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.
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.
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!
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!
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