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Joel Schlosberg

So, as a futurist, what form of transportation do you think will replace the car/highway system as the dominant one? It's amazing how durable that system has been into the 21st century, and how little changed by technological progress, despite its obvious problems.

Nick Sagan

Well, much as I'd love for the option to move in three directions via flying cars or jetpacks, I think that's unlikely for the foreseeable future. Too much danger of air crashes as we've yet to work out the orderliness of that Jetsonian vision of floating stoplights that tell us when to stop or go. Plus, with combustible fuel in the tank, we're talking about the potential for swarms of flying human missiles. There's an intriguing possibility of propulsion that doesn't run on chemical combustion but rather microwave technology, but this "EmDrive" might not pan out.

I can't deny it's possible that these technologies will eventually replace the highway system, but we've got a long way to go before that happens. Until then, I have a sense that telepresence will become increasingly popular with technology advancing to allow more of us to work from home, which might help relieve some of the burden on our highway system.

Erik Baard

EmDrive? More like EmoDrive. I hope speeding reflects a positive emotion, like eagerness to see loved ones or the excitement of wizzing after a UFO, and not stress and tension!

Regardless, I'd love to see you if you come to NYC, Nick. It's been too long and we have excellent mass transit. And I would love to get you on a kayak -- even the best paddlers can sustainably plow through water at only about five miles per hour over current. :)

Warm regards,


Mark G.

Try cruise control. I drove a rental Mazda 3 last year that let me set a speed (i.e. the limit) and would sit at that speed until I either pushed the throttle deep or tapped the brakes.

Yup, it was painful watching every car sail past on those long, straight Nevada roads... but I've found that if I glanced briefly to one side, I still got a satisfactory impression of speed =)

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