Too often, we understand the effects of technological change only in hindsight. When technologies are new, it is not clear where they are taking us or who’s driving. Innovators tend to accentuate the benefits rather than risks or other injustices. Technologies like self-driving cars are not as inevitable as the hype would suggest. If we want to realise the opportunities, spread the benefits to people who normally lose out and manage the risks, Silicon Valley’s disruptive innovation is a bad model. Steering innovation in the public interest means finding new ways for public and private sector organisations to collaborate.