Self-Owning Car at Your Service
The self-driving cars may be a huge step, but wait until you meet the social-minded, self-owned autonomous vehicles. The autonomous cars that own themselves are not only capable of self-maintenance but also programmed to benefit the people and society as a whole.
In the future filled with driverless cars, traffic will be controlled by software and the private car ownership has become all but forgotten, thanks to the efficient mobility services. If we add the symbiosis of two powerful technologies, AI and blockchain, into play, we could have autonomous cars in the most real sense of the term. These cars would be intelligent decision-makers able to handle their business deals, contracts and finances independently, and have full ownership of themselves.
To enter the market, the vehicles would need a loan or some other type of funding, for example, investment made for the public good. Another option could be a kind of lease contract with either a human or a corporation which would enable the car to gain its full ownership by paying back the invested money. For scaling up the system, the self-owning cars could even collaborate and share their surplus earnings to buy new cars which would, in turn, pay their “birth loans” back to their providers.
The cars would earn money to pay its production and operating costs by both selling rides and also by getting a commission from the wide selection of other additional services provided for the customers during the trip. Customers, in turn, would get a chance to select the best offers based on price or other individual preferences. In some cases, the customer might even get a free sponsored ride, and the car would get its fee by serving as an advertising platform.
What makes this concept attractive from the perspective of the common good is that machines have no intrinsic need or motivation to accumulate wealth; they follow the rules programmed into their software. Thanks to the decentralised and immutable character of blockchain-based systems, these coded rules would be transparent and publicly auditable.
So, if the world will be dominated by self-owned cars coded to keep only enough profit to maintain themselves, the rides could get much cheaper, and affordable mobility could become a fundamental human right. Another exciting alternative is to program them so that the surplus they earn would be distributed to a universal basic income chain.
These ideas might sound highly idealistic, but the visionaries and technology developers behind them, like former Google Software engineer and Bitcoin developer Mike Hern, claim that several fast-paced technologies could make self-owning machines real. Of course, even if we would possess the needed technologies, the path to self-owned cars would be rocky unless the players who dominate the car industry and operate big fleets were not on board.
If the centralisation of technology, power and wealth keeps strengthening, we might face a situation requiring significant systemic changes to maintain welfare in our societies. Could these types of technologies be used to make decentralisation part of the solution? Moreover, could we even reach unparalleled abundance with the help of autonomous machines?
No matter what’s your stance, the advent of several life-changing technologies is here. We should take responsibility for their development by thinking how to utilise them so that they pave the way for a better future. So please accept my challenge and be bold!
Foresight Analysis Manager @FuturesPlatform