Self-#Driving #Cars are making news. The other day #Warren Buffett told CNBC that insurance companies might raise rates on human drivers if self-driving cars prove safer. The self-driving car is poised to rule the road as the auto industry moves rapidly into a production phase. Pros and cons are beginning to surface. Self-driving cars are urged as a means of helping the disabled find employment.

Self-driving problems

But some believe these self-driving vehicles will create vast new problems of responsibility when accidents occur. How does a self-driving car behave if it has to choose between killing one or another? And where does fault lie? There are further questions.

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What if cars of all sorts are becoming obsolete? What if the world is changing in ways we have ignored? What if the future is better suggested by the car-free premises that characterize cybercommunities?

Will cars be history?

President Trump has a great car collection starting with a Rolls Royce and including an Indianapolis pace car. But just as America cannot go back to become great again, moving forward could well mean moving beyond the car. The great historian Arnold Toynbee said there are times of huge "wanderings" of people. Today such a huge wandering heads into the cities.

We may be on the threshold of a time when we can speak of ecumenopolis, the global city, where the world is more united than it seems to be at the moment. If so, cars will be less and less necessary. Even as we speak, automobile sales are reported to be in decline, too costly for many and requiring longer and longer to pay off.

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The bigger picture

The notion of unbroken oil-car prosperity is beset with problems. Oil will run out at some point. Global warming and climate change are not going away. The prospects for a world where work is scarce must be considered. We are in the midst of a huge revolution that involves two inexorable forces — the advent of clean energy in abundance, and the probability that technological advances in all areas are incremental.

Cybercommunities bring everything together

As we enter this highly uncertain future, cybercommunities help us imagine the world as a collection of integral communities that bring together work, art, recreation, residence, education, sports and every other area of existence. Such communities are mainly car-free. They are designed to be secure and safe from weather emergencies. They are linked by evolved transportation like hyperloop.

Cybercommunities might be created tomorrow. But the chances are they will emerge by default and haphazardly. Car-free areas will be found here and there.

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Smart ideas will take shape on the ground. Walkability will increase.

Most of all, there may be a resurgence of local democracy as we realize that how we live can become a choice rather than a necessity. There was never a vote, as far as I know, on whether our future would be more and more highways filled with more and more self-driving cars.