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The Post: Condescending Cars

The Post

Imagine packing up the car for your spring break vacation and then plugging in your destination only to have your car inform you that you don’t have enough carbon credits left for the month to take that trip.

Or how about your car refusing to take you to the gun range because of what it believes are too many “red flags” in your current search history.  And maybe it reroutes you from the Chick-fil-A to the Whole Foods because your health data shows you shouldn’t eat so many fried sandwiches. Also, you shouldn’t be giving your money to Chick-fil-A anyway because of the owner’s position on gay marriage.

Sounds crazy, but this could be our dystopian future thanks to automated vehicles. The promoters and producers of this technology don’t sell it that way, of course. It’s all about convenience: sit back and scroll as your car safely and efficiently guides you through trafficless streets and perfectly timed lights.

But start digging into the issue a little and you’ll quickly see that the trade-off for vehicular autonomy could be our own individual freedom. To get anywhere near solving car congestion, you almost have to eliminate human drivers.  Simulations show even just one human driver per 100 self-driving cars can make traffic even worse than it is.

Or you might be thinking, no, I want a car that lets me choose between driving it myself or letting the car take over. Then why are the largest car companies hustling to get permission to make cars without steering wheels?

OK, but the car won’t override my late night “fourth meal” craving , will it?

Tell that to the guy who was “locked out” of all his home automations by Alexa because an Amazon driver mistakenly thought he was a racist. Pretty soon it could be cars that evaluate what their owners say and do and determine how and if they should work.

Everybody wants safety and convenience. The price shouldn’t be our freedom.

 

Brian Phillips

Chief Communications Officer

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The Postscript

Pi Day

 

Today is a day for the nerds. It’s Pi Day (3/14). For the people out there who love math, it’s a day of celebrating the mathematical constant that never ends. It also happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday. It’s a big day for mathematics.

 

The way people celebrate is about how you would think: pie eating contests, pie throwing contests, etc. MIT also sends out their decision letters on Pi Day to let people know whether they’ve been accepted or not — very on brand for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pizza places throughout Texas and the nation are having different deals in honor of Pi day. So today, go out to your nearest pizza place and get a $3.14 pie.

 

John Mondi

Communications Manager

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