III. Who is responsible for the loss of jobs caused by these vehicles, or do these jobs create different opportunities for employment?
AV’s will disrupt existing transportation jobs. According to Andrew Simpson from the Insurance Journal, “as many as four million … driving jobs could be lost if fully autonomous vehicle technology is adopted in a short period of time.” This is just in the United States. (Simpson, 2017).
According to data from data Pettigrew, 60% of transportation workers are worried about job loss, however around 49% believe that there will be increased technical jobs related to driving. Those that were interviewed see AV’s as inevitable, and that the labor market should adapt where possible. (Pettigrew, 2018).
While the exact speed and extent the job change will happen remains to be seen, one thing that can be argued is the governments role in facilitating this change. Should the government actively facilitate the change, or should the change be allowed to happen organically? Governments have an ethical responsibility to act in the best interests of their people. If governments participate in the evolution of transportation jobs, they are just as likely to make incorrect decisions as they are the correct choice. The displaced workers will require protection and retraining to ensure a smooth transition. No corporation is responsible for job loss, or creative destruction. However, governments should be planning on these job losses and help displaced workers retrain. (Pettigrew, 2017).
Some employees interviewed in Pettigrew’s article made comparisons to the sewing machine, streetlights, and the first motor vehicles. The point seems to be that innovation is unstoppable but should be embraced responsibly. The current transportation workers believe that these new industries can create unforeseen jobs that will require a hybrid skillset. Workers will need the technical knowledge to troubleshoot software, as well as the technical knowledge to change a tire. (Pettigrew, 2017).
Pettigrew, F. (2018). The Potential Implications of Autonomous Vehicles in and around the Workplace. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(9), 1876–. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091876
Simpson, A. (2017). 4 Million Driving Jobs at Risk from Autonomous Vehicles: Report. Insurance Journal.