The self-driving car appears to be sort of almost here.
A driverless future will obviously have enormous economic, social, and cultural consequences. To mention a relatively trivial one from my own piece of the pie: A large percentage of the work done by many small law firms and solo practice lawyers involves things — traffic accidents, drunk driving, etc. — that will pretty much disappear in a world without drivers.
A more consequential effect will involve the millions of people in the US alone who currently make their living by driving cars and trucks.
In short, driverless cars could be a major technological shock in all sorts of ways, both good and bad. Which raises the question (btw I hate it when people use the phrase “begs the question” to mean “raises;” also get off of my lawn) of how soon this harbinger of our robot overlord future will be upon us.
I have zero expertise or even vague lay knowledge on this subject, so I put it to you, quasi-omniscient LGM readership:
(1) When will your typical local car dealership first sell driverless cars?
(2) When will a significant percentage — say 10% — of all cars on the road be driverless?
(3) When will the majority of cars no longer have human drivers?
(4) When will the human-driven car be a freakishly rare site, causing wonder among the young, who will have lost this crucial skill set, even as their grip strength continues to decline in our increasingly machine-dominated and decadent age?