The machines aren’t taking over

Next Thursday you get to commute to work drunk, while texting, without even knowing what city you’re in. Because according to people who are smarter (not smarter) than I, self-driving cars are on offer for delivery to your garage (or palace) next week. And self-driving ships are just around the corner too:

Except that they’re not. It’s not going to happen. But enjoy all the fun thinking about it.

Two things are going to prevent the machines from taking over our cars, ships, planes, tuk-tuks, and brains.

1) Lawyers

The Children of Satan are going to run these ideas in the ground. If your self-driving car hits another car who pays? You? Them? The program coder? Your car? Your ex-wife? Think you can answer this question? You probably can, you’re an intelligent person. The problem is you don’t have enough money or influence to buy the votes that will write the laws that govern this. And they’ll screw it up. The dispute resolution process is going to be more complicated than a twelve year old explaining to you how to do long division again.

2) Cash

In order for the concept of self-driving hunks of steel to actually work, they have to achieve widespread use. Otherwise it’s just a fluke for rich assholes. I can buy my own jet car but that doesn’t change humanity. Nobody’s going to have the cash to buy these things. The freaks will claim that over time the costs will come down and your local grocery bagger can buy one too. They’re lying. Personal desktop computers were around for thirty years before the smartphone obliterated them from dominance. During that time their prices were consistently $1K-$2K depending on your desired model. If the freaks have shown anything, it’s that the cost of their technology won’t be coming down.

And in any case, why bother? Who cares? So cars and ships are more efficient driving themselves? So we can drink beer or check our e-mail while our car drives itself? Your car’s still going to sit in traffic whether you’re in control or not. The plane will still take off and land regardless of who’s up front. But driverless cars are safer! Yep, sure they are, and my computer never crashes. Ever.

So automated technology will displace humans so they can do what? The freaks will tell you that it frees the human mind to do other things. So the deck seaman on the Maersk container ship is going to become an artist or entrepreneur or something? Yeah, good luck with that.

It all just feels like a waste. Where do we draw the line and say, thanks machines, but this is ours because we’re alive and not non-sentient plants. Shall we allow the freaks to get the machines to cook us dinner, read to our kids, scratch our backs too? Sooner or later we’re going to have to remember that we’re freaking alive.

The author of this blog still looks up directions (yes, online, okay) and writes them on a small sheet of paper before leaving in his pocket car. If I get lost, oh well. At least it allows me to know where the hell I am over time. When you’re just having your smartphone tell you where to turn, maybe you’d better hope it drives you off a bridge. Best to enjoy life and do things for yourself. You’re not going to be here much longer anyways.


Hello humans, my name is Ship, and I’m so very, very boring.

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