'm unusually recalcitrant on items already in our future: driverless cars and drones delivering amazon purchases (oh, and bombs and other such malefactors). I can see some use for both of them, as in drones and forest fires, but the large scale usage of both freaks me somewhat.

Also, once the world switches over and by and large gets rid of the old stuff that is more individually controlled, what happens when gigantic malfunction occurs, say, with a big hack. We know security doesn't always work.
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  1  
Thu 28 May, 2015 05:27 pm
@Ragman,
Actually (assuming you are in reasonable health) you will see it. Driverless cars have already done a million hours on American roads. The question is the scale and speed of dissemination.

There's no retrofitting required (well it makes less sense to retrofit a car than purpose build one). Highways don't need to change, driverless cars run on them now.

Parts of the technology are already in mainstream cars. We have cars that park themselves and avoid collisions without user intervention.

But you have made me think of something else. Given that in the US there are 30,000 road fatalities a year - and you'd have to think ten times as many hospital worthy injuries - what's the impact on the healthcare system (and the mortician industry)?

A&E departments would be less frantic if you significantly reduced car accidents from the picture.

What about ambulance chasing compensation lawyers? And towtruck drivers? Prosthetics manufacturers?


0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  0  
Thu 28 May, 2015 05:30 pm
I was going to just say motorbikes will be even more associated with rebellion.

But that thought led to another. We've talked about driverless home delivery. There's no need for that delivery vehicle to have passenger space. I'm guessing there will be a far bigger range of sizes for delivery vehicles. Using a van to deliver pizza makes no sense. A motormonocycle could do the job for a fraction of the fuel, purchase cost and maintenance. And it would reduce traffic congestion.
Ragman
 
  0  
Thu 28 May, 2015 05:37 pm
@hingehead,
Then there's that nasty issue of drones deliveries.
hingehead
 
  0  
Thu 28 May, 2015 05:40 pm
@Ragman,
yeah, Beth mentioned it in the first couple of pages.
ossobuco
 
  0  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:14 pm
@hingehead,
I just mentioned it too, not remembering Beth's early post. My thing is I don't like the sky, my sky, our sky......... filled with stuff. I don't like airplane banners, salesy blimps if those still exist, and I'm apparently one of the few humans who doesn't like pretty balloons filled with people riding underneath them in baskets, including in Albuquerque, which makes a big deal of them. I'm not all that keen on fireworks going into the sky, for a variety of reasons, including that our gallery building caught fire from one being sent in our direction from Humboldt Bay, presumably a misfire. It actually hit the next door building but the victorian buildings were about 18" apart, so ours caught too. Major smoke damage plus part of the roof.. the fire got going about 1 a.m. All from a desire of people to light up the sky, which, to me, messes with the natural sky. Art in the sky also annoys me - I whined about that happening in New York City at one point.

My recalcitrance is odd even to me in that I'm quite pro science/exploration/invention and so on. It's my inner interest in control-ability and human communities that jars with some of this.
ossobuco
 
  0  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:20 pm
@ossobuco,
One more thing. UPS guys, and I presume the women, are famously cute. My husband worked for them for a few years, heh. I still wave at the driver when I see one of their trucks on our street.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:25 pm
@hingehead,
Hingehead, I think you are missing Ragman's point (although Ragman can correct me if I am wrong).

The mill workers during the time of the industrial revolution had great upheaval because of the advent of the new technology. There were lost jobs by hand weavers, there was high unemployment among former weavers, there was economic hardship to a great number of people. There was civil unrest.

Ragman is saying that there will be less pain from driverless cars than there was from power looms (during the industrial revolution). In fact (if I understand him correctly) he doesn't even think there will be any comparison to the hardship and civil unrest of that time.

You seem to be saying that exact opposite, that there will be more pain from driverless cars.

I don't think there will be the same sort of economic upheaval as during the industrial revolution... but the difference is that we now have a modern economy that provides the opportunities to retool a career that were unavailable to displaced weavers.

0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:36 pm
Charlie Concord wrote:

Why not? Are mill workers not competent enough to learn new skill sets? It obviously would not work for some, but I did see it have benefits for a couple members of my family. Plus,there are other fields they could train for besides computers. Anyway, just my opinion.


Some may have the intelligence and background to become almost anything, but I promise you, if you've spent 20 or more years in skilled industrial employment, employers will not only decide you won't be a good "fit" in their work place, you are too old to be an entry level employee in whatever technical field you might choose. Believe me, with that amount of blue collar work, they can smell it on you.
0 Replies
 
Kolyo
 
  3  
Thu 28 May, 2015 06:36 pm
Charlie Concord wrote:

Why not?


It's important to realize that when you innovate in a way that puts a million truckers out of work, you don't somehow create a million jobs for programmers of driverless trucks. To see this, just observe that workers' "wages" are businesses' "costs". If automating the trucking industry really created exactly as much work (measured in dollars) as it destroyed, then the costs of automated trucking would be the same as the costs of today's driver-based trucking, and trucking companies would not make the switch, because there would be no point. But they will make the switch, for the sake of efficiency, which means they will face lower costs, which means payments to workers will be lower as well.

Now I concede that in the case of many labor-saving innovations, new jobs are created. I think the way this happens is that the new products create new opportunities for people to do new things, which creates new demand for novel goods and services, which creates new jobs. However, in this particular case, the demand for goods and services that we are losing (our demand for an army of truckers to transport necessities across hundreds of miles) is a very strong kind of demand. It's a demand for something that's very necessary to us. Strong demands -- demands for things we need -- create jobs that pay high salaries. What kind of demand will step in to fill the gap to create those new jobs that will supposedly employ all the displaced workers? I think it will be a very weak kind of demand. The displaced truckers will have to move into industries that cater to whim, rather than need, and that will cost them financially.
0 Replies
 
 

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