Driving Conformity

Enter the wind tunnel (User Zero, Chapter 13)

Adrian Hanft

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**Author’s Note: The following story is Chapter 13 in my book, User Zero. The images I created for this story have gone viral, generating millions of impressions without any attribution to me. I’m not complaining, that’s how things go online. But will you do me a favor? If you see my images being used without permission can you point people to this page so that they have context to where it originated? Thank you. Sincerely, Ade Hanft.**

This story is taken from User Zero, by Adrian Hanft

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” –Buckminster Fuller

Illustration by Adrian Hanft

What if I told you that after a hundred years of rigorous competition, car manufacturers have finally created the perfect automobile? Would you believe that the evolution of car design has culminated in a vehicle so perfect that every manufacturer has agreed to produce the same model? That would be absurd, wouldn’t it? And yet, in 2022 that is the conclusion you might draw if you compare vehicles side by side. There has never been less differentiation between cars than there is right now. Below is an image containing 33 cars from 33 manufacturers. See if you can tell who makes what. How did this happen?

Can you guess which manufacturer made which car?

Part of the de-evolution of automobile design is a side-effect of the car buying process. Even before the shenanigans of car salesman, the experience of car buying is a fine-tuned funnel optimized to close the deal.
If you decide you want to buy a car, the first step is to identify the brand you want. “I like Honda.” Next you decide on the sub-brand. “Should I get the Accord or the Civic?” The last step is to pick a color. “I’ll take the Accord in red.” Notice how you never have more than a few choices at any point in the decision process? This isn’t…

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Adrian Hanft

Author of User Zero: Inside the Tool that is Reshaping Dystopia