The development of self-driving vehicles is progressing at a steady pace. It’s only a matter of time before seeing a human drive a vehicle on public roads will be akin to seeing a horse and carriage on a motorway. Even if introduced globally right now while still in development, self-driving technology would drastically reduce fatalities.
Unfortunately, today’s society would only accept this technology if it is perfect. That’s because it is “understandable” that crazed primates may kill other beings because of recklessness and inattention, but it certainly won’t be tolerable for a computer to make a mistake, even if it would happen a thousand times less often – and most likely due to freak coincidences rather than the machine actually making a mistake. But society will evolve. Self-driving is here to stay and like it or not, primates will soon be relegated to driving on the race track or some other place where the potential of threatening life is lower.
And while self-driving is currently one of the most debated topics, we should really be talking about self-piloting, which is a more generic term. It covers more of what will actually happen: all machinery will soon be able to pilot itself. So how would worldwide fleet of interconnected self-piloting machinery change life on Earth?