“Enough is enough” is a phrase that is pretty common. But for me, I would have never thought it would apply to technology. I’ve always been a person of science and technology and I love seeing what pushing the limits of ingenuity looks like. But lately, I’ve had a strange feeling inside I never thought I’d have when observing new ideas.
This feeling inside is keeping me from liking a new type of technology that I seriously thought I would love. Self-driving cars.
“Oh Phil, You’re just being old-fashion and scared.” Nope. that is not what I’m being. I love living in the coexistence of the old-fashion ways of doing things as well as having technology at our fingertips. I don’t JUST like one or the other. I love VR technology just as much as I love pulling out my handy Moleskine notebook to write, sketch, and make a massively detailed schedule. I want to have a jetpack and land on the lakeside next to an old vintage record player remember’n them old days. But there’s one thing I’m just not into. Cars that take their own wheel.
Here is why.
There is a compromise in technology we don’t pay much attention too. There are two types of things that come up when a new idea is made. One is what the product brings to the table… and the other is what it takes away. Inventions are made to make things easier. They make things a bit more fun. With making things easier, it can also make things more efficient, and I’m all about efficiency. I love working smarter and not harder. Technology is all about that at times.
What are the things that are taken from the table? I think of this possibility all the time, especially since I’m an idea guy myself. For a factory, it could mean jobs being downsized. It’s understandable that as multiple industries change through time, new machinery will decrease a company’s manpower. This way of doing things could sometimes be more money focused and not as much on the compassion level. Sometimes it’s more about the bottom line and not the bottom feeders who are scraping for whatever they can get to make ends meet.
A big thing that can be very easily taken away with new ideas is our ability to do things. To be in control of something. To think about stuff.
A great example would be the smartphone GPS. When I used to have the good old Razor flip phone, I thought I had it made. It was so sleek and shiny. Even with it being super smooth, the name and sexiness of the phone still made me fear I would slice my fingers on it. I was a geek with that phone. During those days, I had ‘technology’ but I still had to figure out directions to friends houses, family get-togethers, or restaurants. I dealt with nervousness on the interstate when I felt I missed an exit to a destination. I felt accomplished when I remembered a route by heart. There were hard times and there were times I was scared because I thought I was lost. Being without instant problem solving was still something that made me function and be more aware of my surroundings.
Every time I was lost or scared, I would pray to Jesus for guidance, even with directions. I relied on him more on almost every aspect of my life because I knew that I would get confused at times and He always helped me through my predicament. But now… it’s different. We don’t have to calculate much of anything anymore. We use apps to calculate tipping, and our GPS is holding our hands like we’re toddlers walking us to grandmas house. I lost connection once on my apple maps and I almost had a panic attack. Instead of talking to God about giving me guidance, protection, and know-how, I was yelling from earth “God, PLEASE fix my internet connection!” (maybe in tears sometimes) I could not for the life of me remember a route I’ve been driving almost 7 years I’ve lived in this town. This really is not ok.
I have to keep reminding myself to never be extreme when I get on technological freak-out moments. Just because I’m losing my memory because of all these self-thinking products doesn’t mean I have to throw it all away. There is a great opportunity for us to utilize this technology to make life better! Like using apps with reminder software to tell you when to STOP working and hang with your family; or even to get up and walk around the neighborhood before you go to work.
We have the opportunity to alter what technology is doing to us and turn it into what it is doing for us.
Now back on the self-driving car topic. Let me mention the things I love about new car technology. I love car awareness. I love how a car can tell how close you are to someone and counteract our stupidity at times like when a new teenage driver isn’t paying attention while texting and driving, and the car automatically slows down keeping the car from ramming into another one. I like this. This is helpful to humanity, though it could also hinder our own awareness and keep incredibly narcissistic people thinking, “Oh, if I text this exclusively urgent selfie to Becka, then I’m safe because my car will slow down for me!” This is also to keep in mind with things that think for us.
“But, you got it wrong. You can override your own self-driving car!”
Maybe so. But most people are getting lazier and lazier. Humanity seems to be failing at driving themselves and trusting their own focus ability due to other technology in their hands.
“But the statistics Phil? There have been fewer crashes…” Stop, please. You’re basing this on a very small scale calculation that has no comparison to the existence of cars. I promise you if you give everyone in this world a self-driving car there will be a lot of issues. I can only imagine the malfunctions; the hacking that will take place taking people to Disney world for fun; or worse. You know how sometimes, one’s smartphone may freeze up and not work, so you have to take your phone in to get it looked at to see if it could be fixed? Well, when your self-driving car freezes up and is flying 60 MPH and won’t stop, are you going to hop out to solve all your smart tech problems? I kid again.
“But there should always be a manual way to override” Yep, there should. And there probably is. But how are the self-driving services going to work? Are they going to have emergency pull string to cut off all functionality? And then if that happens, (which would be great because everyone would be safe) are you now stranded somewhere? What obstacles do we have to deal with now? Hop into a backup self-driving car coming at you with no driver at the wheel again? Funny stuff.
I don’t trust self-driving cars. I don’t mind hybrids, smart cars, even flying cars. (If I could be in control) But there is no way I will ever buy a self-driving car. But I will admire the work and how cool it is that it was even possible to create in the first place.
If there is 100% proven fact that there will never be an issue with them… then maybe I’ll buy a self-driving car.
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