Voices Of Youth

Prepare for ripple effects of technology

The increasing prevalence of automation has been generally welcomed (Commuters can catch a driverless public bus by 2020; April 11).

However, while deploying self-operating machines reduces the need to hire people to man vehicles, the ripple effects of its implementation on the transport labour sector could be significant.

A study in the United States suggested that driverless automobiles could land people out of jobs - in places like the Bronx, around 10 per cent of the population would be unemployed.

In Singapore, bus drivers, cabbies and personnel that make up the backbone of bus fleets and taxis may find themselves irrelevant.

Technicians and engineers would also be forced to upgrade their knowledge and skills to keep up with the latest practices or risk struggling to find stable occupations in a different industry.

What would become of the livelihoods of these people as we introduce more energy-efficient means of travel?

As we incorporate more high-tech innovations in our daily lives, we must question if we are prepared to deal with the consequences of these.

The intermittent train breakdowns over the past two years have proven to us how faulty machines can result in unexpected delays and inconvenience to users of the public transport network.

As we push ahead with the Smart Nation initiative, it is hoped that the Government will not neglect the practical problems that come with it.

Charis Lim, 18,

Post A-levels

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2017, with the headline 'Prepare for ripple effects of technology'. Print Edition | Subscribe