[Podcast] Radical Transparency:
Selling pie and coffee to robots

Fully self-driving cars will be here in no time, and this technology will eliminate jobs – lots and lots of…

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Fully self-driving cars will be here in no time, and this technology will eliminate jobs – lots and lots of jobs. Elon Musk said all the way back in 2017 – that’s, like, a century for artificially intelligent singularities – that driverless cars would be here soon, and ready to disrupt huge sectors of our economy.

Given the fact that Mr. Musk is, many theorize, from the future, you may just want to take your old-fashioned, drive-them-yourself automobiles and sell them at this point, for scrap if necessary. Frankly, you’ll be lucky to get anything for them given that you’ve waited this long to ditch them.

That’s because, soon, those cars are going to be the equivalent of your grandpa’s Studebaker jalopy, and any poor sap caught out on the road, driving those vehicles themselves, WITH THEIR OWN HANDS (if you can imagine such a thing!) will be a laughingstock… pointed at, pitied, and jeered by other drivers and their children, who are zooming by, carefree, with a robot at the wheel… while watching a movie… or working… or just joy-riding to look at mentally or economically inferior people with non-self-driving cars.

Oh, the humiliation!

And what if you are a person who is paid to drive a car, van, or truck? Well, here’s more bad news, friend: You’re basically the buggy-whip-handle manufacturer, the cane chair repairman, the manual elevator operator of this decade. You had better get out of the industry now, before all the barista positions at Starbucks have been snapped up by long-haul-truckers and airline pilots.

Still, driver wages are going through the roof right now for every type of vehicle operator, especially drivers. And there is a massive global driver shortage at the moment. And there’s also the fact that driverless vehicles of any stripe comprise a fraction of a percent of total vehicle sales.

Worst of all, from the perspective of those inside the Musk reality-distortion field, is Warren Buffett, who just purchased one of the world’s largest strings of truck stops.

Mr. Buffett is, arguably, the world’s most successful investor. And financial journalists only use the word “arguably” to describe him in this way because they like to argue, especially when they know they’re going to win an argument.

So, why would Mr. Buffett do such a thing? By all accounts, he is a smart man, and must know what any child understands: robots do not eat pie or drink coffee. Is this an uncharacteristic whiff by an investment Midas who has reached the end of his career?

Or, perhaps, Mr. Buffett is doing something he’s been doing all his career – trading on insight that many others don’t have. Could it be – is it possible – that Mr. Buffett knows that he’s going to be selling milkshakes, gasoline, and hamburgers (separately, of course) to human truck drivers for quite some time.

On this, our first episode of the Radical Transparency podcast, we take a closer look at Mr. Buffett’s investment in the context of the development of self-driving vehicles, talking to a leading investment analyst who covers Mr. Buffett’s investments closely. We’ll also be speaking to a transportation and logistics expert, who is investing heavily in AI-driven analytics… using them to manage the unique complexity that is introduced by human drivers.

You can check out the current episode here. (Maybe give it a quick listen before you go out and sell your car.)

About Radical Transparency

Radical Transparency shows how business decision-makers are using analytics to make unexpected discoveries that revolutionize companies, disrupt industries, and, sometimes, change the world. Radical Transparency combines storytelling with analysis, economics, and data science to highlight the big opportunities and the big mistakes uncovered by analytics in business.

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