Bob Lutz is one of the most respected and revered members of the automotive community and as a retired member of the leadership from General Motors he’s a voice that many still listen to when he has something to say. Most recently, Lutz suggested the future of the automotive industry is a finite one that will only last approximately twenty years. This suggestion may scare most of us, but the ideas that he brings forth offer us more thoughts and questions than answers along with a reality that his vision only works in a perfect world.
What’s the connection with George Orwell? Orwell wrote the book 1984 and he did so in 1948. His predictions in the book showed a world of autonomous technology, computerization, and a dependence upon the system called “Big Brother” that would always be watching over us. His predictions were that we would reach this level of dependence upon the government and technology by the year 1984, but as that year has come and gone over thirty years ago, it’s obvious his predictions were pretty far off, but for the most part are beginning to come true today with the exception of the dependence upon technology to run our lives.
The Bob Lutz Prediction
Lutz has predicted that twenty years in the future we’ll see a world where we hail pods that need to be ridden in so that we can get to and from work or be able to run our errands. These models will move quickly on the roads so that we can get where we need to go, but we won’t be driving them, they will drive themselves. In addition to the pods that will take us where we need to go, we’ll no longer own these vehicles that we want for the ride to our destination, they will be collectively owned and we will simply hail them for the drive.
Why will we move toward a completely autonomous society? Assuming that most of us won’t mind giving up our free will to drive on our own, we will eventually discover that most of the accidents, if not all of the accidents that occur, are caused by human drivers. This will happen, according to Lutz’s predictions, when we reach about thirty percent saturation in the market of autonomous vehicles on the roads we used to drive.
While the predictions of Bob Lutz are possible, there are a ton of assumptions that have been made in order to make them come to fruition. We are unlikely to allow the government or other agencies to have the amount of control over our lives that would be required in order for this prediction to come true. Will we ever live in a fully automated society? It’s possible, but like Orwell, Lutz may be off by several decades because he didn’t take into account the power of free will and the rights that we take seriously; just look at the continued arguments for and against gun control.