As a five year old, all I wanted in life was to have one arm out the window, one arm on the steering wheel, and a big, open road in front of me. The truck driver life was the life for me. Now, the “Age of Automation” could leave many jobs, as well as other aspects of life, in the rear-view mirror.

On May 17th, 2017, Gallup News released a news article of U.S. Workers’ current prediction about their jobs in this Age of Automation. A staggering 26% percent believe they might lose their job because of technological advances within twenty years, while another 13% believed they might lose their jobs in the next five years. The renowned American businessman, Arnold Glasow stated that, “the country needs … a few labor-making inventions.” However, due to the limitless possibilities of technology, there is no telling what effect these advances will have on the availability of human labor. In essence, Gaslow was correct – the country needs labor-making inventions, but our technological inventions have become increasingly more labor-taking.

When my father was young, he dreamed of becoming a turnpike toll booth attendant. All he needed was a radio tuned in to the Pirate’s game (or whatever was available) and a comfortable chair for him to fulfill his dream job. As a child, I hoped to be like truck drivers and  spent road trips signaling them. Though I still do the “honk the horn” gesture, my dream, like my father’s dream, was nothing more than a phase. If they were not just dreams, my father would most likely be without a job. Similarly, due to the growth of autonomous vehicles such as Elon Musk’s Tesla Semi, I, too, would be worried about my career as a truck driver. From a business standpoint, it is more viable to automate production. A machine does not need a wage, nor does it need rest. Compared to humans, machines are more efficient. The end result is an increase in automation.

Will technology’s labor market invasion end at the invasion of blue collar jobs? My response: why would it? Sure, white-collar jobs are currently increasing as brilliant thought syndicates with technical efficiency. But is it impossible for innovators to create a system that could think brilliantly and work efficiently? What is stopping the Steve Wozniaks of today from creating the Steve Wozniak 3000s of tomorrow? Today, many worry of technology surpassing human intelligence and reaching a “Singularity.” Humanity’s brilliance could be our greatest fault. As current masters of technology, we could innovate a “smart” AI that self-upgrades, thus usurping humanity’s role as controllers of technology. Human-constructed artificial intelligence could replace the innovators and masters of technology and advance to a point of unknown limits. As result, humanity, in the eyes of our created AI, would be effectively useless.

I agree with Glasow’s statement regarding a need for labor-making innovation. While huge leaps in technological advance has made human lives easier than ever before, these advances have also clearly had an effect in the necessity of human jobs.  Technology is a huge, wonderful aspect of our lives today. However, with advances in technology only becoming more expedient in the future, we as a society must maintain a close watch on the effects of these progressions.