The proliferation of alternative modes of travel and the sharing of public space

From Los Angeles to Paris, or Berlin, via London or New York everywhere the massive and combined arrival of new modes of travel disrupts the fragile balances that had finally settled. In competition with cars, motorbikes and public transport, there is now walking to which more and more people are engaged, bicycles, scooters, skates, roller skates to which are added micro electric vehicles: hoverboards, Segway, WalkCar, roller skates, monocycles … This is enough to fuel the rise of tensions that can be observed in large cities where we have not learned to live and regulate the profusion of means of locomotion.

All this is not without the desire of some to put a little order. Not to mention municipalities completely overwhelmed by the phenomenon they do not imagine blocking, street scenes multiply where cyclists argue with pedestrians who themselves lambast those who are on scooters… In short, there is tension in the air.

If you look at it more closely, what do you see? This passerby who reminds this Skater that the sidewalks are for pedestrians, this Skater who answers that the road is for motor vehicles, which is not his case. This motorist who invites this person on an electric scooter to join the bike path while the cyclist reminds that it is made for bicycles. What lies behind these tensions, which are very weak, are the rules of sharing public space and the rules of living together. It is still too early to draw any conclusions, but what a watchman observed on a street in Paris where all these means of transport are very used is that little by little the public space has been divided and the behaviors civilized. Pedestrians are on sidewalks opposite the road, non-motorized vehicles are more on the sidewalk but in the lane of traffic, small motorized electric vehicles rather on the road close to the sidewalk and cars and motorcycles are getting a way. Violators of its use are quickly called to order.

Is Google regulating itself by redefining the principles of its artificial intelligence developments?

Some people think so. According to various sources, between 3,000 and 4,000 Google employees signed an open letter to Sundar Pichai, the company’s CEO: “We believe that Google should not be involved in the business of war.” The petition followed nine engineers’ refusal to work on military projects and internal resignations.

Google sought to clarify its positions on ethics applied to the uses of artificial intelligence. Engaged in a work of reflection on the subject that was struggling to reach out with other companies and NGOs, Google preferred to take the lead. It must be said that the news of the development of artificial intelligence applications was becoming hot. Things accelerated when Google decided to pull out of the Pentagon’s Maven project, which involves using artificial intelligence to analyze images filmed by its drones. We can clearly see behind pointing the specter of killer robots.

The debates have not only focused on the rules of ethics but also on the ways of doing things: how to put it into practice? How do I talk about it internally? Is internal governance sufficient? Shouldn’t we call on third parties? How can different points of view be taken into account?

The challenge now is to open up the debate outside on the basis of an internal ethical proposal that could evolve depending on the consultation of external partners. Will the metamorphosis affect the position of the GAFA? When it comes to global economic and social balance and fiscal accountability?