The main danger is the lack of common sense. Just check out the Paleo-Future blog for a few laughs at how previous generations thought we’d be living. Whatever did happen to jet packs, monorails, and houses on the moon?
LiveScience featured “10 Technologies That Will Transform Your Life,” and I found a few chuckles. I think this series is slightly tongue-in-cheek. Number 7 has to be. If not, it’s a paleo-future moment.
The recent DARPA challenge (where robot cars navigated through suburban traffic) hints at what might come. Why drive to the deli to pick up your order when you can just send your car? We may see convoys of robot trucks on the highways. Admittedly, they’ll probably have more initial acceptance in warehouses, handling pick-and-pull chores.
No way I’m sending my two-ton car to get a two pound meal. More likely if we’re going to send a vehicle to the store to pick up our stuff, it will be small and sturdy, like a low-slung shopping cart. No windows, probably three wheels, battery-powered, and a hatch that opens on voice command or with a scanner. It would look like an oversized kid’s toy. Empty, it would probably be light enough to lift.
The robot truck idea is more likely: you’d just see big to medium boxes on wheels–no need for a cab compartment at all, and the whole thing would be run from a computer hidden in a cooled compartment amongst the mechanical innards. Likely we’ll see smaller trucks as the drivers become obsolete and shipping businesses can diversify routes and deliver more timely service.