Hi friends, I’m wondering what questions are created by self-driving cars.
[We often wonder what questions are created by, say, Richard Dawkins’ latest book - but I think the questions created by new cultural artifacts are often far more important. As Os Guinness puts it:
The clock has been described as the most important invention in the West, and a central secret of the power of the West. Reinforced and accelerated today by the computer and by nanotechnology, today’s fast-life includes turbo-capitalism, business at the speed of light and war at warp speed. Accelerated time is one of the primary shapers of our modern world and far more influential than any individual modern thinker.
I know that “self-driving cars” sounds like a science fiction idea, but they appear to be arriving in the near future. Here’s some reasons for that:
- Apple is releasing research on self-driving cars (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-autos/apple-scientists-disclose-self-driving-car-research-idUSKBN1DM08H).
- Lyft has filed to test self-driving cars in California (https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/22/16690148/lyft-self-driving-cars-california-dmv).
- Uber has signed a contract with Volvo to buy 24,000 self-driving cars from 2019 to 2012 (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-20/uber-steps-up-driverless-cars-push-with-deal-for-24-000-volvos).
- Waymo (Google) has filed over 2,000 patents related to the technology (https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/310500/waymo-takes-big-lead-in-self-driving-car-patents.html) and you can see their self-driving cars working in Arizona neighborhoods (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=aaOB-ErYq6Y).
- Tesla just released news of its electric semi trucks - and Walmart is a customer (https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/17/wal-mart-says-its-planning-to-test-teslas-new-electric-trucks.html). Their self-driving car demos are pretty amazing. This one is a year old: https://www.tesla.com/videos/autopilot-self-driving-hardware-neighborhood-long
- What do you think are the social or cultural implications of self-driving cars?
- How will they change people’s desires and thinking?
- What questions will this raise about the legitimacy and the value of following Jesus wholeheartedly?
For me, optimistically, it could be that people repurpose their cars into prayer closets and have quiet times on the way to/from work, school, etc. But I imagine the main interest will be in the car as an entertainment center.