Sunday, January 3, 2016

Do we really want self-driving cars?

Yes, I am a dinosaur! And that is especially true about preferences related to cars and driving.  In yesterday's Dayton Daily News I read an article by Justin Pritchard entitled "California drafts cautious set of rules for self-driving cars." (DDN, Wheels, p.2).  I was particularly struck by this paragraph:

"Google believes the safest path is to take people out of the equation by having control limited to stop and go buttons, with the leader of Google's project saying that  humans are "the bug" in the driving task."

The groups pushing for self-driving cars use the moniker of safety as the reason to undertake this technological revolution. This assertion is yet to be proven.  BUT more significantly, the very foundations of automobility center of freedom, autonomy, and deep psychological gratification associated with getting in the car and determining one's location in space and time.  Personally I love driving and the ART of driving.  Sure in urban settings driving is a chore, and from experiencing LA traffic I can see why self-driving vehicles have an allure.  But even in driving in cities, there are moments of joy in hitting a curve a certain way, in moving from lane to lane -- essentially in determining my own way in life.

So this envisioned new way of experiencing personal transport is not from me.  Not that it matters what I think, but the transition to self-driving cars brings with potentially profound alterations in psychological and sociological behaviors that certainly will lather the meaning of what it means to be human.



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