NEW YORK – The implementation of driverless trucks will lead to suicides and “an outbreak of violence,” according to Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
Yang said he thinks it’s inevitable that some of America’s 3.5 million truck drivers will react violently to being replaced by driverless trucks.
“There’s going to be a lot of passion, a lot of resistance to this. Anyone who thinks truck drivers are just going to shrug and say, ‘Alright, I had a good run. I’ll just go home and figure it out’ — that’s not going to be their response,” Yang said Tuesday in an interview with podcast host Joe Rogan.
“It’s going to be much more likely that they say, ‘You need to make these trucks illegal,’ or they’re just gonna park their trucks across the highway, get their guns out, because a lot of these guys are ex-military, and just be like, ‘Hey, I’m not going to move my truck until I get my job back,’ and there are going to be a lot of truckers in the same situation,” said Yang.
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Yang said he expects automated trucks to start taking shifts away from human drivers within six to 10 years. He cited his dark predictions as reason to support universal basic income, which is a major plank of his 2020 campaign.
“According to the estimates, this is what’s called the fourth industrial revolution and we’re going to displace jobs at three to four times the rate of [the last] industrial revolution and that industrial revolution included mass riots, so thinking that this one will not strikes me as really, really optimistic and perhaps unrealistic,” Yang said.
The gradual takeover of automated trucks will mean a “massive depletion of truck driving opportunities,” Yang added. “And then, in my mind, a lot of suicides, a lot of self destruction — and I don’t say that lightly. I say that based upon the fact that that’s what happened to manufacturing workers. Where if you unpack what happened to the manufacturing workers of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, suicide rates spiked to where our life expectancy as a country has declined for the last three years because of suicides and drug overdoses. It’s the first time that’s happened since the great flu pandemic of 1918, like we are actually coming apart as a country by the numbers.”
“So what happened to the manufacturing workers will happen to the truckers but at an even more dramatic scale,” he continued. “So you’ll see truckers going home and drinking themselves to death or doing drugs and overdosing or killing themselves. And then eventually there will be an outbreak of violence because some truckers will say instead of killing myself how about I bust up a robot truck?”