The technology exists today. In fact, on modern jetliners the most the pilot is really needed for is to program the waypoints and taxi to the runway. After that, they are little more than "button pushers." The minimal functions they do perform could easily be replaced with a computer. In fact, regulations require that the aircraft fly a CAT III approach because the airplane is much more capable of this than the pilot is. What does that tell you about needing pilot's in the cockpit???
One could make the argument that a pilot is necessary to handle emregencies. Well, these situations are quite rare, and in many cases, the actions that the pilot take prepetuate the problem instead of solving it. Read CVR transcripts of many accidents and you will quickly see that often the crew hasn't the foggiest idea what is going on. Computers aren't going to forget to set the flaps for take off. They aren't going to taxi for take-off if the time allowances for de-icing have been surpassed. They aren't going to let the autopilot fly the airplane into the ground because they are too busy arguing about a burned out light bulb to notice what else is going wrong with their aircraft. Better yet, they are not affected by hangovers and marital stress and fatigue and financial problems. They do what they are programmed to do over and over and over again. And they certainly don't bitch about crew scheduling calling them in the middle of the night.
Certainly a lot of arguments can be made for keeping the pilot in the cockpit. But I would rather it be that he had no input in the decision making process unless everything else had failed. Let him monitor the computers but make sure the dog bites him long before he touches anything.
I don't know how long it will take before passengers are comfortable flying in an airplane without a pilot but I am quite certain the day will come. Especially with strain that pilot's inflated salaries place on airlines financially, the bean counters (who we all know are the ones REALLY in charge) are going to look at eliminating pilot's in a very favorable light. I for one would be quite happy to cruise to my destination with out a pilot, but I know I am currently the exception, not the rule. Now before all you nitwits freak out on me, remember, this is only MY PERSONAL opinion.