[ExI] post forward for tara maya

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Sat May 19 09:35:14 UTC 2012

On Thu, May 17, 2012 at 2:37 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> Robo-cars will probably start coming with a lot of apps to entertain
> passengers as they drive. This will probably happen in three ways:
> 1. They will integrate with existing tech, i.e. you stick your iPad in the
> slot and watch it as a tv.
> 2. They will have their own integrated tech, i.e. a giant tv/computer
> already in the car, chairs that massage you, sleep lighting, 360 degree
> windows for sightseeing, etc.
> 3. They will make present day limo perks look tame. Food and alcohol will be
> commonly available in robo-cars. Driving drunk will be popular again, since
> there's no reason not to. Fridges may become standard features.

Don't forget Spike's favorite past time... :-)

> Yes, I think there would be a tremendous gain in productivity.


> (whenever people trumpet about
> the supposed virtues of public over private transportation, I cannot help
> but recall certain unpleasant experiences in this area);

Public transportation is seen as a risk by a lot of people. I'm sure
bad things happen sometimes. I wonder if the risk is blown up by the
media, and I always wonder what the REAL risk of things are as opposed
to the perceived risks. For example, the REAL risk of driving his
higher than the perceived risk. I wouldn't be surprised if the
perceived risk of mass transit is higher than the real risk, just as
it is for airline travel. But I don't have any numbers, just a gut
feeling that it's probably overblown.

> A robo-car would be like having your own private train, without any of those
> disadvantages. You could have your workspace all ready for you, without fear
> of being robbed, crowded, harassed or dropped at the wrong place. I think
> many people will start their work day as soon as they sit in their robo-car.

I'm sure. Hopefully, if you can be that productive in a robo-car, you
could be that productive at home and avoid the commute altogether. On
those rare days when you need to go in... it would be nice not to have
to totally waste the time. I would probably read myself. (If I didn't
have anyone to copulate with, of course... LOL.)

> If robo-cars made it easier to drive a long way in a shorter period of time,
> then longer commutes would be possible.

Working at home more also makes this possible. Flying cars make longer
commutes of several hundred miles possible, but all of these options
come at a high energy cost, so I hope it doesn't catch on too much.
Also, I like the country side empty, but that's just a personal

> Robo-cars could also allow families to safely send kids to their various
> lessons and games without doing all the "chauffeur" work themselves.

Oh heck, wouldn't that be great!

> Most accident repair shops will close down - more unemployment.

Hmm. I'm not worried about unemployment caused by new technologies.
That just means people can have better jobs, if they work to stay

> Repair shops might do less repairs (I am actually dubious even about that,
> since even if robo-cars have less accidents, they can still break), but will
> still be active. Service shops will include something like the "genius desk"
> to help all of the older citizens and liberal arts majors actually *operate*
> their robo-cars, which will be more like operating a computer than a
> machine, and thus baffle a good portion of the population.

I figure something like On-Star will be quite popular for these
vehicles. Real people helping you get around.

> Every new feature the robo-car engineers and app developers add to make it
> "easier" to use robo-cars will only confuse the tech-challenged portion of
> the population more. They will need more service assistance.

But sometimes tech does actually make things easier. It's rare, but it
does happen. Like automatic transmissions, for example.

> Mostly people won't own their own car. They will just specify their
> journey, number of people, luggage, etc. and an appropriately sized
> vehicle will turn up on schedule and deliver them to their
> destination.

I don't know when or if it will be "most", but I do see this as a
viable option for lots of folks.

> I can't think of any reason people wouldn't want their own car. Most people
> will still commute to work, and so need the car daily. Unless for the
> reasons some have suggested it is *significantly* cheaper to rent a rob-car
> daily than to leave it in your garage, and I'm not sure it would be, people
> would buy and own cars. Maybe this would depend on the city one lived in,
> since of course there's already a difference in car ownership in, say, Los
> Angeles vs New York.

There is a big difference between Los Angeles and New York... I think
for some people renting a robo-car would conceivably be a LOT cheaper.
It's not just the car, there is insurance, repair, hassles, washing,
changing oil, etc. I have an acquaintance that drives a lot and she
just rents a car on a permanent basis now. Of course she's driving
1000 miles a week, but she says it makes sense for her.

> However, maybe this is just my own hang-up. I'm not big on rentals. I don't
> rent my house, I don't rent my computer, I don't even loan school books if I
> can buy them. I'd rather own my own vehicle. If it's my own car, I can pack
> it with a diaper and toy bag for the kids, water bottles and power bars in
> case I am stuck in a snowstorm or earthquake or alien invasion. The kids can
> put stickers on the window. And if the baby barfs on the seat, I don't have
> to worry about paying some company a fine. (And really, would you *want* to
> be the next customer in the car after me on the day the baby is sick? No, my
> friend. No, you really wouldn't. You'd want me to own my own car too.)

There are benefits to ownership, but there are also benefits to
renting. As the former owner of snow machines, I can tell you than if
you can rent, you really want to. As with all of life, there are
tradeoffs involved.

> Unless of course, it was really, really much cheaper and almost as fast to
> get a rental to my house whenever I needed it. Speed is important. If I live
> out in the boondocks because robo-cars have made it easy to commute a long
> way, I don't want to have to wait half an hour every time I call a car to my
> house.

I think that to be effective, they would have to program the robo-cars
to be pre-positioned for immediate use, and as soon as one was called,
another would have to be moved into position in that area. It's not
the most difficult algorithm to conceive of, but there would still be
occasional waits, no matter what.

>The price difference would have to significant too. Right now, if I
> wanted, I could ride the bus and train to work, but it would cost me almost
> as much as my car, and that's just for my commute. It doesn't count all the
> other trips I make chauffeuring the kids around.

I don't think we often reflect on the total cost of ownership of cars.
It really is a lot!

> In that case, sure, you'd have to put up with my baby possibly barfing on
> your seat. So a lot depends on price point. I guess I just don't see why
> robo-cars would be more expensive to own compared to always taking
> taxi-robo-cars.

There will also be advances in nano-fabrics... hose it out my friend!

> By the way, my 3 little boys absolutely LOVE cars. I don't pretend to
> understand it, but good luck decoupling cars from the American (really? no
> one else in the world loves cars? really?) psyche.

Because America is physically large, and because we've had cars longer
than folks in many countries, we do have a somewhat special, though
not unique relationship with our cars. Lots has been written on this
subject, of course. And yes, it will be very difficult. But, if you
can have a fancy car when you want it for not too much extra, for that
special date or prom or whatever, there is benefit to that as well.

> Another important side effect of on-demand cars showing up when
> required is that we de-invest our identity from them.  I'm not going
> to leave 'my stuff' in the car when anyone else might be using it next
> or (more likely) that I may not see that particular vehicle again for
> weeks.  Assuming these vehicles keep themselves clean (within
> tolerances agreed-upon by service provider and consumer) there is also
> less concern for how stylish the vehicle is; for it is no longer a
> status object to be owned or compared to others'.


> Indeed. Which would open a market for privately owned courses where ordinary
> people could take their hobby cars to drive. Much as people do with horses.
> It might even be cheaper than keeping a horse, since you only need to "feed"
> it when you drive it.

Great analogy. The current car will be viewed much as the horse is
now. I really hadn't thought of it in those terms, but this is exactly
the way to think of it!

> Obviously, a lot depends on how cheap it is to buy and run a robo-car vs
> what we have now. But in general, I think that if robo-cars could go faster
> in a shorter period of time with less stress for the driver, then we will
> see an *increase* in mobility, not a decrease.

I see it increasing mobility rather than decreasing. Especially if you
have video conferencing as you drive.

> Just for the record, I think increased mobility is to be welcomed, not
> feared.

It would be good for the economy, if we aren't having endless energy
crisis fears.

Sorry for the sloppiness in who said what in this post, Tara's post
included things from everyone.


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