The emerging mobile class

“Self-driving cars” is a phrase that sort of misses the point. The future we are actually discussing is one of a single cooperative system of mobile units that will always remain in tightly coupled communication with each other.

Topologically, this system will resemble a packet-switching computer network more than a collection of individual vehicles. The result will be a sort of highly granular public transportation service, rather unlike what we now think of when we think of “cars”.

When you get into one of these mobile units you won’t need to drive, which means you will be free to do other things, much the way you are now free to do other things when you ride the train. The difference will be that you will have privacy, and that is a big difference.

The entire idea of a commute will become transformed. While on the road you will be able to spend time with friends and family, or simply enjoy some alone time, without the distraction of “eyes on the road”.

Much of what we currently think of as quality time will be spent in these future mobile units. The very concepts of work, play, dining, education, entertainment and more will merge with the concept of getting from one place to another. Entire new industries will arise to cater to the emerging mobile class.

I can’t predict with any real clarity what those new industries will be. But I’m fascinated to find out.

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