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Impossible Dreamers

August 25, 2016 • Los Angeles

rush hourLots of what has come out of Silicon Valley in the last twenty-five years has changed the world, in dramatic ways, but much of the blue-sky dreaming has never come to pass. IT hasn’t make the world more democratic and egalitarian, and we haven’t been liberated from wage labor; in fact there’s more income inequality now than before IT was a thing. So when we hear from the tech industry that self-driving cars are going to make the world more egalitarian and empower us all personally, take that with a grain of salt.

Reducing road deaths is a laudable and achievable outcome, but self-driving cars will never replace public transit, argues Brent White on Seattle Transit Blog. The shift from city streets being the domain of pedestrians to the cars-only mayhem we see today took decades to happen, so it only makes sense that shifting to autonomous vehicles won’t happen overnight, and positive changes will be tempered by unexpected negative outcomes.

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