TECHNO MODERATION

Automation over a driving nation

LUIS ALMEIDA
Posted 4/11/18

We are going to see driverless semi-trucks, aka tractor-trailers, on the highways of Atlanta. We are officially witnessing the beginning of the end of a solid industry that employs 3.5 million truck …

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TECHNO MODERATION

Automation over a driving nation

Posted

We are going to see driverless semi-trucks, aka tractor-trailers, on the highways of Atlanta.

We are officially witnessing the beginning of the end of a solid industry that employs 3.5 million truck drivers and sustains an extra 9 million jobs in our economy.

Residents of Cleveland, how can anybody defend the idea that automation is good for truck drivers’ pockets? Please don’t tell me that replacing truck drivers with a robotic system is going to be good for their families. Sorry, I don’t believe it will. 

Truck drivers make a solid $40,000 a year in salary, which in itself can assist the local economies of small towns all over this great country of ours. They are a driving force and quite an important slice of our American workforce who use hotels and motels, and support restaurants in every corner of our country.

Rural communities need truck drivers. Their economies depend on them! We have approximately 10 million Americans who depend on truck drivers to make a decent middle-class living. 

You know my position. I am not pro-automation. I believe in people using technology, but in moderation.

Automated trucks isn’t TechnoModeration. It is truck driver elimination!

OK, truck drivers won’t lose their jobs overnight, but this trend of automating everything will push your grandsons or perhaps your granddaughters to have to get formally educated in a university. I am not opposed to having folks coming to get formally educated with us in higher education, but the fact of the matter is that not everybody was meant to go to college.

Our society needs an industry where people who choose not to go to school can make a decent living. In the past, we had the steel mills. Today, we have truck drivers. How about tomorrow? 

As automation becomes more mainstream, expect small communities to decrease in size, economies to shrink, and buildings to get older and uglier.

Not everybody was meant to be a scholar. Remember that. Less jobs in our communities result in more violence, gangs and drug problems. There is enough evidence to prove that in cities where people are underpaid, violence is higher, gang activity is healthy and working for drug lords becomes an actual career path for many desperate teenagers who want to live a good life. 

Don’t tell me that we have a shortage of truck drivers and because of that we need to automate the industry. What we really need to do is to find out why we have a shortage of drivers in the first place.

According to a quick Google search, I found out that we are seeing a shortage of truck drivers because of overtaxation and regulations. Some claim that poor treatment received is a variable, and that salaries have been flat for too long.

I don’t know exactly why we have a shortage, but none of these possible reasons justifies any company using more technology to replace truck drivers, unless the company’s goals is to maximize return at the drivers' expense. 

Question: How much money do you think truck drivers will bring home if they lose their driving gigs? Well, I kind of know. What are your thoughts? Here is what I think: They will make minimum wage or make maybe $11 an hour, if they are lucky.

Is all this automation business really that great for us? I don’t think so. Today, truck drivers are at risk of losing their jobs. Tomorrow, you will be at risk. Remember: What comes around goes around. We must resist automation and celebrate moderation. It is our only means of survival. 

I have to tell you that now, I am questioning if I should visit my parents in Atlanta all that often. I wonder about the risk of a driverless semi-truck hitting me on the way there or on my way back to Cleveland.

I don’t trust a machine to drive anything, especially a Mack truck, and big rig automation could destroy the blue-collar middle class of this country.

Is technology adoption at all costs that great when we suffer as a result of its implementation? It isn’t. 

  ———

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info). 


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