The Driver in the Driverless Car

The Driver in the Driverless Car

How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future

Berrett-Koehler, 2017 more...

Editorial Rating



  • Scientific
  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening


Does the future hold a Star Trek utopia or a Mad Max dystopia – ordinary people will decide. For now, humanity is the ambivalent “driver” of technological change. Your voice matters in urgent debates about driverless cars, killer drones, artificial intelligence, job-stealing robots, data privacy and gene splicing. In this rapid-fire look at current and near-future paradigm-shifting technology, futurist Vivek Wadhwa – writing with tech editor Alex Salkever – focuses on equitability, risk versus benefit, and autonomy versus reliance. getAbstract recommends their eye-opening report to entrepreneurs, technologists, innovators, investors, futurists and curious consumers.


Pick Your Future

In the unevenly distributed lurch toward the future, public discussion about the risks and benefits of rapidly developing technologies suggests that societies don’t really have a say in shaping their own progress. Yet, when social systems and infrastructures crumble, civilization’s advances disappear. The tempered enlightenment of Roman times slid into the ignorance of the Dark Ages. Star Trek’s vision of a fair, abundant, tech-driven future utopia appeals to optimists. But if society doesn’t make hard choices and establish a stable ethical framework, the result may be a “Mad Max dystopia” of depleted resources and social chaos. People’s choices must focus on current social disparities and on fair access to the fruits of progress.

Today’s Uncertain, Accelerating World

At first, people embraced the benefits of the microchip revolution – home PCs, email, GPS, and the like. But the bright future soon lost its sheen for workers who faced rampant “income inequality” and the loss of jobs to automation. Some expressed rage against big tech’s economically destabilizing effects by hurling excrement at Google-buses. In the “driverless...

About the Authors

Engineering professor, entrepreneur and columnist Vivek Wadhwa teaches at Carnegie Mellon and Duke. He co-authored The Immigrant Exodus – a 2012 The Economist book of the year. Former tech editor for BusinessWeek online, Alex Salkever is VP of communications at Mozilla.

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