Sunday, December 27, 2015

Autonomous Cars & Class

What will the effect of autonomous cars on the socio-economic strata be?
The tech in the average car has fairly eliminated the shade tree mechanic already. The driverless car will just hammer that home even more.
But for some people, graduating from high school & buying a car is a big deal. More educated & affluent people just take those accomplishments as being mundane. The less affluent will likely be less able to afford a high tech driverless car.
But what will ownership look like? Without the 'driving experience', who will buy a car, people will probably opt out & rent. Perhaps people will rent a la carte or subscribe to businesses offering fleets with specific amenities. Whatever, the underclass will lose one of their revered rites of passage and could result in social tensions. The poor would likely hang on to their traditional cars & bitch about wealthier people and their 'toys'.
Add to that, the autonomous cars will be less prone to fender benders than traditional cars & their wetware which will cause tensions.
This issue will only be exacerbated when cash strapped county governments adopt artificial intelligence systems to replace costly judges & their personnel in the court houses.
Eventually, traditional cars will be banned from the roads much like people & beasts of burden have been today. The difference then will likely be more along the lines of people using autonomous vehicles versus people traveling through tubes. Of course interaction at that point will be relegated to making faces & obscene gestures through the plexiglass & the Socio-economic stratification will only be more acute.

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