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Transportation Through 2040, Technological Singularity, and Rap Tourism: Houston Matters for Friday, December 12, 2014

The Houston-Galveston Area Council is creating a plan that lays out the area’s transportation needs over the next 25 years. The 2040 RTP (Regional Transportation Plan) lays out the latest update to a continuous planning process that includes the eight central counties of the Houston-Galveston region. On this edition of Houston Matters, we talk with Alan […]

The Houston-Galveston Area Council is creating a plan that lays out the area’s transportation needs over the next 25 years. The 2040 RTP (Regional Transportation Plan) lays out the latest update to a continuous planning process that includes the eight central counties of the Houston-Galveston region.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we talk with Alan Clark, Director of Transportation Planning at the council, and Houston Public Media transportation reporter Gail Delaughter about priorities for the region, and what residents are saying they want by 2040. (For the record, the Houston Matters team wants flying cars).

Also this hour: We delve (hopefully) even further into our future, to a potential day when artificial intelligence we’ve created exceeds our understanding and control. It’s a concept known as the technological singularity hypothesis, and while it sounds like the stuff of science fiction (think Isaac Asimov’s “I Robot,” or films like “The Matrix,” “The Terminator,” and “2001: A Space Odyssey“), it raises ethical questions for engineers in genetics, nanotechnology and advanced robotics, among other disciplines. We talk it over with Rice Professor Timothy Morton, the author of several books, including Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World.

Then it’s back to the present day, where a lot can happen: some good, some bad, some ugly. When faced with intriguing developments in the news, we turn to our rotating panel of “non-experts” to parse The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of it all. On today’s panel: Attorney and Defending People blogger Mark Bennett, La Voz de Houston editor Aurora Losada, and Houston-based attorney Henri de Ybarrondo. They contemplate the Texas Attorney General taking on an alleged diploma mill, an honor for the Houston Astros‘ mascot Orbit, and a special delivery for a Waller County resident.

Plus: the Houston Press recently featured some “rap tourism destinations” in Houston. We send Houston Matters producer Conner Clifton to a few of them.

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