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It’s been more than three years since Google Fiber frenzy took hold of the Atlanta area. Google promised to change everything for folks fed up with unreliable internet connections, abysmal customer service, and expensive monthly bills. But a different reality took hold: Google ran wires, but didn't start service; Google tried to work with local governments, but couldn't work out deals; and ultimately Google couldn't find value in rolling out its service. One thing is indisputable: most Google Fiber hopefuls are now fed up.
The civic transformation ushered in by driverless cars could revolutionize the way Atlanta’s buildings and roads are designed, as well as upend how people move around a car-centric metro region. Eventually it might even do away with car ownership altogether.
Some may say my friend Frank is a dinosaur because he owns a bookstore in Inman Park. Yes, a bookstore. You’re probably thinking he may as well sell buggy whips, beepers, or inkwells, and that it’s a marvel his store didn’t die on the side of the information superhighway. But December 1 marks twenty-five years since he opened his store, called A Cappella, and I take Frank’s survival as testimony that the world is not such a suckwad of wasted potential after all.
On a chilly morning in early January, I joined a hundred students in a lecture hall on the Georgia Tech campus for a class called Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing. The professor, Thad Starner, looked up at his audience of aspiring programmers, industrial designers, roboticists, and user-interface specialists.
Atlanta’s fondness for bulldozing and rebuilding has left us with nondescript architecture and a generally bland cityscape. But Hollywood eyes our blahness and sees dreams and dollar signs, with our state’s tax credits making an ATL location a no-brainer substitute for cinematic scenery from the Bay Area to Brazil.
A couple years back—eons ago in social media time—when Facebook was purely the domain of college and high-school students, there was a little feature called the “honesty box” you could toggle on to solicit feedback about what others really thought about you.