Over 90% of traffic accidents are caused by human error. Whether it is drink driving, inattention, speeding, straight up bad driving, or any other of a myriad of reasons why people crash their cars, the fact is humans are really dangerous on the road. In the USA we average an accident every 200,000 to 500,000 miles, with a fatality every 200 to 500 accidents. This rate can be as high as 3 or 4 times as high in other parts of the world.
The bulk of this article sets up the argument that 1) machine learning is enabling the rapid development of self-driving cars, and that 2) this will lead to the implementation of self-driving taxi services, which will 3) significantly reduce injuries because self-driving cars are already much safer than humans.
The implication for the author is that this will have a significant effect on trauma surgeons but I think it should be obvious that this will affect a wide range of clinical specialists. For example, how much physiotherapy work comes from the orthopaedic, spinal and head injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents? As self-driving cars cause the incidence of MVAs to drop suddenly, possibly by as much as 90%, “it may be that a whole range of specialties will notice their patients have just stopped coming to see them”. Perhaps this will be the first real impact of AI on physiotherapy.