CVEP attended the City Launch conference in San Diego last week to learn about the Smart Cities opportunities. CVEP Board Chair Jan Harnik and CEO Joe Wallace attended the event and were captivated by some of the things that are being done at other locations.

Of particular interest to the Coachella Valley were the comments on the coming job losses due to automation as seen by Michael Sherwood of the City of Las Vegas. Of all of the cities in America, Las Vegas is the one facing the same kinds of challenges that greater Palm Springs will be facing. Mr. Sherwood shared with those in attendance that 30,000 people make a living in Las Vegas by driving for Uber, Lyft, or one of the local cab companies. All of these people’s jobs are vulnerable to any future implementation of self-driving vehicles. They are also vulnerable to the recently announced underground transportation system being established by Elon Musk’s Boring Company.

The first time CVEP presented the dangers of automation to jobs and the local economy was at the 2018 Economic Summit. In Las Vegas, Mr. Sherwood also advised the audience of the announcement by MGM that they are replacing all of their bartenders with robotic bartenders. As regions, both Las Vegas and the Coachella Valley are heavily reliant on tourism and hospitality. So of course, there are numerous bartenders in both Las Vegas and the Coachella Valley whose jobs may be in danger. This should serve as a warning to us to put some adult training in place to help the people impacted by automation to reinvent their careers. Our own prosperity depends on it.