Disaster Zone

Self-Driving Economy will Change Things — Like Revenue

There will always be unintended consequences stemming from technology.

by Eric Holdeman / January 10, 2017

Trying to figure out how a particular innovation is going to impact the future is always a great topic to get people talking. I'm sure that the folks who started the Internet never thought about the Internet of Things (IoT) and where we are headed early in the 21st century. My next blog post will be on that topic.

Then there is the self-driving car. See this article, Breaking Down the Financial Impact of Self-Driving Cars, which looks at the impact of these cars on government finances. The one piece I disagree with in this particular story is in the first paragraph. I don't see us owning self-driving cars. I see the car being something that like Uber, shows up and takes us where we want to go for a fee. But, in the future there will not be an Uber driver. More on this in a moment.

The rest of the story goes on to detail how these cars are going to impact the finances of government and individuals. It notes that the average car is parked 95 percent of the time. Think about that even here in western Washington, if I drove to work each workday, my commute time would be around five hours a day. The other 19 it is parked in my garage at home or in a parking garage (where you might pay up to $30 or more a day to park).

Today in the city of Seattle they have either considered passing, passed or are debating allowing Uber drivers to unionize and negotiate for salary and benefits. While I'm sure this is a "rich debate" it is really very temporary. In a few years there won't be any Uber drivers at all. Their time would have been better spent debating things like "How do we improve the seismic safety of people living in unreinforced masonry buildings (URM).  

Lastly, there will always be more unintended consequences from the adoption of new technologies. These will be factors that we can't envision today but, will be real, very shortly in the future.

The technology wheel is turning very fast these days!