I’m totally fascinated by this imaginary article from the futureÂ on TechCrunch about Uber.
It’s moments like these when you realize what cities will become in the future. Seriously.
Driverless cars– no drivers will ever be able to compete with the lowering of prices that will occur when you make robots drive cars.Â The margins skyrocket, the staff goes down– for a business, almost nothing but good things occur. Uber just hit a $3.5B valuation and they don’t even actually have driverless cars yet. Imagine when they do.
But that’s just one aspect of what cities will look like. You can forget for a moment whether you think my companyÂ Breather will win or not, but someoneÂ will win the “smart lock” war and will build a network from it. That’s a billion dollar company for sure. You have to be braindead not to see that.
Ok, so far we have automated software-as-a-service type lock and car networks. What else could be automated? Cross-country shipping / truck driving? What other basic, “all-American” industry will be totally overturned by the internet of things? Auto repair? Farming?
More precisely, which one won’t? You will be left with fully automated processes, often with just a human watching, to make sure everything is ok. This is actually what Uber’s city HQs look like, by the way. They are central brains, often with ex-traders in them, buying and selling cars as needed.
Because once you turn it into software, the industry and its components can be bought and sold, almost like stocks.
So let’s look at the city of the future. Once you realize that driverless cars are possible, happening, and will become a service, you realize that so much more is possible than was ever imagined. The city becomes a pulsing machineÂ that just happens to have people in it. And what’s ironic bout this is that those people are actually inventing more machines.
Think about that.
The city is a machine, with people in it, which are mostly working on building other machines (software and hardware) to help us build better machines.
Is this starting to seem weird yet?
Technology creeping into cities is inevitable, and it will happen at a pre-determined rate, largely based on hardware advances as they occur.
People driving cars will become like books– they will be a luxury for the rich.
Conversation from 10 years in the future?
Rich guy A: “I prefer paper– it just feels better.”
Rich guy B: “I use a driver– it just feels better.”
Tell me this isn’t going to happen. Tell me that, when your employer can send an autocar to drive you to work, it won’t. This basically means everyone will be taking “public transportation,” except it’ll be private public transportation that comes to you. You’ll be able to use it to read or work.
And what happens after that? Well, who knows. But I have a few more bets I’m willing to take.
If you’re curious about the future of transportation in cities, you should also look at the app, Transit. It’s basically perfect if you don’t drive. Check it.