To some, if not most, the following from the Bloomberg Technology newsletter will sound scary.
In Chicago, not far from Lake Michigan, the driver of a Caterpillar
Inc. bulldozer looked left, right and forward to maneuver the
230,000-pound (104-metric-ton) machine through a desert obstacle course of sand
mounds and old tires. But for all his effort, he didn’t go anywhere.
Instead, as he sat inside a stationary box lined with video screens at UI
Labs in the city’s Goose Island area, the operator worked the controls on a
yellow earth-mover about 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers) away in Arizona.
Welcome to the new world of big machines, where manufacturers including
Caterpillar and Komatsu Ltd. are trying everything from remote-access
technology to driverless trucks to revive slumping sales and adapt to changing
Fast forward, it’s the year 2117: John says to Mary (who knows, maybe the names John and Mary will be back in vogue by then), “all this new technology is going to replace so many jobs. What’re people going to do?” Mary says, “c’mon John, I’m sure people were saying that a hundred years ago when we needed humans to drive all manner of vehicles. Imagine where we’d be today if someone had gotten in the way of progress!”
I still use stagecoach drivers in such discussions…