As much as I believe that people should live close to where they work, the advent of self-driving cars may be a boon for commuter productivity. At the moment, internally driven people are limited to podcasts and audiobooks for commuter edification. Self-driving cars would free up time for tasks that are more resource-intensive, such as reading, studying, writing, Skyping with old friends or getting extra sleep — all things people claim they don’t have enough time for.
But most people have enough time already. It’s eaten up in 5- and 10-minute chunks by Facebook and finger swiping. And at the end of the day they wonder where the time went. So, 80 percent of us will use the self-driving car experience to do what we always do: nothing much at all. But the 20 percent of us who are self-driven strivers will reclaim time we can actually use. What should we do with it?