a story was circulating about how the infrastructure bill, which was recently passed by the House of Representatives, included funding for research on beacons to be worn by cyclists and pedestrians to make them legible to autonomous vehicles. A story in Forbes noted that the bill “formalizes the acceptance of so-called ‘vehicle to everything’ (V2X) technology that, on the face of it, promises enhanced safety on the roads for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Each time I’ve read something about how we will all have to wear sensors to survive the envisioned future transportation environment, a particular paragraph from Illich’s Deschooling Society has come to mind: “Contemporary man,” Illich wrote, “attempts to create the world in his image, to build a totally man-made environment, and then discovers that he can do so only on the condition of constantly remaking himself to fit it.”
Built for efficiency, capitalism, productivity, industry.
Not safety, health, joy, connection.
Built to extract and siphon wealth upwards.
Not to sustain a community.
And it is too easy to take refuge in the thought that a few tweaks here and a little regulation there will make all things well, or at least significantly better. Meanwhile, nothing quite changes.
For our lives, for our planet, we need drastic change. Yet we’re too exhausted by traitors trying to steal our rights and overthrow our democracy, CLAIMING THAT THEY ARE THE FUCKING PATRIOTS, and asshole obstructionists working to stop others from getting anything done, to tackle the scale of systemic changes needed to prevent broad scale ecological collapse from climate change, and to reimagine our cities into spaces that would improve our lives. The status quo will win until it can’t anymore.