MOD.Cast: Meet Kai

Posted 24 Feb

MOD. at UniSA

In this episode of MOD.Cast we’re hopping on board the hypertrain with Kai. Kai is heartbroken again. The siblings sign them up for In Hyperlove With You, the hypertrain’s dating show, to see if they can meet meet someone special. Anna Day takes us on a journey to better understand the future of Australian transport and what broader human movement could look like.

Ashkay Vij, Senior Research Fellow at UniSA, says that while we don’t know yet whether or not the grid will be electric, at the very least all public transport will be.

When it comes to self-driving cars, it’s a bit of a waiting game. They were supposed to be on the market already, but probably will become widely available in the next 10 years.

“With autonomous vehicles it’s beautiful because they can pick you up from your doorstep, they can come together and form a platoon, that can go faster than the fastest train down major arterials, and when they get close to your destination they can split up, so you can go to your destination and someone else can go to theirs. It’s door to door seamless travel but potentially at the same price and potentially faster than public transport.”

Andrea Ash at Cohda Wireless explains that the public will have time to wrap their head around autonomous vehicles. These vehicles are already in action in some mining sites and are likely to be adopted by freight and trucking industries before they hit regular consumers.

By the time Kai is on the road, these autonomous vehicles will be the norm and private car ownership will decrease as the alternative offers lower costs and greater convenience for all road users.

But what about the bigger picture of transport, how will global human movement change? With the future of climate still very much unknown, we can predict some countries that will suffer the most. The UN predicts that 250 million people will be displaced by 2050 due to climate events. It’s likely that the Pacific Islands, Indonesia, and Bangladesh will all be severely impacted, leading to Kai’s dad becoming one of the first climate refugees.

But is it likely that the UN will actually declare climate refugees as a new category? Mandy Paul, Director of the Migration Museum, says that there is a shift from seeing people as hapless victims to instead seeing the changes coming and making a move to protect themselves.

“In everyday language we talk about climate change refugees but of course people who have been displaced by climate change won’t come under the technical definition of refugee… There have already been quite a few cases of people in Australia and New Zealand from low lying islands in the Pacific arguing that they’re refugees, but these cases have all been dismissed because of the technical definition.”

While the current definition stands as this, of course we can’t guess what will happen next. Already in early 2020 the UN has declared that these climate migrants can’t be returned home. Who is to know what will happen as these extreme weather events grow more extreme.

MOD.Cast Season 2 was developed by and stars University of South Australia journalism students Anna Day, Meika Bottrill and Madina Jaffari. It was produced by Radio Adelaide’s Podcast Works program, with special thanks to Sarah Martin and Nikki Marcel, along with Research Marketing Coordinator, Elke Kleinig.

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