From horseless carriages to autonomous cars.

What Does the Advent of Horseless Carriages Portend for Our Driverless Future?

What Does the Advent of Horseless Carriages Portend for Our Driverless Future?

What tech’s past tells us about tomorrow
Sept. 26 2018 6:00 AM

The Fault in Our Cars

What can the advent of horseless carriages a century ago tell us about our driverless future?

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The first pedestrian killed by a car in the Western Hemisphere was on New York’s Upper West Side in 1899. One newspaper warned that “the automobile has tasted blood.” Today, driverless cars present their own mix of technological promise and potential danger. Can the reaction to that 1899 pedestrian tragedy help us navigate current arguments about safety, blame, commerce, and public space?

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Podcast production by Bart Warshaw and Kate Holland.

Tom Standage is deputy editor of the Economist. He studied engineering and computer science at Oxford University and has written for other publications including the New York Times, the Guardian, and Wired.

Seth Stevenson is a senior writer at Slate, where he’s been a contributor since 1997. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.