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Cars have come a long way since the days when they ran on four hooves and were called "horses." Since then, we've innovated the electric motor, fuel injection and decorative rubber scrotums. What could possibly be left?

Unfortunately, as you'll soon find out, quite a bit. A whole lot of computerized wizardry is coming to your car, and some of it will make your life a living hell.

Car Ringtones

The Innovation:

For every new technology, there's some busybody utterly terrified it'll commit mass murder. There were probably people campaigning against the dangerous, untested Segway. So leave it to these safety advocates to insist that hybrids, with their wussy quiet engines, need to have some sort of warning sound to alert pedestrians and blind people when they're coming.

Really? Are we crazy, or do regular cars not make all that much noise right now? It's not like everybody's growling down the street in a Harley these days.

How It'll Ruin Your Life:

The "warning sound," as it turns out, isn't going to stop with a fake "vroom." Oh, no, that would be far too limiting in a world where everybody has replaced their cell phone ring with T-Pain. People need to express themselves. So, you'll get cars like the DiMora Natalia, which has an MP3-enabled horn. Yes, the day has arrived when you can toot some Lady GaGa at the guy who just cut you off. Take that, asshole!

Of course, this needlessly complicates the primary function of the horn: Warning people you're about to kill. In a few years, driving on the highway will mean you're being subjected to, at best, hipsters blasting classic Simpsons sound bites at you, and at worst, sixty year-olds trying to warn you they're about to plow into you at 100 MPH IF YOU DON'T GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY by inadvertently pressing the button that plays a Kenny G sax solo that was engineered by 80s music producers to be the opposite of alarming. We're almost certain you're not allowed into heaven if the last thing you hear before dying is "Songbird."

OLED Rearview Mirrors

The Innovation:

The rear-view mirror is so BORING. All it does is tell you what cars are behind you and if the T-Rex closing in is closer than it appears. So carmakers want to fix that with an OLED overlay on the rearview mirror that would tell you your direction, how fast you're going, how close the vehicles behind you are, how fast they're going and how many bullets you have left in your rear-mounted machine guns (that'll be a feature too, right?).

Image via engadget

How It'll Ruin Your Life:

Fun fact: "distracted driving," where you lose focus on the road for only a couple of seconds, causes 1.5-million crashes a year.

In other words, just looking at a cute puppy for a moment means you might be flattening its mommy a second later, you horrible bastard. And your car already has about eighty million things you might need to look at, on top of the fact that most of you probably use your cell phone in the car and don't have a hands-free device and are constantly glancing over at a Garmin suction-cupped to the windshield.

So what does the driver surrounded by all these distractions need? Why, a blinking rear-view mirror streaming all kinds of factoids it thinks you need to know! And another mirror that you can see in the car in front of you, particularly at night. Just last week we wound up following an SUV around town for an hour because we got engrossed in the movie playing in its headrests.

It'll be even harder to ignore their rearview HUD when we can see that it's announcing that the guy behind it is driving like an asshole.

Well, shit, with all these blinking screens and hundreds of automotive ringtones blurting out sound clips in traffic, how are they going to make sure drivers are focusing on the road at all?


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Computers That Bitch About Your Driving

The Innovation:

There is already a crapload of computers in your car doing everything from checking out your engine to changing the radio station when you yell loudly enough. We're pretty sure there's a hack to get OnStar to compliment your prowess as a lover.

But Toshiba wants to take it one step further and turn that sensuous voice into the backseat driver from Hell.

How It'll Ruin Your Life:

Toshiba's computer would look at your face and make sure you're paying attention to the road, and only the road, no matter what. It uses blink detection to see if you're falling asleep, which is all well and good until you get something caught in your eye, and your car will start shrieking at you like the mother-in-law character from a 50s cartoon.

Even better, a "feature" of the software is an ability to steer the car based on your eye direction, ensuring you'll spend the rest of your life in jail for vehicular manslaughter after that morning you were driving along and suddenly noticed the women's volleyball team was out for a jog.

It gets worse. Consider the Safe Driving Monitor which can be hooked up to your car so it can point out your every crappy driving habit. Even better, it will digitally publish all your mistakes on your LCD keychain.

Thanks, car! Why don't you just fucking drive yourself? Oh, wait...

Cars That Fucking Drive Themselves

The Innovation:

Don't you just hate doing things like stopping at stoplights, backing out of parking spaces, or pushing the gas and brake pedals? Don't you wish robots could do this for you, while you napped in the back seat? Don't worry, they can! Whether you want them to or not!

How It'll Ruin Your Life:

Some of these systems, like the self-parking car, are cheap and could be implemented tomorrow. They just need to resolve a few minor problems, like the fact that the system can't identify obstacles or people, but already it appears that about a third of human drivers can't do that, so maybe we won't notice the difference.

Simple pleasures such as resting your legs in the street will not be possible in the future.

Also, they're creating systems that'll slam on the brakes if you don't stop for a red light, meaning the pregnant woman and/or gunshot victims in the back seat will just have to wait their damn turn.

They even have cars that use advanced technology to make you abide by speed limits and other systems that can auto-maneuver around obstacles if it detects something coming.

If you're worried about handing over so much control to your car's computer, just keep in mind these systems never malfunction. Just ask the Thai finance minister whose on-board computer in his BMW failed, trapping him in his car and nearly asphyxiating him before somebody broke him out with a sledgehammer.

Also see: the entire plot of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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In-Car Breathalyzer

The Innovation:

What? How the hell can we possibly be against this?

After all, for some of you--and you know who you are--a breathalyzer is the most frequent object crammed in your mouth on a Saturday night (number two would be corn dogs). And some people, like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, are big into installing the devices in cars after the first DUI offense, or even making them standard on all cars.

This is a great idea, right? After all, is there any measure too drastic when we're talking about drunk driving?

How It'll Ruin Your Life:

Wait, does ice cream impair your driving? Because an Australian man proved in court that eating certain flavors of ice cream raised the alcohol on his breath high enough that his in-car breathalyzer wouldn't let him drive.

The court replied by ordering his car breathalyzer removed--the breathalyzer they ordered him to install in his car in the first place. Likewise, in the U.S. the California Supreme Court is now allowing challenges to breathalyzer results, saying there are all sorts of variables the test doesn't take into account. Like ice cream, we would presume.

"This says you're all hopped up on sherbet, sir."

So where's the line between safety and our privacy? Do some sensors and a microchip know where that line is? The next thing we know, the government will be bugging your car to monitor how you drive.

The Government Bugging Your Car to Monitor How You Drive

The Innovation:

GPS is a part of pretty much every smartphone these days, and eventually some form of it is going to be in every cell phone you buy as part of the Enhanced 911 Program. So why is GPS still considered a fancy extra feature in cars? Why don't we live in a world where we never again find ourselves creeping along behind a confused grandma trying to find an address and missing turns because some kids stole the street sign?

Bring on the universal GPS already! Hell, make it mandatory!

How It'll Ruin Your Life:

Don't worry, they will. But not because they want to make your life easier. Some day, GPS will make it possible for the government to charge you a quarter-cent a mile, to tax you for all that wear and tear you're putting on the streets.

You see, as hybrids hit the road in increasing numbers, their cuteness and fuel efficiency are lowering government gasoline tax revenues. So the idea is, instead of taxing gas, which will be used less and less as we have cars powered by the sun, hydrogen and unicorn sneezes, we'll tax how far people drive and make the people who drive the most pay for the roads.

Good thing the entire U.S. means of distribution isn't based on trucking goods across thousands of miles, and retailers never pass increased costs on to the customers. Thanks for the road, suckas!

Incidentally, President Obama put the smack down on this idea pretty fast and you can trust him because he always keeps his promises.

But even then, that's just for tax purposes, right? No different than monitoring how much water or electricity we use so we can pay our fair share. After all, it's not like a GPS is monitoring how we drive and telling the cops when we've been speeding.

No, that job is left up to the Event Data Recorder, a device that knows when you've been speeding, when you've run a red light or when you've been driving recklessly. It's already been used to bring charges against drivers after an accident (the police can access the data, allowing your own car to effectively testify against you in court). This futuristic, Big Brother-esque technology is expected to be in 85 percent of cars by... a few months from now.

Congratulations, guys! The future has arrived!

More Dan can be found at seitzeeing.wordpress.com

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