Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Technology Will Save Us

I'm a bit of a skeptic about technological advances (both that they will happen and their promised utility) and of course I get that wrong sometimes. I am no sage. Predictions are hard, blah blah blah.

But in going down the wormhole of things like hyperloop/self-driving cars, I am just astonished at how there's basically a Friedman Unit to this stuff - gonna be a real breakthrough in 6 months! - and there are true believers who buy it every time.

Some of this is the weird cult of Musk which is as disturbing as QAnon in some ways, but it's also just a general credulousness about the pace of technological innovation. And car production and massive public works projects (I'm just using Musk as an example), even if the technology exists, aren't like a new app. You don't just roll them out in 3 months. Achieving scale and cost efficiencies for producing new real stuff takes time, even if a better restaurant delivery app does't.