Autonomous: Maybe It’s Past Time to Let The Machines Drive
After a day of driving the other day, I witnessed so many poor drivers (lane changing without signaling, driving very slowly in the passing lanes, terrible merging skills, not moving when the lights changed) that I realized that the skill of driving should no longer be left to humans. We should move, as quickly as possible, to make as many vehicles as we can autonomous.
Humans are great at many things, but I sense that driving, at least in major metropolitan areas, you know, where there are other cars and drivers, is now something we need the machines to do for us.
We are incautious, overly cautious, distracted, overly and under observant, sick, crazy, and have a thousand different personalities when we are behind the wheel. It’s no wonder that there are so many accidents every year – we humans are terrible at following the rules. Well, maybe we used to be better at it, but since we’ve most recently become less beholden to authority, we’ve decided that the traffic rules are more optional now than they are mandatory.
Humans can’t be trusted behind the wheel anymore, and we need the machines to take over, the sooner the better.
Of course, many famous futurists and others say that the advent of autonomous electric vehicles could eliminate as many as 2 billion jobs (if you realize all the extensions of changes which will occur – for example, will you still need gas stations, car insurance, taxi services, truck drivers, bus drivers, auto maintenance etc.) but if you ask me, it’s worth it to get these bad drivers off the streets. I would be perfectly happy to give up the ability to drive as well – I can think of all the amazing work that I can do while I am no longer stuck in traffic, or waiting for some bozo to look up from his phone so he can realize that the light has turned green. Just think of all the additional blog posts that I can write, and all the stuff that you can do with the time, once you’ve given up the need to drive. You can finally get to that Stephen King novel you’ve been putting off – you can finally watch that episode of Orange is the New Black that you haven’t been able to get to, or you can finally polish off the last chapter of that novel that you’ve been writing.
If you ask me, 2 billion jobs are a small price to pay to get these horrible drivers off the road.
Of course, the reality is that while this may eliminate a ton of jobs (I doubt that it’s anywhere near 2 billion) every technological breakthrough of this scale has ended up creating whole new industries. Look at the pre-and-post internet, pre-and-post smartphone. Massive technology breakthroughs do eliminate some jobs, but create many, many more jobs which we can’t even conceive of yet (go back in time to 1982 and tell them that in the future, “Web Developer” will be a highly paid job, and they will think it has something to do with spiders.)
No, if you ask me, the time for autonomous vehicles (and not just autonomous cars but autonomous flying cars as well – in fact, more so) is now, and the sooner we get human drivers off the road, the more amazing life will be for all of us.
I could not agree more! And, like you, I am skeptical of the dire predictions of the coming mass unemployment caused by technological advancement. Those predictions have never been accurate.
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