Self-Driving Cars Are Almost Here

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As preparation for my mastermind meeting a few months ago, I was asked to watch a documentary by famous scientist and inventor Raymond Kurzweil about the future of technology, and a concept called Singularity.

The idea behind Singularity is that there may be a point in the future where computers and humans can intersect, and where it will become difficult to determine whether something is human or computer.

The documentary showed a man that had a small computer sensor implanted into his arm, and how that allowed a remote computer to mirror his arm movement from thousands of miles away.  As the man raised his arm in one location, an artificial arm around the world moved at the exact same speed and location.  It was pretty amazing.

Computer Chips Implanted Into Your Blood Stream?

But wait, there’s more.  Computer chips keep getting faster and faster every year, and are already small enough to be implanted into human bloodstreams.

In the next 10 years or so, those computer chips may be as small as a human blood cell.

The documentary also discussed the how computers that are implanted into your blood stream could help you improve your health, expand your knowledge, and offer many other advanced capabilities.

Self-Driving Cars?

Then, the day after I watched that documentary to prepare for my meetings, I read an article on the flight over about how Google and several automakers are testing out self-driven cars right now.

Self-driving cars are those where the computer and GPS system on the car figures out where you are at, and where other cars or objects are in relation to you, and does all of the steering and controlling to take you on the route you have chosen.

The article stated that General Motors predicts that self-driving cars will be a standard option that comes on all new cars within the next 10 years.  Can you imagine letting your car drive you to where you want to go – and having that on your car in the next 10 years?

That’s pretty scary and exciting at the same time.

A lot of progress has been made this year on self-driving cars.

Here’s where things currently stand:

  • In August 2012, Google engineers announced that their fleet of self-driving cars have logged a combined total of 300,000 miles.
  • California’s legislature just approved a bill that would allow self-driven cars on California highways.  If this bill is approved by California’s Governor, it will become California law.  The California Department of Motor Vehicles will then be asked to create the standards for self-driving cars, since such standards don’t already exist.
  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) predicts that self-driving cars will make up 75% of all cars on the road in less than thirty years.

Let’s face it.  There are so many social and legal issues that will arise as these types of innovations continue hitting the mainstream.

Here are some examples of the issues that will have to be resolved:

  • Will automakers be liable for any accidents that are caused by the car running into someone?  And what impact will this liability have on the insurance claim process?
  • Will we be willing to give up our freedom to drive ourselves where we want to go?
  • Will adults who otherwise couldn’t get a driver’s license (such as blind and elderly) be allowed to own and operate a self-driving car?

Those questions will be answered in the not so distant future, especially given all this progress in the past 6 months…

But here are a few examples of the positive innovations that are coming out of these trends:

  • Robotic surgery is taking place more and more, where a robot performs the surgery on a human with incredible precision.
  • Mobile devices are in the works that will be able to take a blood sample or other specimen from you, send the data to an artificial intelligence computer in the cloud (online), and then report back with a diagnosis on what your health problem is, or what steps you should take.
  • Once all the legal and technical issues are worked out with self-driving cars, there are incredible possibilities to allow elderly people, blind people, and others to be able to transport themselves.  Self-driving cars will also allow commuters to get other things done while on the road (much like you can do when riding on a bus or other public transportation).

So What Does All This Mean?

There are certainly some scary things that can happen as technology continues to advance.  But here’s the great news.  These innovations also mean that there are incredible opportunities for each and every small business to capitalize on.

With each innovation in technology, small business owners are able to compete more and more with the large corporations, because the technology allows just one person to perform the work of what used to take hundreds of people.

So be excited about what the future holds, and make sure that you are always looking for ways that you can build the next exciting innovation for us all to enjoy.

In fact, you should start by taking advantage of the biggest technology trend since the launch of the web.

This could leave you in the dust if you ignore this important consumer spending trend.

Here’s a short video that shows you how to take advantage of the window of opportunity. This won’t last long (the video explains why)…

Check it out right now.

*Originally published as Issue # 125 – September 21, 2012

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