Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Beep ... Beep ...

Beep ... Beep ...

I suspect that many of you have heard about how Google is developing a driverless car.

Although I admit this is a great innovation, I wonder if the Google car doesn't have some serious limitations:

  • The Google car apparently runs on a pre-programmed route map. As long as everything along that route is the same as what the programmer saw, then things are cool. However, let's say there's a temporary situation along the road, such as a traffic accident, and a police officer is redirecting traffic away from that accident. The Google car doesn't identify the difference, and it would likely just plow through the cop and the wrecked vehicles as well.
  • The Google car can't distinguish debris on the road. Debris is just debris, and a candy wrapper has the same physicality as a dumpster. So, the car swerves and veers, twists and turns, away from all debris, sometimes making for a most uncomfortable ride.
  • In the same way, the Google car can't identify potholes or, in the extreme, sinkholes, so you may find yourself sliding down the rabbit hole before it's your time.
  • Senior citizens may be uncomfortable with a car that goes more than 20 mph and doesn't always have the left turn signal on.
  • Now, it's clear to me that nobody really loves to drive unless he or she can engage in honking the horn, cursing, and flipping the finger at almost every other driver out there. The driverless car would take all that away and, quite seriously, would leave us with a mass epidemic of what could only be described as pent up Road Rage Neurosis.
  • What if there's a Google Car Virus (GCV), developed by some disgruntled former Google employee, that sends every Googlemobile off the same cliff? Worse still, no one would notice because they'd be too busy eating a burrito and texting all their friends a photo of that burrito to realize they're actually falling off a cliff into oblivion.
  • What happens if four cars simultaneously arrive at a four-way stop? Oh snap! You could be sitting there all day.
  • Would a driverless car be available to a dog? I mean could you send your mutt across town to the Pooch Poof-N-Polish Parlour for a clip 'n' snip without having to go with it?
  • In a driverless car, folks out for the night and a few cocktails can get home without worrying about being charged for driving under the influence. That might seem a good thing at face value, but my fear is that some folks will never be sober again, since the driverless car allows them to be drunk all the time.
  • Finally, I worry that Google cars will make the same mistakes as the Google search engine. Say you tell the car, "Go back two blocks." Will the car respond, "Sorry, no results for bald box, did you mean black cocks?"

No, I'm not sure we're ready for a driverless car. Driving is America's #1 sport. Driving is fun, and every driver thinks he or she is a fabulous driver and that every other driver sucks.

You can't take that megalomania, that utter narcissistic self-conceit, away from the otherwise completely humdrum life of the average citizen. After all, on average, only 1.3 million people are killed in road accidents every year, but, what the heck, most of those fatalities are young people.

So it goes ... beep, beep ...



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