“You are not in traffic, you are traffic.”
Allegedly, this is what a billboard in Los Angeles says. I haven’t seen it. Regardless if it actually exists, it makes sense.
This post is in response to another thought provoking LinkedIn titled, ‘Disrupting Traffic Jams.'1)http://bit.ly/2pJwnZz
The LinkedIn article provides innovative ways to combat traffic.
On the topic of taking to the skies with the goal of reestablishing our rights of controlling our transit time, the biggest problem seen when we step back even further is the lifestyle shift in the past several decades. We sit more than we walk. Technology and innovation has reduced the burden on our bodies to the point where our under-burdened bodies, in conjunction with our convenience diets, have rendered us disease-ridden – obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis to name a few. Autonomous VTOL (Vertical Take-off Landing) simply relocates the sitting from the ground to the skies, transferring our ‘traffic’ problem to the air. Now we’ve got an air traffic control problem.
It appears the skies are limitless and we too will buzz around with the precision of flies over refuse,2)One time, I threw a candy wrapper on the street. I was with a friend who said to me, “You just littered on the street! Don’t you care about the environment?” And I thought about it, and I said, “You know what? This isn’t the environment. This is New York City. New York City is not the environment. New York City is a giant piece of litter. Next to Mexico City, it’s the shittiest piece of litter in the world. Just a pussy, runny, smokin’, stinkin’ piece of litter. – Louis CK but to achieve that state of complexity there will inevitably be times where we fail.
Imagine the result of a collision in the sky.
Imagine when the skies will be as saturated as the roads. Our roads will be clear, and headlines of the LA Times will read,
“Sayonara Skies: Hit The Road, Jack”
If you are interested in being one of the first to fly above LA traffic, I’d watch this Ted Talk first. It pays to not be first.
Novelty is Pricey
Any new technology is a luxury when it first debuts – a Capitalization on novelty. We are hardwired to seek novelty. Why are so many people seeking to make a life out of traveling the world and becoming a travel blogger? Do you want a new product experience? It’s going to cost you. Back in the early 1900’s when cars were just beginning to roll on the roads, it was a luxury to cruise to a destination faster than the horse pulling the carriage. It could be seen as a symbol of status (new iPhone, new Tesla, new Jordans). At the time, the critics of change probably did not have the foresight to envision a road filled to the brim with automobiles like the 2017 highways of Los Angeles. If we took one such car-critic from the 1900’s and showed them a picture of our nightmarish commutes, they would be charged to tell you, “I told you it wasn’t a good idea.”
Cars are supposed to help you reach your destination faster. Now, they delay us.
It is starting to pay to not be wealthy, to not have that luxurious, air conditioned, leathered car. If only cyclists were allowed on the highways. They would stridently cycle past our modern-day stunning, stagnant steeds, thanking themselves for choosing the alternative lifestyle.
At first, only the wealthy will be able to afford an AVTOL. But once people on the ground imprisoned by their immobile automobiles witness an AVTOL whizzing above, a new lemming race will have begun: “time to get me one of those!”
(Secret: when new models of shoes come out, the old ones go on sale. There’s not much of a difference…)
A Symptom-Obsessed Society
It’s the analogy you hear in medicine quite often. The band-aid solution alleviates the symptoms but ignores the cause of disease.
Acid reflux? Pop some TUMS. Have a cough? Grab some Robitussin. Runny nose? Down some Triaminic. (Loved the orange flavor growing up, I wanted to have those symptoms). Claritin will block your histamine receptors to relieve your allergies.
Traffic is a symptom, not the problem we really have: a disconnected society. Homes are 20+ miles from the workplace. Our farmed food is farther from our tables than ever before. No one dares to touch manual labor anymore because nowadays money comes from strokes of the keyboard; with the right combination and timing you can strike gold that somehow drops into your bank account like the bedside intravenous drip in the hospital.3)In the end, we all become a statistic determined by our lifestyle choices. Consuming coffee and bananas in Seattle, Chicago, and New York City is not living local. Think about it. Coffee grows naturally in subtropical climates and at altitude…
Society has become so striated that we think another striation will produce the results we want.
Take for example Elon Musk’s new ‘Boring Company’ that wants to create underground tunnels in Los Angeles with the aim to relieve our slothy, lemming-like procession on the roads. A new symptom will emerge: car-less roads. He’s paving the way for his other business. New solution: sell more Teslas.
What’s going to happen with all that displaced soil from the tunneling? It’s an ecosystem too, you know, teeming with its worms, rodents, and microorganisms. Who knows what kind of crucial part they play in sustaining the city life above. We must be careful of the butterfly effect.4)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect
Our Dark Side
Roadways and highways, tunnels underground and through mountains, oil rigs in the ocean and oil refineries, power plants transatlantic5)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_communications_cable and transpacific6)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transpac_(cable_system)cables7)https://techcrunch.com/2016/10/12/google-and-facebook-are-building-the-fastest-trans-pacific-cable-yet/, mineral mines, cities, plastic.
If there are 38 million pieces of garbage on an island where no one lives, what about the places where people do live?8)https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/05/16/no-one-lives-on-this-remote-pacific-island-but-its-covered-in-38-million-pieces-of-our-trash/?utm_term=.512d4d6d386d
It’s as if our technological innovation and ‘progress’ are tattooing the Earth and molding its landscape into something dystopian. It’s only a matter of time before we’ve completely pillaged every living nook and cranny of the Earth and compartmentalized its living things into some sort of museum for observation.
Everything you see around you is a creation of the mind. What you see in the movies has the potential to be real. They are all creations of the mind. iRobot, Wall-E, The Matrix, The Island, Equilibrium, Star Wars: all possible futures of humanity.
“Traffic is one of the most soul-destroying things.” – Elon Musk
Humans created traffic. Humans are soul-destroyers. Humans are Death Star creators. Living on Mars will become a reality if there’s no life left on Earth.
Let’s thank Henry Ford for the ride in his Model T and tell him and all his successors we don’t need cars anymore; we’ve arrived to a destination where we can leverage what exists to build a better future. Let’s refocus those billions of automobile dollars into projects that will put resources back into the earth.
Let’s make our cities more walkable.9)https://www.ted.com/talks/jeff_speck_4_ways_to_make_a_city_more_walkable.
Let’s get the greatest minds of our times to think about how we can live more local.
Let’s refocus the countless calories we expend at the gym and be more productive with that energy. Let’s do the physical labor the robots are slowly milking from us. Slowly, the robots will be become the big stack at the poker table and bully us to a slow death taking our small and big blinds, round after round, until our chip stack is zilch.
What is money anyways? Ultimately, if you trace it back to its source, money is a resource or energy from the Earth.
We are taking resources and energy from the Earth at a far faster rate than we can put them back into the Earth.
Every dollar you spend has either a positive or negative impact on the Earth.
Change the average by behaving different than the average.
Families that live above or in the shop they own have the easiest commutes in the world: a flight of stairs or getting out of bed.
Life can be so simple.
References [ + ]
|2.||↑||One time, I threw a candy wrapper on the street. I was with a friend who said to me, “You just littered on the street! Don’t you care about the environment?” And I thought about it, and I said, “You know what? This isn’t the environment. This is New York City. New York City is not the environment. New York City is a giant piece of litter. Next to Mexico City, it’s the shittiest piece of litter in the world. Just a pussy, runny, smokin’, stinkin’ piece of litter. – Louis CK|
|3.||↑||In the end, we all become a statistic determined by our lifestyle choices.|