Unexpected Consequences of Self Driving Cars

Many new technologies have unexpected impacts on the physical or social world in which we live.

When the first IMPs^{\big 1} for the fledgling ARPANET were being built starting in 1969 at BBN^{\big 2} in Cambridge, MA, I think it safe to say that no one foresaw the devastating impact that the networking technology being developed would have on journalism thirty to fifty years later. Craigslist replaced classified ads in newspapers and took a huge amount of their revenue away, and then Google provided a new service of search for things that one might buy and at the same time delivered ads for those things, taking away much of the rest of advertising revenue from print, radio, and TV, the homes of most traditional journalism. Besides loss of advertising cutting the income stream for journalism, and thus cutting the number of employed journalists, the new avenues for versions of journalism are making it more difficult for traditional print journalists to compete, as John Markoff recently talked about in announcing his retirement from the New York Times.

A way of sharing main frame computer power between research universitiesended up completely disrupting how we get our news, and perhaps even who we elected as President.

Where might new unexpected upendings of our lives be coming from?

Perhaps the new technology with the biggest buzz right now is self driving cars.

In this post I will explore two possible consequences of having self driving cars, two consequences that I have not seen being discussed, while various car companies, non-traditional players, and startups debate what level of autonomy we might expect in our cars and when. These potential consequences are self-driving cars as social outcasts and anti-social behavior of owners. Both may have tremendous and unexpected influence on the uptake of self-driving cars. Both are more about the social realm than the technical realm, which is perhaps why technologists have not addressed them. And then I’ll finish, however, by dissing a non-technical aspect of self driving cars that has been overdone by technologists and other amateur philosophers with an all out flame. And yes, I am at best an amateur philosopher too. That’s why it is a flame.

read the full article: http://rodneybrooks.com/unexpected-consequences-of-self-driving-cars/