Betting on technological unemployment


Daniel Lemire is a Canadian professor of computer science.  He believes that cognitive automotive will not cause lasting unemployment.  I believe the opposite, as I have written in various places, including this blog post and my book, The Economic Singularity.

Neither Daniel nor I has a crystal ball, and we both recognise that we could be wrong.  But we have both thought long and hard about the prospect, and we are both fairly confident in our predictions.  So after chatting about the issue online for a while, we have agreed a bet.

There are currently around 1.7m long-haul truck drivers in the US.  If that number falls to 250,000 between now and the end of the year 2030, then Daniel will pay $100 to a charity of my choice.  If not, then I will make the charitable donation.

This is my second long bet (see here for the first).  I did not expect that becoming a futurist would also make me a gambler!



One thought on “Betting on technological unemployment

  1. I have no doubt that, technologically, your bet is the safer one – if technological advances were allowed to be the sole arbiter of transport related employment. Logistics companies would be forced to adopt more self driving vehicles to keep up with their competition as they do not require the rest breaks and sleep time that humans do meaning they would result in lower cost per mile for the company and this would ensure the demise of the owner/driver (although some may choose to remain in the industry, filling in small niche markets but with their own self-driving vehicle!)

    The real world problem though is not the technological but the political/legislative one and it’s delay in bringing laws into effect in a timely fashion to the technologic advances.

    I can’t see D Trump or any other part of Government acting swiftly enough, particularly considering the public backlash likely to arise out of the potential for mass unemployment that governments world-wide are currently so ill-prepared for, to ensure the demise of long-haul (or any other) drivers quite that ‘fast’.

    But i’ve been wrong in the past and expect to be sometime in the future.

    Technology has already resulted in many things that were once thought commonplace and unchangeable to become obsolete quite quickly – i see the rate of such occurrences increasing remarkably with the advent of AI innovations.

    I see from your bets that you still expect the US$ to be a viable form of currency in 13 years time….. hmmmmmmm…..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s