Friday, 10 February 2023 13:20

This Week in Tech with Jeanne Destro-2-10-23: Carless, Carefree, & Connected

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From James Bond's super spy Aston Martin, to Elon Musk's tricked-out Teslas; the cars we own, drive, and aspire to impress with, have had an outsized hold on America's consciousness and mythology for over 100 years.

But, the problem is; we don't just drive them; they drive us to make monthly car payments, and lament the ever-increasing cost of gas, insurance, license tags, parking, and maintenance.

But what are you going to do?

Some lucky Americans live in cities where taking mass transit is easy, like in New York, and Washington, DC. But they're in the minority. Most of us need our own vehicle to get us where we need to go.

And, even if you do have relatively easy access to decent mass transit; that doesn't necessarily mean it is all that convenient, particularly if you need to get somewhere that is not immediately adjacent to a subway line or bus route.

At the same time; the environmental damage and health risks associated with burning fossil fuels is driving technological change in the form of more electric vehicles, along with smart technologies that have enabled both autonomous and connected vehicles.

With that in mind; I had a conversation with author, educator, and designer, Carla Diana, who is currently working on a new book about a possible shift away from owning personal vehicles, toward a shared, "mobility-as-a-service" model. 

But the question is; Will Americans ever willingly give up their own personal cars, in favor of making such a thing possible?

The last time we spoke, was just after the publication of her book, "My Robot Gets Me: How Social Design Can Make New Products More Human". 

Now, Diana says, she's fascinated by the possibility of a future where a variety of mass transit options accessed through advanced ride sharing software, could make the personal car passé, help reduce global warming, and give us all back a measure of personal freedom and community that we're missing now as we tool around town in our own private cars.

Carla Diana

Carla Diana: Designer, Educator, Author


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