I haven’t been to a Manchester Futurists for a long while, But I saw the topic of The Future of Transportation with Nick King and Gary Barker and decided it would be a good one to attend with my petrol head partner. Now to be fair Nick and Gary did say it was going to be all about the car and it makes sense with them both coming from Autotrader. So will forgiven them for talking about cars and ownership not transport.
During the Nick and Garry talked about many things but one of their main points was about how selfish we are as a nation/culture. This is why ownership of cars is still going to be a large part of the future and things like car sharing, pooling, etc will still be a rarity.
I can’t remember the exact questions but generally they asked;
Who has used Airbnb? Quite a few yes were heard
Who has booked an Airbnb in the last year? Fewer people say yes
Who has booked a place with a stranger? People smile and giggle but theres about one or two yes’s.
Conclusion people value their privacy and the sharing economy will be mainly lost on Brits because of this. Now thats quite a step but lets go with it… They used Airbnb but also suggested similar for Uber, Zipcar and all the carpooling systems.
Now I was slightly seething at this. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of problems including diversity with the sharing economy if you like to call it that (how ironic).
I don’t disagree with what was said or pointed out but its worrying. As populations move into cities, the very idea of sharing resources is critical.
Over the last year I’ve watched when people talk about their ideal homes, default to a physically detached house. Then watched the confusion when I talk about a duplex flat. Why would you want that? Surely you want your own garden, your own space, your own…. Well actually no. I like shared gardens, I like real public spaces. I like public transport and as a host of Airbnb a shared spare room.
I do like doing Airbnb in a similar fashion. Some of the best Airbnb’s I’ve been in are when there is one host and myself. For example when I went to Madrid and Copenhagen. I spent a bit of time in the company of the host but never too much time. We both understood, when to back off and give some room.
i know its just me but the difference is the planet is becoming over populated and resources are getting tighter and more costly. The ability to sharing is not just important but is becoming critical. In the future of transport there was a suggestion that autonomous cars will have their own lane. I shook my head thinking when is there going to be room to fit another lane in. Most of the lanes are being converted to bus and bike lanes.
Through out I felt like I needed to remind people being human is a team sport. If sharing isn’t part of your thing, its time to fight it out with the millionaires in New Zealand.
I noticed the latest NPR/TED radio hour is all about Finite resource, something I was thinking while listening to the original talk and writing this blog post.
In a world with limited resources, can we find ways to salvage what’s disappearing? Can we innovate our way out of a finite landscape? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about living with less.
Rather than living with less, can we also share more and make our limited resources go further?