Where are we going? A conversation with myself.

Too pretentious as a title? One of me doesn’t care, at least not for the moment. So, today I’m taking on the role of all of modern society and asking myself the big questions, like, How long do we have left on the planet? Will we ever populate Mars? Will I ever get my flying car before personal transport becomes extinct? And, if time allows, why is most of the planet a slave population and why don’t they care?

Harry Tuttle, Modern Cave Dweller, flying cars, drones, public transport

Firstly though, is there any point asking the big questions? I’m currently being “entertained” by the presidential election process in the US, so questions like, how long do we have left on the planet? become irrelevant when the candidates seem to be bent on a programme of global destruction; environmentally, politically and economically. Given the fast-track nature of their plans, populating Mars in the short time that remains seems a little optimistic to worry about discussing as well. So that’s another one off the list…

So, flying cars. Before discussing that I should perhaps elaborate a little on why personal transport is going to be extinct. If it was up to me, most of you wouldn’t have a licence in the first place. I’ve seen you drive and you’re dangerous, you lack any respect of your fellow humans, and more importantly, have zero comprehension of the danger you pose. But it’s not up to me. On a not totally unrelated topic, driverless cars are making the news with increasing frequency. Vehicles have been cruising the streets for several years now in the US, since 2012. Forecasts – being forecasts – will vary, but it is estimated that there will be over 10 million self-driving cars on the road by 2020. So how are these two things related? The problem is the mix of vehicles driven by people and those driven by machines. Most accidents for self-driving cars have involved, even been the fault of, human drivers.

I suspect that in the next 10-20 years, driving your own personal vehicle in any greater city area will be illegal. For those of you still in love with the internal combustion engine, the news is even worse – if you do have a car, it will probably be electric. Why? Well, apart from the reduced accident rates and not killing one another, a fully autonomous fleet of publicly-shared vehicles would be far more efficient for society. Perhaps there will be room for private vehicles for those that want to pimp their rides, but on the whole, it should not be necessary. Think of it as a massive hybrid taxi-bus-car-sharing system. Given the progress electric cars are making, if would not surprise me if human driven cars are completely removed, even for intercity travel – there are really cool things called trains that already do a pretty good job of this.

Having said that, one might wonder whether there is even a need for a flying car. Maybe. Perhaps. But do you really think they’d let you fly one!? If you’re hesitating about that, the answer is no. Seriously, commercial pilots do less and less in favour of machines. You, most certainly, won’t be trusted with such a responsibility.

So, I was going to talk about the planet’s slave population and wrestle with the question of whether any one cared. Instead, I’ll leave you to ponder that and to ponder what would happen to society, and all that sail in her, if we accept to be shuttled about in boxes controlled remotely by machines. Maybe it could be a good thing?

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