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Paul Ford, Citi Bike, bike-sharing, and the end of the world

Paul Ford, faculty, in Slate:

There’s something post-apocalyptic about Citi Bike, the bike-sharing program that debuted a few months ago in parts of New York City. Or perhaps better terms would be "pre-post-apocalyptic" and "pre-dystopian." Because these bikes basically are designed for the end of the world. And then: You have to wonder if “sharing” could survive. Probably not. I mean, at some level working headlights are more liability than asset, especially if you’re worried about being eaten. But the charging stations? As reliable sources of a steady flow of electricity, it’s pretty easy to imagine local chieftains taking those over, and lines of desperate people lining up to charge their cracked mobile devices so that they can look one last time at pictures of the people they lost, trading whatever of value they still possess for one last hour with their smartphones. It will be like the blackout, but forever.

We stress: do not miss reading it in its entirety over at Slate, as part of Future Tense, exploring the “ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture.” To read more, visit the Future Tense blog and the Future Tense home page.

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