Future of self-driving technology the topic of latest conversation series

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PITTSFIELD — A world where every car drives the speed limit and a blinker is used for every turn may be hard to believe, but Lawrence Burns is trying to mold a safer future of transportation with the help of self-driving cars.

Burns, a longtime adviser to the Google Self-Driving Car team and former GM research and development chief, will lead an online discussion at 7 p.m. Wednesday that focuses on the journey to change the world of transportation.

This event is part of The Berkshire Eagle Conversation Series in partnership with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College and sponsored by Berkshire Bank and Berkshire Gas.

Burns, author of "Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car and How It Will Reshape Our World," and Patrick Larkin, founder and director of Massachusetts' Innovation Institute, plan to take a deep look into the ever-changing world of technology and how it could create a society of fewer accidents and even limit the use of fossil fuels.

While Burns will highlight the positives that may come with driverless cars, Larkin will focus is on how industry, academia and government can collectively create pathways for both economic success and opportunity.

The conversation underlines the potential outcomes of a technological revolution behind the wheel of a car. Instead of owning an automobile, most may travel in drieverless electric vehicles that are called via an app. Driverless cars could not only free up time for commuters, but provide freedom of mobility to the disabled and potentially decrease the dependence on fossil fuels.

While Wednesday's Conversation Series is free to attend via Zoom, those interested must RSVP at berkshireolli.org/event-3953248.

This event is also connected to "Transformative Technologies and Their Effect on Work and Society," a webinar series in concert with 1Berkshire and the Berkshire Innovation Center, which begins on Thursday, Sept. 24. More information on the webinar series can be found at Berkshireolli.org.

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