Speaker Gary Fedder, interim CEO of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, suggested lanes designated for self-driving cars as the transition happens, something Gross and O’Connor parroted as a possibility after the meeting. Highways don’t belong to the city, but such lanes could work for the Boulevard of the Allies or Fifth Avenue, O’Connor said.
A bulk of the post-agenda revolved around jobs and what council can do to help all workers impacted by automation. O’Connor said he liked the ideas of local level wage insurance for workers and the educational outreach that the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute is planning to help prepare the future workforce. The concern that machines will take over a large number of jobs isn’t new, said Lee Branstetter, faculty director at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Future of Work. Looking at history, he said, “what lies in our future is probably not an unemployment apocalypse”