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Good Enough - Driving Technology Growth, Not For Driving Technology

Remember when the HTC G1 launched back in 2008? It wasn't a patch on the iPhone 3G that was driving smartphone adoption at the time. Less than nine years later and Android is the most popular computing platform in the world.

Wind back not quite so many years to the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S. Here was a phone that looked too much like an iPhone and didn't work particular well. Now Samsung is the biggest vendor of smartphones worldwide. 

What happened was both companies learned to get to good enough. Good enough to steal sales from 'better' but more expensive competitors. Huawei have followed the same path in recent years, and other Chinese OEMs are breaking out of their home market by doing exactly the same thing, being good enough.

In the near future we'll probably see the iPad become good enough to replace a MacBook, we've already seen the Surface Pro become good enough to be your only computer and we'll one day soon find the right combination of smartphone and docking station to make the 'phone as a PC' dream feasible.

There's one area where being good enough isn't going to be good enough, self-driving cars. The consequences of taking a risk-consequence approach to automation in cars will go horribly wrong. I'm not talking about the 'aided' driving systems which are currently being pushed by Tesla and Volvo, amongst others. 

No, at the point when car manufacturers begin offering fully automated self driving cars which require no human interaction or intervention, that's when we need better than good enough. When we need faultless, and I don't see us reaching that point anytime soon. Despite claims from some car manufacturers that they'll be ready for end users within two to three years, I see the technical, moral and legal hurdles being serious obstacles to that happening.