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Flying cars are closer than you think, by Marc Andreessen


Stashed in: Marc Andreessen, Awesome, Larry Page, Self-driving Cars, My Cold Dead Fingers

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I wonder if the flying cars will be self driving.

On health care and education:

In the industries where there’s rapid productivity growth, everybody is freaked out, because what are people going to do after everything gets automated? In the other part of the economy, that second part, health care and education, people are freaked out about, "Oh my God, it’s going to eat the entire budget! It’s going to eat my personal budget. Health care and education is going to be every dollar I make as income, and it’s going to eat the national budget and drive the United States bankrupt!" And everybody in the economy is going to become either a nurse or teacher. It’s really funny, both sides of the economy get polar opposite emotional reactions.

I go through all of that to say that the tech industry has been able to build startups and new technologies against that first category but not that second category. Tech is super present in retail in the form of e-commerce, we’re super present in media in the form of internet, we’re super present in consumer electronics in the smartphone. We are very much not present, in what we would consider to be a healthy way, in education, health care, construction, childcare, senior care. The great twist on that is that second category — that’s most of the GDP. Most of the spending is most of the GDP, and these are the areas where we have not yet been able to crack the code.

On flying cars:

What’s interesting is there are probably more new computer companies in the valley today than there were probably since 1982 — it’s just that the products are all these different shapes, sizes, and descriptions. It’s not a laptop, it’s a flying machine that does stuff.

We know of three top-end flying car startups in the valley, two of which Larry Page is funding himself. We haven’t funded one yet, but we’re starting to get the pitches. I don’t know if they’ll get them to work.

There’s a couple of big challenges in flying cars. [For safety reasons] I don’t want human beings driving flying cars. In fact, autonomous air is easier than autonomous ground — because you have more degrees of freedom to get out of trouble.

The big constraint on all of this stuff is batteries. Assuming no battery breakthrough, what [flying car] companies are trying to solve, fundamentally, is the power problem — which is, "How do we get the thing airborne and 50 miles without literally running out of charge?"