In my spare time, I shuttle passengers around Seattle in my Prius as I am a partner of Uber’s UberX service of person-to-person ride sharing.
So last week, when I was perusing TechCrunch, I saw a headline that seemed relevant to me: “Dispatch From The Future: Uber To Purchase 2,500 Driverless Cars From Google.”
Wow! I read the article with much interest. It indicated Uber had plans to launch a new service called UberAUTO in one or two US cities and would have driverless cars available to pick up passengers and take them to their destinations. Really cool stuff from a technology perspective, but I got a lump in my throat thinking about how this advance in technology would put a crimp on my source of supplemental income, and in a broader sense, was a sign that the future is really coming at us full-throttle.
Here’s the thing. I didn’t understand right away that the post was fiction.
Why didn’t I understand the post was fiction? Maybe I’m dense. I didn’t pick up on the literal mean of “Dispatch From The Future” in the headline, and I certainly didn’t see that the post was discretely dated “July 25, 2023.”
I think more of a factor in my not realizing the post was fiction could be derived from the fact that this type of technology advancement is so darn believable.
We frequently comment on ZAGG Daily about new gadgets and technologies that mean the “future is now” or that bring “Minority Report-style computing” to reality. But with this post from TechCrunch, there were just the right elements of reality (Google has driverless cars, they are performing well from a safety perspective and they are believed to be the future of automobiles) with functionality (if an Uber-type service could deliver its services without human labor, it would be a financial boon to the company.)
The future holds a lot of awesome potential for us. It’s clear that technology has changed our lives in innumerable ways, with those changes being improvements in most respects. And although it is exciting to see how day to day advancements in technology add new conveniences to our lives or incremental benefits, we need to collectively start looking to and planning for what impacts these changes will have five, 10, 25, and 50 years down the road.
The prospect of driverless cars for Uber from TechCrunch made my heart skip a beat, and I just use the service to make some side money. There are thousands of people who drive taxis or for limo services who make their livelihoods driving. And for every driverless car impacting the professional driving industry, there are probably at least 20 other technological advancements in the pipeline that will obsolesce other careers.
Innovation won’t, and shouldn’t, stop. We just need to be on the lookout for what is coming.
The future is awesome. The future is scary. You might say it’s scarily awesome.
Now I want to call me an UberAUTO.