Self-Driving Cars, How Would They Transform Society and at What Cost?

Self-driving cars would provide numerous benefits to society, but there are also a few severe drawbacks that must be addressed before they would be release on any market. If done properly, self-driving cars could eliminate any accidents due to human error or miscalculation as the cars could constantly communicate between one another. They could also optimize our current traffic system, help us led more efficient lives as we can spend the time we would have spent commuting working or relaxing, and allow for significant innovations to occur in any industry that rely on significant drive times such as the postal services, public transportation systems, private taxi services, and more. This would allow commuting employees to get to work faster, safer, and allow employers to utilize this time for work related calls and meetings. Also, the any transportation related industry would have massive savings as all the drivers could be replaced by a computer and some sensors; the initial capital for such systems and technologies would be rather high, but overtime it would be worth it.

However, before self-driving cars become a reality we must seriously consider a few issues such as who would be liable if there was an accident due to algorithm/program failure —would it be the company that manufactured the car or the programmers? Also, we must understand the economic impacts such a technology would have on society, in particular anyone involved with ground transportation. Obviously, the industry, whether taxi or delivery services, would opt to use an automated method to deliver their customers or packages since they would be able to save money on drivers and insurances. This would mean that hundreds of thousands of people would be out of work and there wouldn’t be enough room in any similar low-income job sectors that they could transfer too. In addition, the car manufacturing industry may be affected by this shift to automation as the car design may converge and simplify since consumer will most likely only care about the comfort inside the vehicle instead of the look, feel, handling, acceleration, etc. This would make many factory workers jobs simpler and make the manufacturing industry more efficient as they can optimize the production of fewer models.

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3 thoughts on “Self-Driving Cars, How Would They Transform Society and at What Cost?

  1. You have pretty convincing arguments! You are right that we enjoy the benefits of self-driven car at the expense of unclear liability and reducing job opportunities, but I think the ethical problems can be solved if the government makes some regulations claiming that each person who uses this car should pay the risk of the accident, and we can increase other jobs by providing more jobs related to self-driving car industry.

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    • Would self-driven cars be used for public transportations ? I think this will significantly reduce the price of transportations in general. I think though, stricter government regulations on quality and safety of self driven cars would be much harder. In terms of job creation, other than labor forces to assemble cars, I don’t think drivers can be replaced to research and development forces. That’s way too much training required by the company. Job loss will be the biggest issue I see!!

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  2. Good arguments! Self-driving cars would impact the whole economy and put lots of people out of work. Also, self-driving cars aren’t really a technology needed to improve society. What purpose would the development of this technology serve?

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