‘How silly of these young twerps,’ harrumph the older generations. ‘Don’t they know the car enables freedom, travel, friends, dating, and (cough), even….teen-age sex?’
I have news: It’s we older folks who don’t get it. Armed with the capabilities of their ever-more sophisticated iThings, replete with social networking enabling close, immediate exchange of thoughts and experiences with countless ‘friends,’ who needs to actually get in a car and go to a drive-in?
That’s an excerpt from a recent piece in Forbes by former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz. In it, he goes on to predict that “In 100 years, [travel] may be almost entirely redundant, as we sit in our rooms, chatting, every participant except one’s self a highly realistic hologram.”
Maybe I’m one of those “older generations” he’s talking about (I’m 28), but I feel like it’s insane that someone would value a smartphone over a car. For me, the relationship between my phone and my car is that the former is a condenser of stuff that would otherwise clutter up the latter: It’s my map, CD changer, owner’s manual, flashlight, insurance card and occasionally my co-pilot when I can’t figure out where I want to go.
Even once I take my phone out of the car — and I use my phone a lot — it’s a thing I use to do the things I want; it’s not the thing that I want to do.
If push came to shove and I had to decide between the two… I mean, it’d be the car, duh, right? In fact, even the thought of that sounds freeing: driving along some winding road in the hills; no phone, no distractions, just the freedom to go wherever you want. (By the way, I drive a Toyota Camry, so it’s not as if my position here has anything to do with some romanticized idea of driving.)
I see Bob Lutz’s point and I actually completely believe in his vision of the future, but I’ve always viewed the internet and social networks, and the technologies that enable them, as idea machines. If no one gets up and turns those ideas into actions, they just sit there.
Really, though, I’m interested — which would you prefer?