During a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session today, science personality Bill Nye expressed his excitement about automated vehicles in a way that seemed to take a backhanded jab at professional drivers.
Nye conducted the AMA as a promotional event for his new Netflix series “Bill Nye Saves the World” premiering April 21.
Reddit user alexcore88 posted a question on the AMA on how automation will impact employment: “To what extent do you envisage automation replacing common jobs anytime soon, on a large scale?”
Nye responded: “Self-driving vehicles seem to me to be the next Big Thing. Think of all the drivers, who will be able to do something more challenging and productive with their work day. They could be erecting wind turbines, installing photovoltaic panels, and running distributed grid power lines. Woo hoo!”
Fortunately, Redditor browncatsleeping was on hand to point out that driving a truck is much more complicated and challenging than most people think: “As someone who has worked in transportation for many years (big rigs) I can tell you that truck drivers do much, much more than drive. The problem solving and critical thinking needed to deal with the issues that arise everyday will not be automated any time soon. We in the industry envision it becoming more like a commercial jetliner. The autopilot does most of the work but the pilot is still an absolute necessity.”
Another Redditor joked, “Now hiring wind turbine installers, must have 10 years cross country driving experience.”
Nye likely didn’t mean to insult truck drivers, but it seems clear that he doesn’t understand how how physically and mentally demanding it is to drive a truck. And the major shakeups that automated technologies will bring to livelihoods of the men and women in the trucking industry definitely deserve a more sober response than “Woo hoo!”
You can click here to take a look at the AMA.