Why Driverless Cars?

I get as excited about technology as the next person. I can readily remember when my office got it’s first copier. I can remember our first fax (facsimile) machine. My first microwave oven. The first computers. The first cell phones. I can remember our first black and white TV, to our first color TV to our first HD flat screen, smart TV. I remember the little 45 records, the LP’s, the 8-track tape, the audio cassette tapes, to the Compact Disc. This was all Buck Rogers type stuff happening before our very eyes. And all has happened in the last 30 years or so, as technology continues to march on making our lives easier to endure. Or does it? The question being, if I survived a normal life before without these luxuries, could I do it again. These are all convenience items. But yes, I could probably go blissfully through life with out any of them.

But an automobile is an essential item in our modern world here in the United States. We have to cover such vast distances, and in a short period of time, and with a carrying capacity of some sort; that we have become totally dependent upon reliable transportation. If you live in a major city with mass transportation available, then you can most likely do without a personal car. But most of us live in smaller, sometimes rural areas, where reliable transportation is essential. The auto industry knows that, and is constantly trying to figure out the next best innovation to make us want to buy THEIR product. And the next big quantum leap will be the driverless car.

See, getting one’s driver’s license is a major stepping stone in the life of a fledgling adult. Then one getting one’s first personal automobile is the first step towards being truly independent from one’s parents as we jump out of  the nest and plummet into the world. We can remember the first time of feeling the power and freedom, as we took control of the wheel, turned the ignition, felt the power of the engine  and pushed the accelerator hurtling down the road free as a bird. WE were in control of a 2000 pound piece of machinery passing other people in control of THEIR 2000 pound piece of machinery, as the world whizzed by in greased grooves. And as we grow older and reach mid-life, part of the crisis we all seek is to return to the powerful or sexy cars we could never have raising families, and doing the right and proper thing.

But now they want to take that away from us. And this new vehicle will be driven by…Nobody.

I am reminded of a story I remember reading about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.  There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought

Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.

I sincerely hope that the technology is advanced enough in these driverless cars to allow Anybody to take over the wheel from Nobody to avoid running over Somebody, because Somebody is definitely going to sue Everybody over it.

I will not be getting one.

Touché.

 

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