I wonder where virtual ditch diggers fit in with all this?
I recently watched some show whose identity I forget which had a segment on a company developing self-driving trucks. The company had one driver. And a company developing a backhoe that trenches for you is going to need one operator. They're going to find the best operator they can find who can fit within their corporate culture, and then they're going to put the human operators out of business.
Of course, that's a complex job and we're farther away from having that than self-driving OTR trucks. But perhaps eliminating the human operator will make it cost-effective to put enough sensing gear on the backhoe that it can detect gas lines and the like before digging, which a human operator can't do with current equipment. You might even be allowed to carry less insurance if you use an automated trencher that checks with the utilities automatically before it starts any trench, and which does that kind of sensing to back it up since the maps are commonly wrong anyway.