Who’s Driving?

Max has a new car, a hybrid, silent running when the electric motor is engaged. And environmentally friendly. Cool!

But it also has a lot of bells and whistles that my simple little manual doesn’t have. It senses your presence with the gadget in your pocket (no key to put in the ignition!) and opens the door for you. It thoughtfully leaves its lights on while you walk to the front door, digging in your bag for the right key, then switches off.

It reads roadside speed signs and chastises you when you’re above the limit. It puts the brakes on when it thinks you’re too close to something. It beeps angrily at you if you don’t engage/disengage the park brake or don’t put your seat belt on. Cruise control means it doesn’t need your foot on the accelerator to keep going… It has satnav to give you the wrong directions for where you know you want to go, and argues when you ignore it. And, it has an annoying female American voice that greets you with “Right here for your driving safety”, “Powering up”, “Powering down”. I have to grit my teeth because apparently there’s no way to switch her off…

Who needs a human driver? The robots are coming…

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2 Responses to Who’s Driving?

  1. Between Golem and God…
    A car with a mind of its own would be extremely unwelcome. So inbuilt is this assumption that most people don’t even see it. Of course, they assume, the entire purpose of engineering is to build instruments that work as their users demand.

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