Automation – the genie is out of the bottle


Sir, – As I write, in response to Neil Briscoe’s article “Why we should ban autonomous cars now”, Business Opinion, August 22nd), I look out and see my fully autonomous robot lawnmower “Elsa” threading her way around the complex curves and corners of my garden and thank my lucky stars that I am spared that particular chore.

Perhaps in another home my thoughts might be disturbed by the activities of a vacuum cleaner robot. From an office in Tallinn I might look down on delivery robots plying their trade. This winter will see autonomous snow clearing robots on the streets of Tallinn for the first time.

In the late 1980s Atlanta airport in the US began operating one of the first driver-less terminal shuttles. It is too late to bemoan the loss of jobs associated with driver-less vehicles – the technology is already here.

I cannot envisage an article of this nature appearing in an Estonian publication. The country that gave us Skype and TransferWise (one of the first online banks) and the ability to vote in national elections from your mobile phone (25 per cent of their population at the last election).

Dublin’s Metro will utilise driver-less trains – a technology that saves energy, gives passengers a smoother ride and reduces travel time.

The question is not whether autonomous vehicles (don’t think just cars but road sweepers, shuttle-buses, parking wardens) will start replacing jobs but the degree to which they have already penetrated industry and society in general and how quickly that trend will continue.

This particular genie is already out of the bottle. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.