How Google Will Destroy Stoplights

I attended a strange meetup the other night. It is one of the amazing benefits of being in San Francisco. You can go in person to meet people on the cutting edge of technology and hear their vision (pun not intended) of the future. In this case I met someone from who was game for discussing my theories about the future focus being differently-abled, from Google maps to automated cars.

Unfortunately I lack time to blog in full our discussion. In brief, here’s some of what I’ve been speaking on lately, building upon my earlier posts, and what will be in my new book on Big Data security:

Stoplights are a stop-gap (pun not intended) measure that resulted from the inferiority of high-speed automobiles to anticipate danger. We used to be able to keep flow when traveling under 15mph. Adding a speed differential made stop-lights necessary to protect pedestrians and horses from cars, let alone protect cars from other cars; and it was a concept poorly interpreted from sailing.

We should get rid of them. But how do we do that? Automation. Once cars can anticipate other cars at speed, we don’t need to stop and sit at red lights. We’re smarter than the lights, but we can’t see risk fast enough at high speed to get rid of them. Automation can “see” faster.

Similarly, we should stop looking at maps. Look at race cars for the face of innovation. Rally cars do not have visual displays of directions, they have audio navigation. That’s what we should look towards. All we need to do is improve the confirmation or validation of automated navigation devices. Get rid of unnecessary information (e.g. no street-view, no satellite view until the last mile) and allow two-way dialog. Let’s not get stuck on big screens for navigation any more than we were stuck on stop-lights for predicting risk.

Google is leading the world in these areas, especially with Kurzweil on board, so I’m hopeful we can move towards eliminating the wasteful and poorly-thought out stop-light model.

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