Controllable, yet fun life?
Every time I jump to the seat of this white Volkswagen and turn on the navigator, I dream of something big. Something different. Smooth, intelligent, interactive, effortless. A technology that would make my life a bit easier; it would open up new possibilities in situations where I least expected but would most appreciate them.
That new magic gadget would mitigate the information costs related to mining optimal solutions in this supermarket of choices.
In the picture you can see me driving to a job interview on Monday, September 3rd, 2012. I'm within Helsinki metropolitan area.
Having left early, it takes me about 25 minutes to get to close to the final destination POI. From my home door it's a 14 kilometer drive, and Google Maps says optimistically that it would take 16 minutes to do the trip.
Actual end-to-end traveling (including possible hassle with parking, new parking zones, temporary traffic arrangements, getting through accidents and so on) it's close to 1 hour, and if I'm ultra paranoid, and want to make sure that I will arrive early, I'll allocate another 30 minutes as extra margin: so, 1:30h all in all - one way - take or give some. Wait! Did I just say 90 minutes, vs. the 16 minutes of Google Maps? Yes I did.
Double the 1:30h to get close to the daily roundtrip time for work. It might be 1:30h on good days, and 3 hours on worse. I'd say that's A LOT. 😉 For Helsinki, which is still quite a cozy little town of about 520000 inhabitants.
Right: two immediate ideas from that "3 hour traffic chore":
First) Could a system optimize the choices of an individual so that we could get down on that 3 hours drastically?
Two) If we have to accept the "spending lot of time in traffic, mostly idle", could the car become a platform of intellectual and fun activities without endangering traffic safety?
(Actually the third thing would be about remote work, but I think there's a lot of coverage there already!)
Btw. I've seen an increasing amount of triaks in traffic. These 3-wheel non-powered or electrically powered, pedalled vehicles are really fascinating. I think that people do a lot of DIY on those projects. There are also plain commercial kits, as well as ready triaks-to-go.