The near future- how we will move
‘DIGITAL technology is the solvent leaching the glue out of our global structure—including shaking our belief systems to the core’, writes technology forecaster, Paul Saffo in National Geographic.
The veins—highways, air routes and waterways—of our global society will be rivers of change in this brave new world. The transport industry is the beating heart of our civilisation; throughout history the harbinger of innovation has always been how people move. ‘People won’t own cars at all.
When you need to go somewhere, you’ll have a subscription auto service, and it will show up at your door’, continues Saffo. ‘We’re moving away from a purchase economy. We will subscribe to access rather than pay for money for possessions such as smartphones.
We won’t buy software anymore; we’ll subscribe to it.’ Saffo touches on an interesting point. Is the future something we’re looking towards? Or, is it here.
Uber, a technology company that connects riders with drivers with a touch of a smartphone app has disrupted the traditional transport system—and with it has ushered in a new age of connectivity and convenience. Just as Saffo alluded to—Uber operates without actual cash having to trade hands.
The company has capitalised on this ease of transaction to gain more users—existing riders can share their own promo code with friends, who use it to sign up to the service; and as a reward, both get a free ride.
If the future is here, you may be wondering where the hoverboards and flying cars are. While these creations of cult Sci-Fi Back to the Future haven’t quite made it out of the gate yet, 2015 is the future according to Back to the Future 2. On October 26, 1985, characters Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown, Marty McFly and his girlfriend, Jennifer Parker arrive in 2015 in a flying DeLorean time machine.
Their 2015 isn’t quite like ours. Though we still have lawyers, have to tie our own Nikes and there’s not a flying skateboard to be seen—we do have something ultimately more futuristic than Doc and Marty could ever have imagined: an information network that transmits data instantly around the globe through small, handheld mobile devices.
And, though flying cars are still on the drawing board, we’ll see driverless cars in the next decade according to Saffo: ‘driverless cars will share roadways with conventional cars.’ General Manager of Uber Lagos, Ebi Atawodi says: “Our focus is, and will remain for the next foreseeable future, on creating jobs for drivers on our Uber platform.
But we also are technology company and therefore can not discount the fact that we need to look and prepare for the future and if that involves driverless cars. Our mission is to create technology that benefits communities.” Front-runners of innovation, Uber has announced a strategic partnership with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) that includes the creation of the Uber Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, near the CMU campus.
‘The center will focus on the development of key long-term technologies that advance Uber’s mission of bringing safe, reliable transportation to everyone, everywhere.’
Advancements in technology will inevitably open up avenues for jobs and promotion within industries. And, in-line with this, Uber has created tech to help people create their own businesses. Now, we’re just waiting for the flying Uber skateboard.
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