One of the greatest things about new technology is how easy it is for us to abuse it under the guise of "innovation." Centuries ago, paper was worth its weight in gold, and now we use it to wipe our asses. That's the type of non-dangerous innovation we need in our world today. But instead, we're getting stupid things like ...
5Ford's Remote-Controlled Cars
In an effort to keep up with the likes of Google and bored college students, Ford has gotten into the no-people-in-the-car car business. However, rather than go the cool "self-driving" route, Ford decided to put some good old-fashioned human liability into their project. Behold, your auto industry bailout dollars at work.
Pros: It's a manual transmission. Cons: It's probably a Mustang.
Like that friend who brings non-alcoholic beer to a party, Ford took something that's normally good in moderation and made it totally fucking unbearable. They claim it's best used for things like valet parking and helping the elderly get their groceries, but that's kind of what we invented teenagers for.
Anyway, once the controllers are installed in the vehicle, it uses a 4G connection to pick up interactions from someone behind the totally-not-reconfigured-from-a-Wii wheel. This enables the car to be operated from thousands of miles away. However, as anyone familiar with 4G is keenly aware (we're looking at you, Verizon), the signal is likely to be dropped at precisely the most inopportune moment possible.
"Hitting a tunnel, gonna lose the signal," is good for getting out of calls with Nana. Not so much when trying to drive Nana to dialysis.
Connectivity issues aren't the only problems associated with this car. Despite the fact that the system could be easily hacked and controlled by anyone with the wherewithal to do such a thing, there's no way to police the person sitting behind the monitor. They could be drunk out of their minds -- or worse, playing Grand Theft Auto V on another screen.
4The New OnStar Tool Is Just Embarrassing
Well, we couldn't rail on Ford and not also find something to rip into General Motors about. You got off easy this time, Chrysler. But man, if there are two things we could use less of in our day-to-day lives, it's spam and distractions in our cars. Unfortunately for literally everybody who has to deal with roads, General Motors' OnStar service has decided to combine both of these nightmares into a vicious hydra known as AtYourService.
"I'll buy some long audiobooks so I'm not distracted working the radio while dri--"
Because everyone loves pop-up ads, OnStar has partnered up with major corporations such as Dunkin' Donuts to track your every move and spam your dashboard with advertisements geared toward places that you frequent. So between sending texts and changing the radio, drivers can now squint at their dashboard trying to decipher a deal on hazel-swirl iced coffees while trying to dodge traffic. GM's official reasoning (and totally not an admission of invasion of privacy) was that folks are booking hotels and ordering food from their phones while in the car anyway, so they may as goddamned well encourage that behavior, but on a bigger screen.
Worse yet, these advertisements will cue in your passengers to exactly the type of places you frequent.
"I have no idea why Brazzers ads keep popping up, honey. Must be a glitch."
Among the original partners (in addition to Dunkin') were RetailMeNot and Entertainment Book, who were happy to ensure that customers were inundated with deals on your dashboard. We're sure the person you accidentally rear-end while staring at coupons will totally understand once you show them what a good deal just popped up.
And this was only the beginning. As of early 2016, they've added both Groupon and ExxonMobil, in case Rebecca couldn't remember to print out that free appetizer voucher at home and Meredith couldn't be bothered to fill up her gas tank before offering to drive on girls' night out.