“Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, head of the California Labor Federation, said driverless trucks are dangerous…” Well are they dangerous? Is there any data to back up that claim? And is there data to back up the claim that keeping the driver in the vehicle makes it safe again?

I hate this “save the jobs” attitude. How about we not save the jobs and pay them to get other jobs or even pay them to stay home?

sour avatar

driverless trucks are dangerous

because trucks with drivers aren't



Companies will put the staff back in the trucks when it becomes apparent how easy it is to stop them and steal everything from the back.


Nobody is stopping trucks on the interstate. You could easily have one human minder escort 12-15 trucks outbound truck and a minder escort inbound trucks and spend most of the time on the interstate. Instead of a dozen drivers x 3 days you could use 1-4 hours of human labor total.


Imagine a system were one driver could transport hundreds of trucks worth of cargo at once on preset routes. What an invention that would be…


You could even have the whole thing start and stop with one set of controls.

Get this idea to Elon immediately. He’ll have XRails running all over the country by 2050, from San Diego, all the way to, ooh, Los Angeles I suppose. Can’t imagine it would get much further than that before he gets bored of the idea.


Would be easier if set on its own dedicated track.

Something like… a slightly slower Hyperloop! At those speeds, the “pods” wouldn’t need to run in a pressurized tube. I’ll name it “OKLoop”.


In the context of this discussion, switching to trains isn’t really going to address the idea of people raiding the cargo haulers, in whatever shape they’re in.


You’re right, but it’s because stealing cargo isn’t an issue. Trains are just a much safer and efficient method of transportation that also requires very few people.


Yes we know trains exist trucks are used in addition for obvious reasons that won’t stop being true when we dont need drivers


There’s nothing really stopping people from doing that to human driven trucks either. Besides, if it’s ‘capacity to make the choice of running someone over’ you’re after, just have a dude at a control center watching ten different trucks with remote control overrides. Something arguably they would do regardless for many reasons.


I’m more thinking it’s a lesser crime to rob a driverless truck. No chance of being shot by a yee-haw Trump trucker while doing so. No need to be armed.

Just slow to a stop in front, open the back, take what you want. It’s practically a victimless crime.


I don’t think this is likely to happen regardless. Occasionally trucks are raided, though it’s rare in the us. More often in some places where there’s a lot more instability. But I don’t think the reason it’s rare in general is ‘because there’s a human at the wheel’, especially not the concern that they may be armed.


This can only end well. I can’t wait for the personal injury lawsuits to start rolling in.

Also, having worked in a warehouse, who the hell is going to hand over the paperwork? Do you know how many places don’t use electronics that talk to each other? Do you know how many times I, working at a modest size business, had to sign my damn name? Half the time it doesn’t even need to be there, they just use it to make sure somebody looked at the pallet of merchandise to make sure it was correct. This is going to blow up in everyone’s face, literally and metaphorically.


I think the plan for a lot of trucks is for them to do the long haul part without a driver. But the “last mile” is done by drivers that drop the load, do the paperwork and back to the depot to snag another trailer.


Yeah, basically it’s a way to avoid using trains


But why? Wouldn’t it save them money in the long haul?


union leaders and truck drivers said would save hundreds of thousands of jobs

There might be good reasons to have human drivers in autonomous trucks, at least for a while. But “saving jobs” is not one of them.


It certainly is one of them. You can’t virtually close an entire sector of jobs all at once without serious repercussions to the economy.


Yeah, if it comes with a tapering requirement over several years I think it’s an excellent idea that saves jobs and also helps ensure safety.


It wont be all at once. Those changes usualy go very slow. Especialy in the buisness sector.


Target. Walmart, Amazon, UPS,Lays, Annheiser-Bush …just a few companies who have already begun testing automated replacements. If you think they aren’t all biting at the bit to pull the trigger on this the second they can, you’re naive. They’ll see insane overhead price reductions and increased productivity, all leading to higher profit margins. The slow change already started years ago. You can retrofit an existing big rig for less than half the salary of a driver and utilize 3x the work hours.

amju_wolf, avatar

And they’re going to produce thousands of those trucks in a month. And have them unescorted. Makes no sense.


There’s going to be a lot of conservative men clamoring for UBI, or more likely, cutting off their own nose to spite their face.


The whalebone hoop-skirt industry would like to vociferously disagree!

artaxadepressedhorse, (edited ) avatar

We’ve entered the Twilight zone. Where Ben Shapiro and Gavin Newsom are on the same side of a debate, and they’re fighting against Tucker Carlson and the unions.

Edit: piped link


Having a required human driver in the trucks for if/when the self-driving portion of the truck suddenly bugs out or gets into a situation where it cannot get itself free would probably save them a lot of headache and business when suddenly that truck gets into a situation it cannot correct itself.

Hell, we’ve already seen times when that would’ve saved lives like the time self driving taxis ended up blocking an ambulance en route.



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  • Patches,


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  • anachronist,

    Yes companies will definitely choose to pay more to keep people safe. 🙄



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  • Patches,

    Ah yes the ol “It’s cheaper sometimes to kill a couple people than employ a few more people” argument.

    Haven’t heard that one in a while.

    What is the going rate for a human life these days? 3 Full time employees? 4?



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  • Angry_Maple, avatar

    Historically speaking, it’s sadly far from uncommon.

    They just cross their fingers and hope that it never happens. Companies have a bad habit of deciding that they would keep more money paying for a lawsuit than they would keep by paying employees. If a company is worth billions, a few million is a drop in the bucket.

    There’s a VERY good reason for many safety regulations. A lot of these regulations have been paid for with blood and death.

    I wish we were better as a species, but here we are.


    Nah you just accused human drivers of being meth-heads.


    I wonder if these vehicles could be remotely piloted by a human when they become gridlocked, rather than have someone sitting in the cabin the entire time. Seems like just sitting in an autonomous vehicle while it drives long distances would be a particularly terrible job.


    You could get payed to just sleep or play games, seems like a dream job for some people.

    But remote controlled driving also seems like a pretty good idea, if it works reliably


    I’d love it, I’d go back to school for one

    Play so many video games

    I think sleeping would negate the purpose though, you need to be able to see when something is wrong and take control of the vehicle


    I guess you’re right on the sleeping part, might not be the best idea. But I’m sure if the trucking companies could skip sleeping time for trucks and allow the person to sleep while driving. They would 100% do it.

    A loud siren/alarm or something could wake you up I guess if something goes wrong or if you’re nearing your destination


    that’d be the dream, but the pessimist in me sees the boss installing Spyware, eye tracker software, a sensor in my seat, twice a day video call check ins and a series of beaurocratic tasks that turn it into an 11 hour shift 6 days a week, and in their downtown offices rather than WFH.


    Haha geez man, let’s hope that’s not the future we’re getting



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  • ButtCheekOnAStick,

    Companies who make alarms clocks should have to pay for all the knocker-upper jobs lost! Automation has been affecting the workforce for centuries, and it isn’t going to stop any time soon.


    However the effects are becoming increasingly dramatic as more and more of the population finds themselves in an economy with no jobs for them. Eventually UBI will become necessary once we hit the tipping point.

    makeasnek, (edited ) avatar

    Funny to see the argument being made here that this idea is crazy because people “don’t have the attention span” to monitor the robot driving the car. Like yes, that’s exactly the point, people suck at driving and maintaining constant attention, and they are worse than they were 10-20 years ago thanks to cell phones and screens. One in every hundred people you know will literally die due to this problem. For most people that means several people you knew in high school are dead because of people’s inability to drive perfectly all the time. That’s just deaths, many more will get injured or maimed. It doesn’t have to be this way. The only way out of it aside from somehow designing better humans is self-driving cars. They are already orders of magnitude safer than humans and have been so for years. Do they have bugs? Yes. But if we replaced every car on the road with a self-driving car right now we’d see the death and maiming rate plummet.

    For context: we shut down the global economy for a virus with an estimated 1% mortality rate. It was necessary to avoid hospital overwhelm and give us time to develop countermeasures. That’s the same mortality rate as driving. Obviously drivers are not overwhelming hospitals because the deaths are spread out over a longer time period. But nonetheless I think it’s an interesting comparison.

    janus2, avatar

    [meta] this is a well-written comment that makes and argues several points relevant to the post and yet it got more downvotes than upvotes, which imho is some bullshit [/meta]


    Can’t believe they bothered to try to pass it. From an outside quick glance, it seems like a brilliant idea. But then you have to remember WHY they’re doing this. They want to ship 24x7 and not have to pay a person. Slapping a co-pilot in there is counter-intuitive to their end game. Not to mention humans do NOT have the required attention span for this. We can often do stupid shit, completely sober, while driving, with DECADES of experience.

    If the autopilot is even 80% effective, we’re going to get bored, sleep, read, fuck around on our devices. Maybe jerk off? Who knows?

    We’re not ready for this step, not yet.

    Bet they’ll be needing a lot of mechanics when the time comes, though.

    Angry_Maple, avatar

    Let’s hope they start making it easier for those mechanics then, lmao.

    I used to want to get into the industry, but that stopped when I heard about all of the ridiculous things you have to move around to preform basic maintenance. That was bad before, but now? Woof.

    My buddy had to do a recall replacement, that took many hours. The manufacturer however, decided that it should only take less than half of that time, so they only paid him for the time that they wanted to pay for. Not for the actual number of hours that it physically took to disassemble and reassemble the thing, but instead what was convenient to them. Nope.


    Fun fact: this is illegal in many areas

    Another fun fact: most shops just do it anyway

    queermunist, avatar

    I’m sorry, but do people actually think human drivers in autonomous vehicles will make them safe?

    Imagine sitting and watching a robot do its job for hours - do you think you’d be attentive to safety problems after all that time?

    Madison_rogue avatar

    Yes. Tractors already have a number of built-in visual and audible alarms when the onboard sensors detect things like veering, severe pitch, and traffic. Oh, that and it's a driver's job to watch and respond to road conditions.

    Not to also mention that student driver teachers perform a job like this already.

    queermunist, avatar

    Tractors aren’t traffic. That’s clearly very different.

    Student driver teachers, meanwhile, are teaching. That’s more than simply watching for mistakes, which would be an inhumanly boring job that I honestly don’t think anyone could do.


    Exactly. And student drivers are only active for like 20-30 min at a time. A truck would be active for hours at a time.

    Instead of trying to build autonomous trucks, we should be building out rail and move more stuff and people that way.

    termus, avatar

    Security guards watch empty parking lots/tvs all night long.

    queermunist, avatar

    Yeah, but they don’t need to react within seconds when there is a problem. They can zone out and nothing bad will happen.

    A driver-operator needs to be hyper vigilant at all times and react within seconds to any problems because at any moment the software could fuck up and kill someone.


    Which is why this veto is retarded

    queermunist, avatar

    My point is that autonomous trucks shouldn’t be on the road, with or without drivers.


    Have you never seen the traffic jams caused by these things getting confused and not being able to figure a way out?.. the drivers there so people don’t get stuck behind them for an hour while someone from fuckyoutech comes out to fix it.

    queermunist, avatar

    That’s fair, but I was more concerned about an accident being caused where the “driver” has seconds to react to a mistake the car is making. After sitting doing nothing for hours there’s no way they’d be attentive until it’s too late.

    Eezyville, avatar

    They would be more likely to stop the accident from happening if they were there as opposed to not being there.

    queermunist, avatar

    “More likely” is not likely. Autonomous vehicles shouldn’t be allowed on the road at all.

    Angry_Maple, avatar

    At the current level of autonomous vehicle abilities, I agree with you, in a broad sense. Vehicles will need to still be able to differentiate between shapes, even during bad weather. Weather like blizzards, sudden downpours, heavy fog, dust storms, and the like. You still have to be able to see to safely pull off of the road.

    Until we can guarantee with 100% certainty that they can truly drive without aid, I completely agree that these vehicles would not be safe on their own. Weather is very well known for being unpredictable at times. Life in general is also known for being unpredictable at times.

    What happens if the sensors are unknowingly damaged? What happens if someone is wearing a costume that makes them look like a giant cereal box instead of human-shaped? What happens if there’s a software glitch at a bad time? What protections are there to guarantee that it doesn’t happen? Are those protections temporary? How often should they be reviewed?

    It should be OK to acknowledge that we aren’t quite there yet. Yes, it seems cool and all, but it’s silly to risk lives over impatience. If it will happen, it will happen. Forcing it to happen sooner than it should could very well lead to it being banned altogether, especially if enough people die or get injured as a result.

    IMO, anyone who causes serious crashes from using these things in “fully autonomous” mode should be charged as if the vehicle wasn’t autonomous. As if the accident was caused by sleeping behind the wheel or texting while driving. The company should be charged similarly in that scenario, as their programming and marketing would also play a part in the crash.

    Hey, if they’re truly safe, none of these charges would actually happen. If there isn’t an “oops” death in the first place, there won’t be an “oops” death to investigate.

    queermunist, avatar

    We could just not allow autonomous vehicles.


    Ever? What kinda conservative bullshit lol

    queermunist, (edited ) avatar

    Not until they’re safe. The tech isn’t there yet.

    There’s no reason to bother with autonomous vehicles if we’re just going to have human drivers anyway.



    queermunist, avatar

    I don’t want companies to test drive on public roads, I did not sign up to be one of their test subjects.


    There will be testing on public roads whether you like it or not, it’s inherent to how any new thing works.

    queermunist, avatar

    We have ways to test new technologies before unleashing them onto the public, what are you talking about? Even if it’s necessary to test them on public roads, they could be limited to only certain roads so people who don’t want to be part of he experiment don’t have to risk their lives.


    No matter how much testing they get beforehand, at some point they’ll be on public roads. And when they first get access to public roads, that will be a test. That’s just the only possible way for any new technology to come into being.

    queermunist, avatar

    Okay, think about medication.

    They test it before it gets regulatory approval. Once the testing is done it goes to the broad public because they’re found to be safe when used as directed. At no point do they experiment on people without their consent.

    Obviously data is still collected after that, but that’s not the same as testing - are you conflating those two things? Because by your definition, testing never ends.


    Obviously data is still collected after that, but that’s not the same as testing

    Semantics. It’s literally the same thing, just called something different.

    queermunist, avatar

    It’s not, because data is collected forever. By that definition testing never ends and we talk past each other about the meaning of words.

    There’s a review process. Drugs go through stages of steadily growing numbers of volunteers, but after that the test is over.

    That’s what I’d want. Phase 1, these vehicles are tested on private land by highly skilled voluneers. Stage 2, they’re tested on private land by laypersons. Phase 3, they’re tested on a wide (but limited!) scale across selected public roads and highways.

    And then testing is done. At no point is someone subjected to being tested against their will, they always have the ability to opt out. After that they’ll still collect data, but it’s not an experiment anymore because they’re already generally recognized as safe by regulators.


    Sure, if that makes you feel better

    queermunist, avatar

    I’ll only feel better if we build rail. This stupid car shit is killing us.


    Anyone who uses FSD on their Tesla would happily tell you it’s not even close to being safe yet. Hell if anything I’m MORE attentive when using the autopilot because it can be so sketch sometimes.

    queermunist, avatar

    Hell if anything I’m MORE attentive when using the autopilot because it can be so sketch sometimes.

    I doubt you’re more attentive than someone who is literally driving lol


    I drive 150-200 miles/day. I’m definitely zoned out for the most of it lol

    queermunist, (edited ) avatar

    And zoning out would be much worse with computer assistance!

    Actually cars should be abolished for this very reason - humans can never be truly safe drivers, they always get bored and zone out.


    No, but I have sat in a traffic jam caused by a human driver who caused a multiple car pile up because they wanted to be slightly ahead.

    Astroturfed, (edited )

    It’s almost like more than one thing can be bad. Autonomous cars are just a shitty bandaid solution that doesn’t fix the problem.


    Exactly. We should instead get autonomous trains, and fix our cities to be train friendly.

    Haui, avatar

    Ban all cars. bus, tram and trains need to be so great that you can actually stand driving in them. But they’re only important for winter or when it rains mostly anyway. Otherwise you take the bike, ebike or scooter. We would need to find a solution for carrying lots of groceries obviously. Remember when people hat little trollies behind them when grocery shopping?

    (Obviously in summer a disabled person would still ride them. Not trying to be ableist here)


    Ban all cars

    Hard disagree here. Mass transit should win because it’s more convenient, not because it’s the only option.

    I’m in favor of car-free zones, rerouting cars around city centers, tolls in busy areas, and in general making car transit less convenient, but it should still be feasible to get where you’re going in a car. The problem is that we’ve made our cities car-centric so mass transit is forced to be inconvenient, and that should be reversed.

    But I will never accept banning cars, because that’s how you get the worst of both worlds.

    Haui, avatar

    Okay. I agree that i was a bit far with my phrasing. I should have said „in city centers“. I live in a city and I don’t see a reason to use or even own a car 9/10 times (if the transit is good, which it isnt in my city).

    But I‘d like to address something else here. If we had no cars, we would take a lot longer to do things and become much less productive and less stressed, which is becoming a big problem rn.

    So, maybe a conpromise between both our ideas would be good. I‘d like to achive throwing a wrench in our capitalist steam machine turning our planet to a pile of shit.


    I should have said „in city centers“

    I like how Amsterdam does it, check out this video (whole video and channel are worth watching) that discusses how they force cars to go around the city center instead of through it to avoid a lot of conflict with pedestrians.

    However, that kind of thinking shouldn’t be exclusive to “city centers,” it should be the default way we plan cities. Make mass transit super effective in the core of the city or town, connect everyone to those hubs, and provide a way to get around and into (but not through) city and town centers via cars so people are encouraged (but not forced) to use mass transit.

    Ideally, anyone living in a reasonably densely populated area should be able to get everything they need w/o a car. That should be the goal, and a lot of the solution is to use mixed zoning around transit hubs (i.e. businesses on the ground level, apartments above) and feed into that with roads that connect lower-density areas. The vast majority of your businesses should be close to transit hubs, and the vast majority of your busy roads should be away from city centers.

    we would take a lot longer to do things and become much less productive and less stressed

    I don’t think that’s true, and I think you’re looking at things with rose-colored glasses.

    200 years ago, most people were subsistence farmers, and that’s around the time that started to end. See this Wikipedia article:

    Even by 1750, low prevalence of hunger had helped provide American Colonists with an estimated life expectancy of 51 years…

    Social and economic conditions changed substantially in the early 19th century, especially with the market reforms of the 1830s. While overall prosperity increased, productive land became harder to come by, and was often only available for those who could afford substantial rates… by 1850, life expectancy in the US had dropped to 43 years, about the same as then prevailed in Western Europe.

    This got worse as the US industrialized in the late 1800s, and people adapted:

    By the turn of the century, improved economic conditions were helping to reduce hunger for all sections of society, even the poorest. The early 20th century saw a substantial rise in agricultural productivity; while this led to rural unemployment even in the otherwise “roaring” 1920s, it helped lower food prices throughout the United States. During World War I and its aftermath, the U.S. was able to send over 20 million pounds of food to relieve hunger in Europe. The United States has since been a world leader for relieving hunger internationally

    These days, starvation isn’t really a thing in the US, and it has been replaced with “food insecurity,” which is more about consistency and quality of food, not whether someone can survive on the amount of food they’re getting. So the stress related to food has improved due to productivity and has been replaced with an economic/distribution issue instead of a production issue.

    I could go on about different types of stressors, like risk of death, dangers from natural disasters, etc, but I think I’ve made my point. Increased productivity has made a ton of things better, and we’re now at a life expectancy of >80 years old, compared to leading the world at 51 years old some 250 years ago.

    If we look at life 100 years ago, life was hard, and certainly full of stress.

    Here are some other interesting links to look at:

    These are obviously extreme examples, but my point is that innovations in productivity generally improve peoples’ lifestyles. Even the poorest Americans can travel to the other side of the country and back if they wanted, and most people own smartphones. If we look at today, the stressors are very different from even 50 years ago.

    So, would you like to go back to how things used to work? I’m guessing no, but I obviously can’t speak for you.

    Haui, avatar

    I‘m a little surprised by the sheer size of your comment. Thank you for your effort.

    I agree that there are many good ideas and nuances to use in this situation. I really like how much thought you‘ve put into it.

    Where I don’t agree is the 100 yrs ago theme. You‘re taking what I said and interpret it in a way I didn’t intend. I meant we as people should become less productive and neither we as a population nor living like 100 yrs ago.

    Example: being less productive as in not being on the phone with a customer while driving to work alone in your own car so as to be there early, able to pick something up your boss demands and making sales for the company but instead waiting for the bus, not being on the phone and not slaving for your boss while on unpaid time.

    Does this example make more sense?

    And being less productive does not mean we have no modern medicine, cutting edge computers but less luxury. The vast majority of our surplus productivity goes into the 1% and luxury items. Yachts, Jewelry, etc. part of this surplus happens because both people in a 2 person household work and still get along the same or less than 1 earner households did back in the 70s.


    Yeah, I can be a bit wordy. If it’s too much, you can skip everything up to the last quotation where I talk about income in the 70s vs now.

    My point is, the thing that got us from subsistence farming 200 years ago to almost nobody being farmers today is productivity. With a tractor and combine harvester, a single farmer can do the work of dozens, if not more. That farmer’s life is more complicated because equipment failing has a lot more impact, but they also get to benefit from the labor of others.

    Stress is very different between then and now. In the past, stressing about how to feed yourself was just part of life. Today, stress is largely due to artificial deadlines with generally lower stakes (e.g. you won’t starve, you’ll just lose possessions or a position of influence).

    I believe stress is an internal motivator to be more productive. If we reduce the requirement to be productive, we’ll just stress about other things, like how much more productive we could be. If you want proof of that, visit an elder care facility or something where literally all needs and many wants are taken care of, and you’ll find the residents still experiencing stress (e.g. if the nurse is later than usual, or they don’t have appealing items on the menu).

    So stress is a relative thing, not some kind of absolute we can “fix” (generally) by changing workload or something. So I don’t think “we” collectively need to slow down (that just reduces progress we make), but there’s certainly a level of relative stress that’s too much for an individual, so individuals may need to slow down.

    The vast majority of our surplus productivity goes into the 1% and luxury items

    And who makes those yachts, jewelry, etc? Those are specialized jobs, so that luxury spending creates high quality jobs that would otherwise not exist.

    100 years ago cars were a thing only the rich could afford. If you compare then to now:

    • cars cost less (can get a get reliable car for $25-30k)
    • people earn way more (minimum wage is ~2x more than the lower bound the article mentions)
    • most people own cars

    If you don’t believe me, here’s an inflation calculator that largely matches the article’s numbers.

    both people in a 2 person household work and still get along the same or less than 1 earner households did back in the 70s

    That’s just not true. Here’s a graph of real personal income since the mid 70s (real means after taking inflation into account). In 1974, the average worker made ~$27k in 2021 dollars, and in 2021, the average person made $40.6k. That means the average person makes ~50% more than they did 47 years ago.

    People work more not because they have to (things are cheaper and we earn more), but because they want to spend more. There are just more things to spend money on today than in the 70s, and finding those things is easier than ever with the Internet. We compare ourselves to influencers, not to what we actually need.

    The problem imo isn’t with productivity, but with lifestyle expectations. For example, these days everyone needs a smart phone, yet my sister’s family has never had one. They’re not poor (my BIL is a professor, and they have a newly 4k+ sq ft home), and they have teenagers at home, they just never felt the need to own one (though their 16yo is getting pretty adamant about needing one). They also have one car (BIL bikes several miles to work, and they live on a steep hill). The money they save goes to other lifestyle choices, like spending the entire summer living abroad with the whole family (they have a large family, so airfare alone is super expensive). That’s obviously an extreme example, but I think it illustrates my point well that many of our “needs” are just justifications given the expectations of others.

    Haui, avatar

    I have to disagree here.

    You‘re making a lot of assumptions here that are not easily connected imo.

    Stress being a good motivator is correct but on relative terms. Too much stress destroys you and people have been a lot more productive back then comparing labor that they are today. Most people move away from grueling manual labor which you can see in the ongoing shortages in labor intensive jobs such as carpentry (which I have worked in in the past btw). There is no evidence that reducing stress would be a bad thing.

    Also, it feels to me as if you‘re trying to apply the things I‘ve said to your model of thinking instead of trying to understand my way of thinking, experience and therefore why I come to the conclusions I do. A typical problem of our stressed times.

    What I‘m trying to say is that the stress level has been a lot lower in all past times and you can see psychiatric medication and stress diseases skyrocketing for a couple years if not decades.

    We are playing a dangerous shell game of distracting each other and ourselves from the facts that we can’t become more productive without sacrificing our freedom and our sanity.

    And stuff has not become cheaper and we are not earning more. That is complete and utter bs. Buying a cell phone (which you now need for work whatsapp groups) is becoming more and more expensive, tvs tripled in price. There even are lists you can look at. The average inflation has been nearly 2 digits for the past couple of years.

    There are interesting charts showing the comparison of wages to inflation and they‘re shocking.

    So frankly, I find it a little upsetting that you would say the extreme opposite. I would call this disinformation.

    Source for european real wages falling:…/ed477fe9-46fa-43d0-b315-4170763261c2

    Source for us real wages stagnating for 50 yrs:…/have-wages-stagnated-for-decades-in-the…


    Buying a cell phone is becoming more and more expensive

    No, buying a top end cell phone is becoming more and more expensive. There are plenty of options at the lower end that are more than capable.

    For example, the phone I’ve had for the past 3 years retailed at $250 (Moto G Power, 8 core and 4GB RAM IIRC), and I got it for $50 through a cell plan deal ($200 off if I used Google Fi for 3 months). My phone plan (Tello) is $10/month for 1GB data and unlimited talk and text. When I got my first phone ~15 years ago, the phone itself cost $50-100 after discount, and the plan was $50/month with no data and limits on minutes.

    Just because you can pay >$1k on a phone and >$50/month on a plan doesn’t mean that’s necessary but any stretch of the imagination.

    And TVs have actually gotten cheaper pretty much every year since they were introduced. I can get a bigger, nicer TV today for the same money as I did a few years ago, and that has been true for decades. I bought a 55" 4k LG TV almost 7 years ago for ~$400 (Black Friday deal), and the price o see today for similar specs (55" 4k LG TV) is ~$360. There are also options for 40" TVs under $200, and 20 years ago I bought a 20" CRT TV for $200-250 (not inflation adjusted).

    Average inflation has been nearly 2 digits for the past couple of years

    In the US, it was 7% and 6.5% respectively for the past couple of years, and if you’ll look, it has been <2% almost every year since 2010, and under 1% for some of those years. So the recent runup in inflation is absolutely an anomaly, and over a longer term it averages out to the normal 2-3%. At least in the US, we’re pretty much back to normal now (between 3-4%, normal is 2-3%).

    The causes for recent inflation figures are:

    • record low unemployment paired with higher labor demand
    • global supply chain disruption due to COVID-19 responses
    • shift in consumer demand

    Basically, more people had money (partially from labor shortage, partially from stimulus packages), and since most people needed to stay home, they tended to want similar things that they didn’t before. If you can’t go out to shows and restaurants, you turn to things you can do at home (TVs, game consoles, etc), and that increased demand happened just as supply dropped.

    People also seemed to want to buy houses at that time more than ever because:

    • they needed to work from home, so they wanted more space to do so
    • with low unemployment and low mortgage rates, more people could afford to buy at then-current prices

    And supply for new construction was limited due to COVID-19 supply chain issues (lumber and steel became much less available), and thus nrw construction became much more expensive. The result was a rapid runup in housing costs (my house nearly doubled over those two years).

    If you’ll note, prices on things have generally stabilized or gone down since. New cars just didn’t exist in 2020 and 2021 due to semiconductor shortages, and now you can find more new cars at original MSRP (used market still sucks, but that’ll improve). Gaming consoles were hard to find, and now they’re quite plentiful. Housing is still expensive, but that’s because it has a much slower replacement cycle (i.e. now that materials are more plentiful, we’re having trouble catching up in supply).

    From your second article about wage stagnation:

    the U.S. experienced two decades of stagnating – actually, declining – average real wage growth, beginning in the early 1970s and ending in the early 1990s

    That was the period of stagflation in the 80s, and it isn’t particularly relevant to today’s situation. This Wikipedia article on stagflation is interesting, and the issues seem to have started with a supply constraint much like COVID (in the case, the Six Day War and later Yom Kippur War ended in oil supply reduction to the West), and when paired with inflationary monetary policy, we ended up with reduced economic capacity and devaluation of currency.

    So I don’t think it’s fair to compare the height of the 70s to today, just as the author in that second post argues. But even if we do, that article shows we are a little higher than the peak in the 70s, despite a huge reduction in the 80s. That’s pretty incredible, especially since most of the increase starts just 30-ish years ago.

    I can’t say much about the rest of the world though, and I’m sure inflation is worse in Europe due to the war in Ukraine, but at least in the US, the average person is better off today than 50 years ago.

    The main issue I think is perception. Median wages seem to have increased, but people seem to focus on income inequality, which has also increased. So people are better of today, but they’re further away from the wealthy. I don’t think that’s a particularly useful metric, we should be focusing on the welfare of the average person and the poor, not the relative welfare vs the wealthy.

    Haui, avatar

    I‘m really sorry but I don’t have the time to sift through walls of text all the time. I appreciate your effort though.

    Have a good one.


    That’s fair. Have a good one too. :)

    Neato avatar

    Autonomous cars are the only viable solution in the near to mid term. Human drivers are awful. Building out mass-transit and transport infrastructure is a generations-long process and very politically unpopular. Autonomous vehicles will have issues that can only be ironed out in live testing. Which sucks but that's how all innovations go.


    Autonomous cars are decades away from hitting any level of meaningful saturation. Might as well work on the more practical solutions…

    Neato avatar

    What's more practical? Redesigning all of US's cities to work without cars? High-speed cross-country rail? Mass transit in every town?

    That's more practical than passing regulations that allow the few companies even attempting automation to test it? This is just a "if it's not perfect don't do it" mentality that stops any attempts at progress.


    You’re just an angry douche putting words in my mouth. Never said they can’t roll out automated cars. Just said they might as well work on the more practical long term solutions.


    It’s almost like more than one thing can be bad.

    Not possible


    I live in the land of bad drivers, and long haul truckers almost NEVER cause accidents. The cause is almost always a passenger vehicle, even if a truck is involved. Truckers get trained.


    Self-driving trucks will never be 100% autonomous. They will need a reliable data connection to a control center so humans can figure out how to deal with exceptional situations.

    There will probably be occasional stupid traffic jams until the technology is perfected. As long as they avoid murderous rampages, we should be okay.


    And the human driver would certainly be used as a scape goat should anything bad happen.

    DemBoSain, avatar

    Can’t put a corporation in prison when they kill someone.


    We could.

    Might be better to just put the executives of those corporations in prison instead tho. I keep hearing how they’re worth their enormous salaries so they must be the ones responsible.

    DemBoSain, avatar

    But you can’t. Corporations are formed specifically to protect the people behind them from legal accountability. The CEO/ board can really only be punished for crimes against the corporation (embezzling, not trying to make money for shareholders, etc.) Even when the corp. very obviously causes deaths, it will just declare bankruptcy and reform under another name. Johnson & Johnson was sued for killing people because there’s asbestos in talcum powder, so they spun off the talc division into a different company, and then had that company declare bankruptcy.


    Wasn’t entirely serious. However if “corporations are people” then maybe they should face the same penalties people do.


    This is a real thing, they are called operators and it is their job to oversee the cell, start and stop jobs, resolve bottlenecks, identify upstream problems and gracefully handle them, and emergency stop the system when needed.

    queermunist, avatar

    Yeah, part of my job making car parts is as an operator for a cell. Im constantly moving, troubleshooting, doing minor maintenance, and actively engaged in the process.

    A driver-operator would be sitting down doing mostly nothing. Totally different


    I imagine they could do just as well having an operator sit in a cubicle all day flipping between video feeds of a dozen different vehicles. Then when manual control needs to be taken over they could operate it with a joystick or something and play truck simulator.


    “Connection error: could not connect to truck, please reload and try again”

    Oops, just crashed


    It still drives on its own, connection is just to monitor or to help get out of situations it might get stuck in so traffic jams don’t occur. If connection fails it would have been no different than having no driver in the cab which Is the plan already.


    Safety be damned! We have corporate profits to consider here.


    Yes because theres nothing safer than a truck driver thats been awake for 24 hours because their schedule is so tight they dont really have time for sleep. /s

    The actual issue is that autonomous driving will make millions of peoples’ jobs obsolete not that it couldn’t be as safe as a person driving if not more so.

    theluddite, avatar

    There are two issues. First, self-driving cars just aren’t very good (yet?). Second, it will make millions of people’s jobs obsolete, and that should be a good thing, but it’s a bad thing, because we’ve structured our society such that it’s a bad thing if you lose your job. It’d be cool as hell if it were a good thing for the people who don’t have to work anymore, and we should structure our society that way instead.

    makeasnek, avatar

    Self-driving cars have been safer than human drivers for years. There are bugs but nothing like the bugs humans have. The roadblocks to adoption right now are public perception and legislation.


    Where are truck drivers staying awake for 24 hours? In the US, there are daily and weekly limitations and rest requirements, including a mandatory 10hr consecutive rest period every day.…/how-many-hours-a-day-can-truck-drive…

    xkforce, (edited )

    sleep deprivation prevalence among a sample of truck drivers:

    Hours of service violations:…/analysis-from-eroad-shows-driver…

    30 minute break, 11 hour and 14 hour violations are the most common and thats what is caught

    rifugee, (edited )

    Thanks for the sources; however, the National Library of Medicine is using data from 1993 and the other doesn’t specify by how much the violations rates are increasing or what the rates even are and the link to the underlying data appears to be dead.

    edit: I had time to look into this further and it appears that it was very common to fudge the paper logbook, but as of 2017 they’re required to use electronic logbook devices (ELD’s), so that is no longer possible. Yes, sleep deprivation due to violating the hours of service regulations was definitely a thing in the past, but I can’t find any data that indicates that it still is.


    Fortunately it’s not something they actually have to worry about for decades.


    TuSimple’s fleet of 40 autonomous trucks has been hauling goods between freight depots in Phoenix, Tucson, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio. These routes are about 95 percent highway, but the trucks can also autonomously handle surface streets, bringing their cargo the entire distance, from depot driveway to depot driveway. Its vehicles join a growing fleet of robotic trucks from competitors such as Aurora, Embark, Locomation,, and even Waymo, the Alphabet spin-off that has long focused on self-driving cars.



    I think this is a pretty important point in practice. These trucks are hauling between depots and primarily on the highway, which is easy to map and fairly predictable without many obstacles like pedestrians and traffic lights. I would feel differently about an autonomous truck driving in the city.

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