White Van Man is an English icon: the independent delivery driver who is (almost) universally disliked. He’s rude, he’s pushy, and he’s independent. But that’s the thing: he’s independent. He’s got a job and it makes him a living, so he’s a viable, contributing member of society, like him or not.
White Van Man makes his living as a driver. A lot of people do that: taxi drivers, truckers, delivery men, bus drivers, postal workers, garbage men…think about it. How many jobs depend on driving?
If 5G and autonomous vehicles come in, White Van Man and a great many other people are going to be out of a job. And it’s already starting to happen in some places; a few trucking firms are starting to invest in autonomous trucks. And drones are already delivering packages.
You might not realize how closely linked autonomous vehicles and 5G are, but think about it for a second. The only way an autonomous vehicle knows where it is on the road, and where it’s going, is by constantly being fed data–wireless data–from satellites and cell towers and all the other wireless infrastructure. A driverless vehicle can’t see; it doesn’t have eyes. It can’t read road signs. It’s a computer, and like all computers it relies on data being fed into it, constantly. If there’s a gap in the data stream, it can’t operate. 4G isn’t really good enough to support driverless vehicles. That’s why they need universal 5G, and 5G from satellites to fill in the gaps where there is no coverage from cell towers.
With 5G, enter the era of the fully autonomous vehicle. No drivers will be needed; trucks, vans, cars and buses will be able to get where they are going without a human being to drive them. And bye-bye all those driving jobs. What are those people going to do instead? Retrain to do something else? But what else? The problem is, the 5G era will be the era of the robot. And those robots aren’t just going to take away driving jobs. They’re going to take away a lot of jobs–in fact, it’s estimated that they are going to take away about 50% of the jobs on the planet. Bank tellers, bricklayers, shelf stackers, burger flippers, factory workers…it’s a really long list. All the people who do those jobs are going to be unemployed. Are they all going to retrain? To do what? Who’s going to need them?
It’s a scary vision of the future: a world where 50% of all the jobs are done by robots, and 50% of all workers are unemployed. How are all these people supposed to make a living? How are they going to buy the products made by the robots if they can’t make a living? How is the economy going to work? These are basic questions, but the media is so in love with the AI future that no one is answering them. The implicit message is, “We don’t need you any more.” So you’re supposed o do what? Curl up and die?
Jobs are important. It gives a person self-respect to be able to support him or herself, to support his or her family. Being unemployed isn’t fun; I know, I’ve been there. Also, when robots do the work for us, we will lose our skills. It took time to acquire those skills–you don’t become good at anything, whether it’s teaching physics or driving a bus or cooking a meal, without application and practice.
The 5G world is not going to be a good place. Robot-dominated, jobless, full of radiation that will harm us and nature. So your fridge will be able to talk to your smartphone–so what? The fact is, you might not be able to afford either of them, or the “smart” fridge will be empty.
Check out the bumper stickers that say “No to 5G” at the Anti-Wireless Shop–links from the Home Page. If your job or profession isn’t represented, use the template pictured below to create your own.