Political

Uber: Canadians struggle to get to grips with pace of change too

News from Toronto:

Now that Rob Ford is no longer the mayor, there’s only one thing that’s guaranteed to fill city council’s galleries with angry people: The Uber War…

City staff just tabled a report that’s supposed to bring some sort of order to the competition between ride-hail services like Uber and conventional taxis…

For now, competition and technology are driving this debate faster than city staff can draft new regulations. This report doesn’t offer enough specifics to change that. So if it passes, count on more charges for Uber drivers, slightly cheaper cabs, and no peace in the council chamber.

That last paragraph in the quote is particularly relevant to London too, where too many policymakers talk about a world which technology has already moved on from, rather than shaping regulations for a world in which technology is moving forward very quickly.

As with driverless cars the problem is a double one of too many policymakers not being technology natives, and so off the pace to start with, but then also not appreciating the continuing implications of Moore’s Law – the trend by which computing technology roughly doubles in power every two years.

Even over just one four term of office, that is a massive leap forward in technology. Talking about how good sat nav is at dealing with traffic works now, for example, is woefully inadequate when you understand just how quickly it is changing – regulation needs to reflect the rapid improvements that will happen even before new regulations are agreed and enacted.

That is why the wise policy maker needs to be anticipating what the future is bringing rather than playing catchup on what has already happened.

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