Recently, I had a debate with a group of friends about the future health of suburbs when autonomous cars arrive (let’s set aside when exactly that might be). The general consensus has been that the suburbs are going to grow rapidly, since commutes into the city (or just going out for a night on the town) will be far safer, efficient, and convenient than today’s status quo of driving a car and having to find a place to park.
I disagree with this view quite strongly.
The decision on where to live isn’t made in a vacuum. In fact, quite the opposite - people spend enormous time choosing where to live and the mix of amenities, convenience, and price they are willing
I’ve been told twice in the past week that red lights (everyone’s favorite traffic signal!) are going to disappear with the advent of autonomous cars. The first time was from a VC friend of mine, after which I got into a fairly extended argument about why red lights and traffic are still going to be with us for a very long time (i.e. forever).
[The second time came from TechCrunch], which interviewed Jeffery Owens, the CTO of Delphi, one of the largest auto suppliers in the world. In the video’s intro, Owens says that (slightly edited) “Ultimately, if every car was talking to each other, you wouldn’t need stop signs or stop lights at all. That would
Cost Disease: Costs for many services in the US have skyrocketed, including industries as diverse as housing, health, education, and infrastructure. What is driving these prices, and what can be done to bring prices more in line with inflation in other industries?
Non-Coastal Economic Development: How will cities in the middle of the United States survive and even thrive going forward? How can we create a whole new set of jobs in these settings to reduce pressure on the coasts and improve living in the Midwest and elsewhere?
New Approaches to Political Lobbying: Lobbying remains completely ancient compared to the technological change that has happened to nearly every other form of brokering industry. What can be done to improve its effectiveness, with the hope of improving access for all people to politicians.
Next-generation Media: Media businesses are still struggling, yet it is clear that a persistent focus on audience development and subscriptions is the way forward. What tools need to be built to bring this world to fruition faster?
Graph Databases and Learning: This is more broad-based – how can we use knowledge maps to improve learning (specifically thinking around foreign languages).