The Mother Load

Modern truckers were supposed to be the last of a dying breed, as their industry was quickly changed by self-driving vehicles and AI. Yet, as Andrew Kay writes in Wired, “recent years have hardly borne out that doomy prophecy: The self-driving industry has been humbled by fatal crashes, scandals, a federal investigation, a pedestrian death, negligent homicide charges, and stillborn business promises. Meanwhile the pandemic has wreaked havoc on our supply chains and made us more dependent on truckers than ever—more beholden to an industry that, for all its hugeness, still can’t keep pace with our needs … What we have, ironically, is a nationwide shortage of the very workers alleged to face obsolescence. What’s behind that shortage? And how exactly is technology altering life inside the cab? I want to know why 90 percent of the people who enter this profession quit within the first year.” About three-quarters of goods shipped in the US are moved on a truck. It’s worth removing the experiences of millions of truckers from our collective blindspot. Life as a 21st-Century Trucker.

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