Thursday, April 4, 2019

A glimpse into the Hyperloop bullshit feedback cycle

According to this ZDNet piece by Asha McLean, the Australian government is ready to go all in on the hyperloop.
"The Hyperloop has significant advantages over competing transport modes," the committee wrote in its report [PDF] into Innovating Transport across Australia: Inquiry into automated mass transit.

"The Hyperloop would have lower capital and operating costs, smaller land requirements, and less environmental impacts than other transport modes. It also offered a more positive passenger experience."

That is an awfully deceptive framing. In the actual report, those quotes are basically summing up the HTT pitch, prefaced by "as envisaged." Furthermore, hyperloops form a fairly minor part of the report.

This is one of the best examples to date of the bullshit cycle that sustains this travesty. Credulous reporting and even more credulous investors give the companies a veneer of respectability. Politicians wanting to sound serious and forward-thinking (and possibly cash in at a later date) play along. Journalists portray even the mildest of governmental interest as an indication that hyperloops are just around the corner.

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