Tomorrow arrived yesterday. So what do we do now?

A group of self driving Uber vehicles position themselves to take journalists on rides during a media preview at Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar)

A group of self driving Uber vehicles position themselves to take journalists on rides during a media preview at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh on Monday. (AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar)

The future arrived Wednesday. In Pittsburgh, of all places.

Wednesday marked the debut of self-driving cars working on behalf of Uber, the fast-growing ride-hailing service. Only four such vehicles were cruising the streets of the Rust Belt city, and each had two people in the front seats ready to take control if something went wrong, but their presence was a watershed moment. Between them, autonomous vehicles and the so-called sharing economy have the potential to reshape our lives as sharply as the Internet did.

There’s a personal component to this. Autonomous vehicles are expected to drastically reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities — particularly as more and more drivers are distracted by their mobile phones. (If you want to complain about losing some notional liberty to drive yourself, you better not be one of the many people I see stopped at green lights, running red lights or driving around with your eyes pointed at a screen instead of the road.)

We may also be less inclined to own cars — with all the expense they entail — if self-driving vehicles for hire are always available. Autonomous vehicles are projected to saturate the market by 2035, but if anything they’re likely to beat that deadline. As they do, and are put to use by operators like Uber and Lyft, owning and maintaining a personal car will make less sense.

But the broader policy implications are just as sweeping, if not more so.

All the talk about traffic congestion in Atlanta? That could virtually disappear if the promise of autonomous cars — driving more quickly and safely, talking to each other to avoid accidents (and the resulting traffic stoppages) — are realized.

What’s more, even a long commute may be more tolerable if our minds, hands and eyes are freed up. For many people, that commute time would simply become the beginning and ending of their work days, allowing them to spend less time at the office. For others, it could be a time for relaxation instead of stress.

The cost-benefit analysis of mass transit should also change dramatically in the era of micro transit. There may still be some corridors in metro Atlanta that warrant high-capacity transit, but most routes will be best served by private, self-driving fleets. Instead of subsidizing all transit riders regardless of income, tax dollars can be targeted to the truly needy.

And a network of streetcars? If we are foolish enough to rebuild what 20th-century Atlantans decided they no longer needed, 21st-century Atlantans are destined to rip up streetcar tracks once again.

Instead, much public capital can go to other uses. As more commuters ride in vehicles that drop them off and then move on to the next fare, city leaders can tear up any number of parking lots and put up a little bit of paradise in the way of parks.

As with the Internet and other technological breakthroughs, it won’t all be a smooth ride. Lots of people make their living behind a wheel, as was once true on farms and in buggy factories. But history tells us there will also be smart people out there coming up with new services and products we never imagined, provided and built by people now working as truck and taxi drivers, and bought with money freed up from other uses.

We should be preparing for that future, not fearing it. After all, it’s just about here.

Reader Comments 0

100 comments
IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

Hillary briefs the press but what strikes me is how she can barely keep her eyes open. Is she doped up, exhausted, or what?



She looks exhausted.https://t.co/EvB615dogF




Time for some more bed rest!

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

The once respected Democrat party has degenerated into a party without a moral compass. A party that embraces the unAmerican views and policies of Barack Obama, who has been systematically bringing our country down over the eight years he's sadly held the highest office in our land. The Democrats have held failing presidency's since my adult life as a voter dating back to when I first voted inn 1964, while a member of the military. LBJ, a failing grade for Vietnam, Jimmy Carter a failing grade for just being a poor president, Bill Clinton, who placed more effort in his dalliances in office than he did taking care of business in his sworn duty functions as president of the United States. Now the country is just about finally done with Barack Obama, an elected president of questionable background who appears to have leaned politically more toward his anti-American Muslim father. The choice now is between an inveterate liar and an anti-establishment maverick. I'll take the chance on the maverick.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit That's a rather risky choice. I may not be draftable any more but I have a kid in the military. I'd add that Nixon was a failure, obviously. Remember "Peace With Honor?"  Bush started Iraq. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit A selective memory indeed, leaving out the Iraq war, called a blunder even by the "anti-establishment maverick." But then, nothing in this drivel can be taken seriously. When somebody writes such as stupidity as "Bill Clinton, who placed more effort in his dalliances in office than he did taking care of business in his sworn duty functions as president of the United States," one recognizes a complete lack of rationality.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @SGTGrit 

Have to agree with you on Nixon. Thank your son for serving, however, in this time I'm sure it's unnerving for you. Must be taking after the old man.

MarkVV
MarkVV

The depravity and hypocrisy of Donald Trump, his campaign officials and his supporters when they repeat his claims about “birtherism” exceeds perhaps everything we have seen in this campaign so far.This is what Trump’s campaign has stated about the claims (debunked multiple times) that Hillary Clinton started it:

 "This type of vicious and conniving behavior is straight from the Clinton Playbook.”

No matter that Hillary campaign never used any such attack in her campaign against Obama. More importantly, no mention that Donald Trump perpetrated this “vicious and conniving behavior” for many years, and no apology for it. Remember his claims about the investigators he sent to Hawaii and how what they found was “unbelievable?”

Donald Trump has shown to be an immoral unprincipled candidate so many times, that this is only another apex of his depravity. But how can his supporters, such as those commenting here, sink so low to defend him?

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@IReportYouWhine I'm so impressed with your new concern about Hillary's health. Now where is your concern about Trumps lying?

lvg
lvg

Editorial by Wingfield  in Sunday's AJC subtly supporting Trump and condemning the sitting President for creating expanded welfare state. Ends by using  Trump of whistle  of making Americans Great again. (Wingfield swears he is not supporting Trump).


Same editorial page has nice debate on why health care has failed under Cons in Georgia. 


Hilarious that Cons blame Obama  for cutting off federal funds to hospitals for Reagancare while trying to expand individual funding of  Emergency Room bills. Only Stupid Party would claim federal subsidies for free ER care is better than a mandatory tax for personal healthcare payments on individuals too lazy to pay for their own insurance. Same cons condemn Obama for promoting individual responsibility vs. public free ER care or Reagancare..


GOP=Stupid Party=Obama deniers= Anarchists 


is Fascism next step for GOP?


RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@lvg Doesn't Congress appropriate money, not President Obama?

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/09/18/obama-says-its-personal-insult-if-black-voters-dont-back-clinton.html

This man is an absolute disgrace to the office of POTUS. With his race baiting remark he even falls further below it by insulting every Black American voter in the USA. He's saying to the Black community that he thinks they're stupid and can therefore be manipulated by shaming them into believing that their vote for Clinton, would be a vote for him and by not voting for Clinton, they're voting against him. What a narcissistic statement as though Black's should only consider him in the 016 election and not what may be best for their country. I hope there's a huge backlash from the Black community that sends a clear message back to this imposter.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit One of the funnier comments from the right, this pretense of outrage, from the side that has been claiming all through the campaign that a vote for Hillary would be a vote for Obama's third term.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit 

As one of the AJC political blogs most ardent Obama water carriers, I'll bet that you actually think you scored with that silly rationalization.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @MarkVV The black community will vote for the candidate who will be good for the black community.
So will the Latino community.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @SGTGrit @MarkVV 

Well maybe they'll give Trump a chance since Obama and the Clintons certainly haven't done anything for them.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

So who're we to believe, James Asher, former McClatchy D.C. chief or Sidney Blumenthal? My choice is Asher, Bluementhal's credibility is lower than whale manure. So is Clinton's credibility. She wouldn't be above planting rumors through surrogates during her 06 campaign that Obama was really born in Kenya. Obama, did add to the controversy by withholding the release of his original birth certificate. Trump, may actually deserve credit for finally getting him to release it.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit Another stupidity just to divert attention from Trump's lies, spanning many years.

lvg
lvg

@MarkVV @SGTGrit Lies were just a manifestation of GOP policy of denial of Obama's legitimacy.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@SGTGrit Sounds like you have encountered whale manure. Did you have fun wallowing in it?

MarkVV
MarkVV

Fact-checking Donald Trump's claim Hillary Clinton started Obama birther movement: FALSE

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/sep/16/donald-trump/fact-checking-donald-trumps-claim-hillary-clinton-/

When Trump said: “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,

he lied by naming HER, no matter what someone in her campaign did or did not ever suggested.

But what is one more lie from Trump? Just another drop in the ocean. And the same is true about his sycophants.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

@MarkVV  hillary and obama aren't responsible for anything, are they? I like the way they run their operations, just let everybody else do what ever they want and hope for the best. What solid leaders they are, not.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@IReportYouWhine @MarkVV A typical response from someone who is a liar himself. There is no question about “responsibility.” No candidate can be held responsible for everything any of his campaign aids suggests. The main point is that neither Hillary, nor her campaign ever acted on any such suggestion.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

@MarkVV @IReportYouWhine Dude, I'm agreeing with you here, I'm probably the only deplorable on your side. clintoon doesn't have any control over her staff, their actions nor even her own faculties, apparently. What do you think you're saying?

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

This alone should disqualify her from holding any office other than dogcatcher and even then she should be directly supervised in her dog catching duties.



The Clinton Foundation spent less than 6 percent of its budget on charitable grants in 2014, according to documents the organization filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2015. The tax records, which were filed with the IRS in November of 2015, show that the Clinton Foundation spent far more on overhead expenses like travel ($7.9 million) than it did on charitable grants in 2014.



http://thefederalist.com/2016/09/16/clinton-foundation-spent-6-percent-charitable-grants-2014/



This is not a rumor, this is not a right wing conspiracy, this is lifted directly from the clintoon crime family foundation tax filings. 


Pa


Thetic.

lvg
lvg

@IReportYouWhine How much did Trump donate to any charity for the last eight years ???????????????

(only $10,000)

How much did the Clintons donate ? 15 million.

See their tax returns- good luck seeing Trump's.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

@lvg @IReportYouWhine You're missing the point here, sweetheart. Trump hasn't set up a fraudulent charitable organization with the sole purpose of receiving contributions tax free, which is better known as tax fraud. 

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@IReportYouWhine @lvg Trump U was a fraud playing on people. It was a charitable org...for himself. So where is all those donations that Trump pledged? Also he said he would donate $5M to a charity that President Obama would pick if his accusation that Obama was not born in the US was false. Where's the donation???

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager, Patti Doyle, admitted today what has been long reported: that a “rogue” Clinton staffer spread the rumor during the 2008 primary campaign. The AP’s claim that there is “no evidence” of involvement by the Clinton campaign is simply false. [UPDATE: The appalling Sid Blumenthal, one of Hillary’s closest confidantes, was spreading the Kenya rumor too.]


http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/09/last-gasp-of-birther-mania.php


So how many "rogue" employees does clintoon have?  

MarkVV
MarkVV

There is a couple of interesting questions about Trump’s statement today that President Obama was born in the US. One is why did he make that statement today? The answer appears to be that he did not have much choice – the question about his “birtherism” would have kept coming, and he would have looked silly continuing just to refuse to answer. The other question is with which part of the electorate is this statement going to help him. It appears that possibly with none. For the African-American community, as well as for Hillary’s supporters in general, such a reversal after so many years of an effort to delegitimize the first African American President, without a sincerely sounding apology, appears to be useless. His strongest supporters, on the other hand, are those who believe and will continue to believe that he was right in the first place, and this is just a political maneuver – which might even hurt him a little with them.Thus the only people left are those in between those two groups, and it is hard to believe that this would make anybody undecided tilt to Trump, especially when his effort to blame Hillary Clinton for the birth of “birtherism” has been immediately shown to be another falsehood.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@MarkVV On the falsehood, check out Sid Blumenthal, Hillary's good friend, who convinced McClatchy to send a reporter to Kenya to investigate after Sid kept sending emails saying Obama was born there.  Also Reggie Love described a confrontation, in a book he wrote, that Barry and Hillary had on the tarmac at Reagan regarding her participation in insinuating that he was a Muslim and an "other".  A campaign staffer of hers circulated a picture of Obama dressed in Muslim garb that made it all over the internet, so to say she was not involved in this issue is factually wrong.

lvg
lvg

This is NOT pathetic. The closer's speech today:


""""The first lady, previously dubbed “the closer” for her effectiveness as a campaign surrogate during her husband’s presidential campaigns, was at one point interrupted by chants of “four more years” as she talked about the bittersweet feelings she is experiencing as her husband’s final term in office draws to a close.

On a day that has been dominated by Trump saying that he believes President Obama was born in the United States after stoking a conspiracy theory for the past five years that he was possibly born outside the country, the first lady also addressed the so-called “birther” controversy.

"There were those who continued to question for the past eight years up through this very day whether my husband was even born in this country. Well, during his time in office, I think Barack has answered those questions with the example he set by going high when they go low," the first lady said.

Calling for “steady” and “measured” leadership, Mrs. Obama said it’s “excruciatingly clear” that there’s only one person in the race that can be trusted with the keys to the White House.

“If a candidate is erratic and threatening, if a candidate traffics in project, fears, and lies on the trail, if a candidate has no clear plans to implement their goals, if they disrespect their fellow citizens including folks who made extraordinary sacrifices for our country, let me tell you, that is who they are,” she said.

“Hillary is one of the few people on this entire planet, and clearly the only person in this race that has any idea what this job entails,” she added of ClintoN.""""


ABCNews  today.


Closer talks truth about the Orange Clown to Black audiences. Orange Clown could not give a rat's behind about Black voters.


lvg
lvg

@IReportYouWhine @lvg If that's how you want to categorize famous Black people; we know what you really mean.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

This is pathetic -


A bigger factor than growing employment was the drop in energy prices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index for energy fell 17% from 2014 to 2015, as the U.S. shale revolution brought a new and affordable energy source into circulation. If energy prices had grown at the same rate as other prices, the 2015 median income gain would have been a third smaller.



http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/09/14/takeaways-from-the-5-2-gain-in-u-s-median-household-income/


So basically all of the growth the liberals are bragging on occurred because of an activity that they simply despise; energy production. Just imagine what the growth would be if the Keystone pipeline had been built. Just imagine the growth if we were drilling in New York state. Just imagine the growth if the liberals weren't trying to tax and regulate the industry into oblivion. Just imagine the growth if the greenies hadn't protested and shut the majority of it down.


Only one way to find out for sure - President Donald Trump.


Fact

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Who is Pragati Gupta, and who really gives a "D"? Yes, Hillary's book is off to a slow start because the Hildabeast and the Obummer have become increasingly more irrelevant to the real concerns of Americans. But don't worry libs, Headley, will be coming along to provide solace and hope.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Sorry Prachti Gupta.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@IReportYouWhine She got the title and slogan backwards.  It should be "If I could hold it together, I would be stronger", if she were truthful.  (which there is never a chance of.)

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Trump Jr now says we cant handle seeing his dads tax return


This must be why Trump never released his report on Obama's birth certificate. He said many times what his investigators were finding was huge.


What they found must be so shocking he is protecting us from that information.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

@Hedley_Lammar So the candidate's children aren't off limits anymore??


These liberals will attack anybody, probably even their own mothers. Look at what they did to Colin Powell, a decorated  American war hero.


OMG, this just so........ depraved.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@IReportYouWhine @Hedley_Lammar When they put themselves into the campaign anyone who does so is fair game. Offering "insight" and opinion lost his right to not be examined, and if controversial, discussed.