As I told members of the City Club of Cleveland Friday, It can be tempting to see technology as the answer to every problem. But there are always risks and tradeoffs to be understood and addressed.
Technology provides us with great vehicle safety benefits, such as anti-lock brakes, side-curtain air bags and electronic stability control. And on the way are lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems.
But what about technology that distracts vehicle operators — as we have seen in accident investigations? We know distractions are only going to grow as drivers check Facebook, book a dinner reservation and buy movie tickets, all while behind the wheel.
While technology presents problems, it can also provide the solutions. Consider the autonomous car. Last year, I rode in Google’s self-driving car as it negotiated a busy freeway — it avoided other vehicles, slowed and sped up with the flow of traffic, and when necessary, turned over control to the human driver. It was pretty remarkable to think what that car could mean for aging drivers, busy parents and the disabled.
Yes, we must invest in technology — but we must ensure that technology solves problems, and doesn’t create new ones.