Automation

I hate to drone on about it, but this job-loss thing is real

This is just about the classic story of what happens when new technology meets existing workplace.  In this case the story is about drones taking the jobs of commercial pilots.  It’s so obvious when you think about it:

Aerial surveyors, photographers and moviemaking pilots are increasingly losing business to robots that often can do their jobs faster, cheaper and better.

It reminds me of the way so many news photographers have been affected by the rise of smartphone cameras and the like.

And you can very easily imagine the same thing happening when driverless (Google) cars start hitting the roads.  We tend to think of them in terms of what they mean for us as ordinary car commuters, but the real effect, at least initially, is likely to be in the automotive equivalent of commercial pilots: the ones who will be run over, job-wise, are the delivery workers, bus drivers, truckies, and the like.

The pilots are trying to fight back, but it has losing battle written all over it:

That competition, paired with concerns about midair collisions with drones, has made commercial pilots some of the fiercest opponents to unmanned aircraft. And now these aviators are fighting back, lobbying regulators for strict rules for the devices and reporting unauthorized drone users to authorities.

Jim Williams, head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s unmanned-aircraft office, said that many FAA investigations into commercial-drone flights begin with tips from manned-aircraft pilots who compete with those drones. “They’ll let us know that, ’Hey, I’m losing all my business to these guys. They’re not approved. Go investigate,’” Mr. Williams said at a drone conference last year. “We will investigate those.”

So look, the lesson is, we need to think about this on a macro level.  The lesson is, first they came for commercial pilots but I was not a commercial pilot so I said nothing.  The lesson is, do not send for whom the bell tolls — the drone flies, the Google car drives — it tolls/flies/drives for thee.

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