"In the year 5555
Your arms hangin' limp at your sides
Your legs got nothing to do some machine's
doin' that for you"
from "In the year 2525" written by Rick Evans & performed by
Zager & Evans
Would You Be Happy To Be Part Of The Ten Percent Who Will Die In Autonomous Cars?
Last week it was announced that Honda Motors will invest, over the next three years, up to 3 billion dollars in a joint operation with General Motors developing and researching and refining self-driving vehicle technology, in part exploring GM's driverless taxi venture. This got me to thinking about just why so many multi-billion dollar companies are attempting to sell you, me and everyone else the idea that autonomous cars are our certain future? As Zager & Evans sang back in 1969, that might not be the best idea, taking away an individuals independent ability to do something for themselves, instead having a machine doing it for you. While kitchen technology has sped up the chopping of carrots and celery, letting a steering wheel-less car on automatic pilot minus a driver zoom you down the highway at 70 MPH is an entirely different matter altogether; and safe, is it truly safe?
In this case, the rationale being used to convince us that self-driving cars will eliminate all traffic related fatalities is just another giant corporate lie, their research saying it will reduce deaths by 90 percent annually, which at first glance sounds wonderful until you consider the greater statistical reality of dividing 10 percent into an annual worldwide automobile death toll of 1, 300,000, math telling us that only a mere 310,000 people will be killed in the horror of self-driving car accidents. That is why I ask the question, are you willing to be one of the helpless victims trapped in a car minus all options except dying when an accident occurs?
I believe everyones' response would be "Hell no, are you joking?" but Google, Uber, GM and Honda are not playing around, ever intent on convincing the driving public that this new technology is GOOD for you, just take your technological medicine and everything will be fine in the futuristic morning.
And why are they doing this? Profit, and profit only because there are perfectly good alternatives that could reduce road fatalities to nearly zero, cost effective measures that will protect all and everyone driving a car, bus, truck or motorcycle.
1) Teach everyone to have the consummate car driving skills before they are licensed and zipping down the roadway. In the USA high school-based student driving programs have mostly been eliminated, removing an important venue for creating driver literacy. Imagine if safe driving concepts were taught beginning in elementary schools, teaching the skills necessary to 8 year old boys and girls so when they are 16 they are thoroughly indoctrinated in how to safely drive Mom and Dad's car. One of the goals would be to instill the desire to drive well, empathizing both personal responsibility to others and the basic matter of physical self-preservation---that by driving well you will neither kill yourself or others. It is that simple.
And of course, apply these principals to all drivers across the globe. India is responsible for thirty percent for all driver fatalities each year. Assuring that everyone is skilled and licensed there would be a great beginning. Even in tiny population Iceland where I recently rented a car, local drivers kept insisting upon hurrying down the road, endangering everyone unnecessarily. But this is what happens in every country when drivers are allowed to be licensed minus the proper preparation. It is inevitable.
2) Enforce rules as they are written. If the speed limit is 60 MPH, don't allow everyone to fly along at 70 MPH. Utilize technology to enhance enforcement. There simply cannot be enough police officers on the road to ticket all of the current offenders. Laws must be changed allowing technology to ticket drivers so the offense is duly noted on driver license records.
And all DUI/DWI offenses must be elevated, classified as a felony, with a mandatory one-year prison sentence for first-time offenders. Our roads must be made safe. Currently they are not. As billions are spent upon homeland security, the only terrorists I meet are fellow motorists, and I have no doubt whatsoever they are trying to kill me. They must be stopped literally in their tire tracks.
3) Instead of self-driving, self-ticketing cars. The way this would work is fairly simple. Built-in technology in the car would transmit the offense, say speeding 50 in a 35 MPH zone to the relevant court anywhere you might be driving in the USA. And since you started the car by "scanning" your driver's license, all your information will be sent to the proper court.
Along with this, your "smart car" will know when you are in the early process/stage of driving improperly, warning you over a dashboard monitor. That same monitor will also alert that you have just been ticketed. What all this would do is not allow the driver to escape the reality of their actions, making it clear that stupid and reckless driving has clear consequences. If you are going to drive a car, you will be doing it safely and correctly or not at all.
In short, instead of machine reliant, we as a human species should become brain reliant, training our amazing brain to be more efficient. Oft times more than not, stupidity is a choice and not the sole and obvious outcome. We humans can do better, learning from history. When we don't, plain and simply, we are stupid. And that is just the way it is.
I have a suggestion as to the car
technology line , why not advance
the science of having a ' brain
analyzer ', ( think breath analyzer technology , to scan
the brains of drivers to ensure
that angry or impatiently motivated drivers could not
get their car started while
being hereby ' impaired' .
Think of it as a cooling - off
period perhaps . As for driverless cars , no thanks !!
As you know , the computer is
only as good as what's been
pre - programmed into it. The
main draw back to any machinery
is the ' human ', therefore
currently no machine or computer
can foresee what the human
element of the equation will
throw at it . This is what
makes humans brains unique.
The ability to process information and act accordingly,
sometimes in a split - second .
Yes , computers can calculate
millions of times faster but
when will a computer be able
to send the command to steering
or braking components just as
fast as a human ?? As for
earlier and longer driver
education , yes , lets do it.
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