31 October 2023

Biking a car-free freeway... and dreaming of a better future

This (below) is interesting. There's a 50 year old science fiction story by Larry Niven in which, due to the development of transfer booths (more or less Star Trek transporters), the freeways have become unnecessary and had been turned into long, snaking parks. But you know, the park part (not the transfer booths, which probably violate at least one fundamental law of physics and so will be impossible forever)... isn't so far fetched. In the not too distant future, I picture the technology of tunneling becoming fully automated and far more effficient. We could have vehicles that are conjoinable and sent through pressurized tunnels controlled by AI, to emerge and become (electric, of course) driver-operated cars mainly only for the "last mile." Many existing roads and highways can be given over to green space. 

Our civilization has to return to dreaming of a better, more prosperous life, and get over all this senseless conflict in which, more and more, there can never be winners. 

Just as a few centuries ago alchemy became chemistry and, while they came to realize that you just can't turn lead into gold (at least not through chemistry), you can do all manner of seemingly miraculous things, we are just at the very threshold of a second Enlightenment and third Industrial Revolution that can transform human life from drudgery and tedium to nearly complete freedom. We can't zip around the galaxy, but there is a whole lot we can do. Or we can destroy ourselves. And the choice is pretty much entirely up to us. 

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