Right now, I'm thinking very specifically of self-driving cars, because transportation is such a critical component in getting employment, and keeping it.
Many times, workers suffer injuries that preclude them from driving. This is especially a difficult situation in areas where public transportation is lacking.
Uber and Lyft, as well as standard taxis, are available, but expensive. "If" government agencies can fund testing via a worker-support system, both those who do the research, AND the company, AND the workers may all save money.
This would be a similar situation to the kind of research trials that enable doctors to offer treatment to children at a more affordable basis; this is because the government is involved, and so is the funding.
Many times, emerging technologies need real-life trials to become accepted into the mainstream. They need a high variety of both location destination and customer "types".
I believe that temporarily disabled workers would be an ideal candidate to take advantage of the services that self-driving cars could offer. They would provide a diverse audience, and diverse destinations. This is an ideal "test" group for the developers of self-driving cars.
"If" employers partner with the developers of self-driving cars, the employer wins, as do the developers. The employers provide a service of transportation, and they look really good doing this -- they would look modern and compassionate, really good for the image of any business. The developer of self-driving cars, usually funded by federal or state resources, would have a more inexpensive method of testing their resources.
I "do" believe the technology has advanced enough to start doing this, at least on a small scale.
Very specifically, I do NOT think this technology should yet be used on those who have more severe or permanent disabilities. The issue is control. I could be wrong, but it's my sense that those who have been temporarily disabled at work still have all their mental facilities, but the same isn't necessarily true for the chronically ill. The chronically ill are a very, very vulnerable population, and my sense is that we should not yet use this technology for such a vulnerable group. The working, but temporarily disabled are a less vulnerable group, and one I feel is appropriate to the technology.
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