Future Peace (#6)

Originally posted at joshuastairhime.com

From a technological standpoint, I think we live in a really exciting time.  Incredible things are happening every day, and technology seems to be outdoing itself faster than I can learn about it.  It seems like there is something new being talked about every day.

My job is to use technology to meet certain goals, so I work closely with it every day.  I am constantly learning new things (mostly because I have to) and I find that each new thing opens my eyes to what might be possible in the future.   I think there is important work to do to consider the impacts of technology on our world, and our societies.

Perhaps I’ll turn this into a series of posts, but tonight I’ll just focus on one aspect of our technological future.  Some of the biggest things being developed right now are driverless cars.  If you listen to or watch the news on a regular basis, you’ve no doubt seen or heard all about them.  I’ve heard predictions that in 10 years a large percentage of cars on American roads could be self driving or automated.  Awesome right?

Well, maybe.  Let’s assume our legislatures actually provide a legal framework for this to happen, and all of the ethical concerns about crashes and who is ultimately at fault for them are resolved at some point in the near future, and driverless vehicles start to become common on our roads.

Did you know that the industry that employees the most people in every single state in our country is trucking?  I didn’t until recently.  What happens when truck drivers are no longer needed because advances in technology make a truck driver a dangerous liability instead of an asset?  What will our society look like as nearly 3 million people enter the job market as they are eliminated from their positions?

I think there are a lot of compelling reasons to move in the direction of automated vehicles.  Many people aren’t paying attention to the road anyways, so why not make everyone safer by giving them a safe way to look at their phones while on the road?  Accidents caused by speed or reckless driving will decrease, and drunk drivers will be safely driven home, instead of taking innocent lives.

We can not stop the march of progress, nor should we want to. (I, for one, greatly enjoy access to indoor plumbing.)   We should be preparing ourselves and our society for the changes that technology will thrust upon us.  If we don’t start preparing ourselves now, corporations will move without us, resulting in the loss of jobs without a safety net in place.  How can we be preparing to change the workforce in our nation so that everyone can have meaningful work to do?

It doesn’t take a genius to see conflict coming as a result of these changes in the future.  How can we proactively take steps to ensure peaceful transitions to new technology?  What steps can we ask our legislature to take?

How can we best prepare to take care of our neighbor, before it is too late?

We can plan for peace, and I think we should.

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