Back to The Future

Back to The Future

Most of this post is from an article written in 2016 by Tony Seba, who specialises in Technology research. Tony has published a book Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation and has recently presented to the California Transit Association in the US.

I thought this might be of interest to all of us Over '60's and maybe even some of us Over '50's, because we need to get our head around the effect of technology on our lifestyle and how it may negatively impact us rather than be a help to us if we don't get onto the programme.

Whilst this article by Tony Seba is specific to the fast pace of developing transport technology, the point that I think is pertinent to all of us, is how rapidly we will be left behind if we don't all at least try to keep up.

Most of us are unlikely to go too deeply into his presentation unless we are into that sort of thing. If you are interested you can google Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation.

The main point Tony is making, is that today is reminiscent of a day in Manhattan when the first automobile was seen in a photo amongst the throng of horses and carts in 1900. A photo taken in 1913 shows the same street with no horses and carts anywhere to be seen. So, in Manhattan, this total disruption of a transport method took less than 15 years.

Auto Photo NY City 1900

Auto Photo NY City 1913

Back in 1898 in Manhattan, it was actually The Horse Manure Crisis that led to a change in transport mode. Yes, there was congestion, but the real reason was health, as three billion flies hatched a day, causing outbreaks of typhoid and infant diarrhoea, on top of the number of people actually killed by horses (per capita death rates from horses in 1898 was higher than road accidents today).

Given the much greater availability of technologies coming together today versus in 1900, it will take far less time for the traditional car to disappear. In Singapore today, the internal combustion engine causes health problems, but the real motivation of the Singapore government is to cut congestion and cut the NUMBER of cars on the roads.

With the help of a Start-up technology company NuTonomy, the Singapore Government aims to reduce the number of cars in Singapore from 900,000 to 300,000.  The profound implication of this is that Singapore is like many other Asian cities; a high population density, where land is scarce, congestion is high, parking limited and car ownership is being restricted by governments. 

This is not a pipe dream. This is happening today. The development of Autonomous Vehicles (AV's) or Self Driving cars is expected to see the arrival of vehicles we will ride, not drive. And sooner rather than later. Drivers are likely to ditch the car that is utilised roughly 4% of the time (they are parked 96% of the time) and choose to watch streamed content on their phones or tablets, rather than driving, worrying about hitting the car in front of them, finding a parking space and so on. 

All of this is indicative of how rapidly the technology that we use to simply transact our daily activity, will overtake itself in the course of the next 15 years. If we don't at least try to keep up, we will all require more than someone to wipe our chin and other parts. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: ,Employee

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