Back in the mid-1980s, when i was a reporter covering technology, I interviewed an engineer about a wonky-sounding project. He was trying to establish a “protocol” for exchanging information that would allow engineers to connect computer networks to other computer networks. I argued for a cover story; my editors gave it two pages in the back of the magazine.
That engineer was Bob Kahn, now widely known as one of the founders of the internet, which is what his project eventually became. I didn’t realize at the time how big that story would turn out to be; it’s easier to see in hindsight, of course, how dramatically technology can change the world. The present moment offers a chance to make amends. This week, we report on another new technology—autonomous vehicles—that many knowledgeable people believe will have a transforming effect on how we travel and how we live.
Tens of thousands of Avs—cars that can drive themselves—have already been built and are waiting to hit the streets in the next few years. As David H. Freedman reports in our cover story, driverless cars have the potential to vastly increase mobility, make our cities and suburbs more livable and fix many of the ills of our current reliance on autos, such as traffic, fatalities and pollution. Or they could make these problems even worse, depending on how wisely we make policy decisions in the next few years. To call attention to these issues,
Newsweek teamed up with the Georgia Institute of Technology to hold a seminar, “How Driverless Cars Will Change the World,” on December 12 at 9:15 a.m. EST in Atlanta. If you can’t make the trip, tune in to our webinar, which we will live-stream at Linkedin.com/company/newsweek.
This special report is part of a long Newsweek tradition of highlighting potentially transformative technologies before the disruption they’ll cause is widely understood. As it might say on the mirror of a driverless car, our future is closer than it appears.
Tens of thousands of autonomous vehicles—cars that can drive themselves—have already been built and are waiting to hit the streets in the next few years.