By KIM BELLARD
Shira Ovide, who writes the On Tech newsletter for The New York Times, had a thoughtful column last week: Tech Can’t Fix the Problem of Cars. It was, she said, inspired by Peter Norton’s Autonorama: The Illusionary Promise of High Tech Driving. The premise of both, in case the titles didn’t already give it away, is that throwing more tech into our cars is not going to address the underlying issues that cars pose.
It made me think of healthcare.
What’s been going on in the automotive world in the past decade has truly been amazing. Our cars have become mobile screens, with big dashboard touchscreen displays, Bluetooth, and streaming. Electric cars have gone from an expensive pipedream to an agreed-upon future, with Tesla valued at over a trillion dollars, despite never having sold a half-million cars annually before 2021.
If we don’t feel like driving, we can use our smartphones to call an Uber or Lyft. Or we can use the various autonomous features already available on many cars, with an expectation that fully self-driving vehicles are right around the corner. Soon, it seems, we’ll have non-polluting, self-driving vehicles on call: fewer deaths/injuries, less pollution, not as many vehicles sitting around idly most of the day. Utopia, right?Continue reading…