32. Kara Swisher Says Car Ownership is Finished

By December 10, 2019 Uncategorized

Last March, renowned tech journalist and prognosticator Kara Swisher wrote a New York Times opinion piece with the headline, “Owning a car will soon be as quaint as owning a horse.” In it, she declared she would sell her own car and vowed she would never again own an automobile. “The concept of actually purchasing, maintaining, insuring and garaging an automobile in the next few decades? Finished,” she wrote. That column set off thousands of outraged commenters — and activated the radar at The War on Cars. We sat down with Kara at the Vox studios in downtown Manhattan to talk about what it’s like living without wheels of her own, why she loves scooters, and whether we’ll ever get the
Star Trek Holodeck we’ve been promised.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.

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Kara says owning a car will soon be as quaint as owning a horse (New York Times)

Times readers tell Kara she has no idea what she’s talking about (New York Times)

Kara’s update on life without her own car (New York Times)

Kara tours Paris by scooter (New York Times)

Follow Kara on Twitter.

Listen to Kara’s Recode Decode and Pivot podcasts.

Is the Star Trek Holodeck closer than you think?

Find us onTwitter @TheWarOnCars, Aaron Naparstek @Naparstek, Sarah Goodyear @buttermilk1 and Doug Gordon @BrooklynSpoke. 

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  • I’m confused. Kara said she loves scooters? Does she mean Revel? What scooters like electric scooters? We don’t have rentals here in NYC. Also, what’s the deal with Revel? Are they allowed in the bike lanes? How about an upcoming show on this…electric regulations in NYC.

  • Bill M says:

    I enjoyed the podcast, but Swisher comes off as caricature of a dismissive costal elite. “Thought of that already! No big deal! Stoooopid! Whatever rev 2.0 will fix it!”

    Having worked in the trenches of the software world for 25 years, I’m vastly more skeptical of self-driving technology. It’s certainly technically feasible, but implementing is magnitudes harder than imagining. The early 90s promised conversational digital assistants in the same way that Silicon Valley is now promising self driving cars. 30 years on and we now have Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. Have they delivered on all you imagined, or are they just gimmicky and annoying toys? Expect decades of the same from self-driving cars.

  • DeVon Griffin says:

    I decided to try this podcast and listened to this episode while I was working in the yard–and heard you essentially give up on suburbs. I was instantly alert when you mentioned Cleveland suburbs–because that is exactly where I live. And there is NO reason to give up on suburbs. I commute to work on my bike–the other day the temp was 9 F in the backyard when I left home on my 24 mile commute. Cleveland metroparks are actually a pretty good way to get around and minimize traffic. And for those who worry about being sweaty when they get in–I don’t–there are these things called e-bikes. For bad weather there are these amazing things called studded tires. While I realize you are essentially an urban show, shame on you for not having a broader focus and giving up on the suburbs. And when I work in the yard, I’m generally doing stuff like pruning the orchard, working in the garden, or tending our protein source–about 30 chickens. Cities can’t do any of that. I’ll bet my carbon footprint is lower than Kara Swisher’s.