Thursday, June 18th 2015. | Auto & Motor, Car

This is Part II of a two-part article on the long-run timeline and impact of that “disruptive innovation” known as “self-driving cars.” If you haven’t read the first part yet, now would probably be a pretty good time. Otherwise, a lot of this isn’t going to make much sense.

Robot cars have been a long dream coming. In the last article, I went over the timeline from 80 years back, when they were first envisioned, to about 55 years from now. That’s a good bit further than most experts have gone as far as establishing timelines; and this article will go a lot further than any have gone in every other way. All the way to our own dream — our own Futurama.

In the last article, comparing self-driving cars to an asteroid crashing into the Earth probably came off as a wee bit hyperbolic. Fair enough — I’ll stipulate that. It’s not as though faster cars and new highways in and of themselves represent a turning point in human history. Nothing especially disruptive about that. But that’s barely the tip of the iceberg; there’s a whole world of consequences, good and bad, sure to follow within our lifetimes. Hard to believe now, but these robots could end up undoing everything about our future as we thought we knew it.

Mostly, by undoing our cultural past — all the way back to the Industrial Revolution.

How’s that for “disruptive?”

Read on to find out what the robots have in store for us, and where our economic future ends with them in charge.

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