In spite of the fact that many companies are pressing forward with autonomous driving technology for the trucking industry, author Malcom Gladwell says that truckers and other blue collar workers are actually at a lower risk of losing their jobs to robots than white collar workers.
Gladwell, who is a staff writer for The New Yorker and author of bestselling books like Outliers and The Tipping Point, recently appeared on the TED podcast WorkLife with Adam Grant to talk about how robots stand to impact the U.S. workforce.
Though some predictions see as many as 10 million Americans losing their jobs to robots in the next five to ten years, Gladwell pointed to truck drivers as an example of workers who should not be concerned. He said, “Autonomous vehicles don’t put truck drivers out of work because truck drivers do a lot more than drive trucks. They do a whole bunch of personal tasks that require a person.” Gladwell says that while autonomous driving technology may eventually take over some driving duties for truck drivers, “you still need the human to check on the cargo” and “make sure the truck is working properly.”
According to Gladwell, white collar jobs may actually be more at risk for being taken over by artificial intelligence technology.