Ford Trucks vs. the Large Hadron Collider

June 1st, 2017

Automation is not just affecting how things are made. Increasingly, automation characterizes the things we buy and use daily.

Robotic vehicles, for example, will appear sooner than many people think. Ford has publicly announced that it will have fully autonomous vehicles for ride-sharing in high-volume production within four years, while General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced in June that her goal was to be the first automaker to put self-diving vehicles on the road.

The pace of progress in the technology which is enabling self-driving cars is staggering. The Economist recently published an article which showed lines of text or source code in a variety of platforms:

War and Peace:  60,000
Space Shuttle:  400,000
Mars Rover:  2,000,000
F-35 fighter jet: 30,000,000
Large Hadron Collider:  60,000,000
2016 Ford F-150 pickup truck:  200,000,000

Clearly the technical barriers to self-driving cars are disappearing quickly.

As a retirement planner, I have been cautioning clients that when they get to age 85, they shouldn’t plan on getting around by car any more…advice which may soon be out of date.