It is nothing less than mind-boggling to me that while an entire nation remains traumatized and torn over the impending U.S. presidential election, so many society-altering long-awaited advances in technology have not only flown under-the-radar, but have pretty much embedded themselves there.
Case in point: our friend, the automated self-driving vehicle.
This time it is a featured interview with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, entitled (as if making sure the point is driven home really really clear) “The Future Of America Is Driverless.”
By 2021, we will see autonomous vehicles in operation across the country in ways that we [only] imagine today… Families will be able to walk out of their homes and call a vehicle, and that vehicle will take them to work or to school. We’re going to see transit systems sharing services with some of these companies. It’s not just autonomy in the vehicles. You’re going to see trucks running more closely together, which result in fuel savings and positive climate impact. You’ll see companies that will start to use unmanned aircraft to deliver products to us. My daughter, who will be 16 in 2021, won’t have her driver’s license. She will be using a service.
One has to imagine—had the nasty, reality TV-like presidential race didn’t so completely dominate our media—what the mass reaction would be to the fact that a high-ranking member of the White House has basically informed us that in 5 years a computer will be driving them to work or school.
See: right under the radar.
Again: I’m not a Luddite, and not saying there was a purposeful intention on the part of governments/corporations/mass-media to “sneak” the most life-changing tech in the last 20 years under our noses. I’m just saying: it’s happening. Uber is dropping 90+ page white papers on flying cars, major companies are squabbling over who gets to Mars first, and apparently we’re set to start mining the moon next year.
Think about the scope of all that, and then compare it to what’s dominating the current headlines. Are we really being prepared for what is going to matter the most in 5 years?