What About This…? 11.6.2014

By Wayne William Cipriano

I heard that cars may soon come with cameras trained on the driver to detect signs of rage or fatigue. They say that when these states are indicated by facial expressions picked up by the cameras, the car’s sound system will select and play music to calm or arouse the driver as necessary. Perhaps these cameras, noting that the music has failed to sufficiently cool out or wake up the driver will send orders to the car’s computer that will render the car inoperable until a “better” psychological state is achieved.

Even more interesting, I’ve heard of totally “automatic” cars, which have computers, programmed to use in-road sensors for navigation.

As an old-fashioned guy who is angry each and every time a new car will not allow me to open the door until some mechanical requirements have been fulfilled to the satisfaction of the car’s computer, I find news about completely automatic cars disturbing….and potentially dangerous…and possibly funny.

I envision 16-year-old computer adept junior high school dropouts deeply involved in the process of “testing the limits of their reality” and thus spending their day equally divided between trolling the mall and locked in their rooms doing whatever it is they do “on line.” This person, angered by parents unwilling to provide cash to score drugs or cosmetics last weekend, and aware Dad owns an automatic car, has spent all morning (well, since noon) on the Internet accessing the central processing unit. It is now programmed to drive the automatic car directly into the first bridge abutment on Dad’s return trip this evening.

This unfortunate situation is magnified by the poor quality of the youngster’s programming skill. This limited ability results not only in Dad’s car running full speed into a bridge abutment, but causes every automatic car to crash into every bridge abutment.

Do you think the convenience of automatic cars outweighs the inconvenience of traffic jams at every bridge abutment?