Friday, February 13, 2015
Another 2050 Prediction
Another prediction for how artificial intelligence will impact 2050: People won't own cars.
Most people expect that in 35 years, cars will be fully automated and able to drive themselves. Yay! Driving will become much safer, and I won't have to worry about my grandchildren learning to drive. The time people currently spend moving from one place to another will be put to better use, and we'll all be nicer people for not having not had to deal with traffic and road rage on a daily basis.
Self-driving cars are inevitable. Their impact on our world, however, is less obvious. My guess is that by combining self-driving cars with the emerging "sharing economy," we will create a world where individuals can request a ride, get picked up immediately after their request, and be driven directly to their destination in comfort.
Self-driving cars + Uber + Zipcar = On-demand transportation
On-demand transportation will allow people to leave from wherever they are, whenever they want, and go wherever they want privately, just like personal car ownership does right now. But it will be much cheaper than car ownership because the vehicles will be used much more efficiently.
Self-driven "shared" cars will rarely be idle. Even during off hours when human demand for transportation is low, we will develop a container-style approach to the transportation of goods that will allow cars to move packages from one place to another. And when cars are not in use they can be packed in tightly to parking garages, since people will not need to navigate the garage and individual vehicles are interchangeable. Street parking will become a thing of the past, and we will use that extra space to increase the size of our sidewalks to make cities more pedestrian friendly.