Control Issues

Today’s post comes from Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease, Civilians!

Be at ease but be cautious whenever someone else offers to do the driving, especially when that “someone else” is a machine!

Yes, I admit I’m alarmed at the progress Google is making with its Autonomous Car Program.  Why?  It won’t be long before you will be able to buy an automobile that will drive itself to wherever you’re going – regardless of whether you intend to go there or not.

What do I worry about when I imagine our driverless car future? Everything, of course! But mostly, it’s the loss of control.

And here’s another thing that keeps me up at night – Americans who ride around in autonomous cars will eventually forget how to drive. It’s inevitable, because anything that is not practiced withers away. Think of it – when the autopilot switches off, we will suddenly discover that we have lost the talent and the ability to safely operate automobiles.

In other words, it’ll be just like today, only more so!

The downsides here are so many and so negative, I hardly know where to begin!

The upside? Suspense novelists will have a new way to commit murder – cruel geniuses will be able to hack the on board computer of dispensable characters and drive the poor unfortunates off a cliff from poolside using an iPad.

Cue the evil laugh!

And once this starts happening in books, it’s only a matter of time before it’s in your neighborhood, and then in your driveway. Good God, get out! That menacing phone call is coming from inside your own garage!

Stay worried,

The autonomous car is coming. Will you be strong enough to resist?

49 thoughts on “Control Issues”

  1. Strong enough to resist a car that drives itself?? I WOULD LOVE THAT!!! With increasing driving anxiety limiting how far l can drive more by the season, having a self-driving car would free me up to go anywhere and everywhere. My world could expand to even include St. Paul! There are so very many wonderful things to see and do right here in the Twin Cities that l’ve not yet seen or done because l’m afraid l’ll get lost or side swipe a car on the freeway. Better yet, l wouldn’t pose a danger to other drivers on the road.

    Yes, bring it on!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with you, Cb, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the only thing that will have me still driving within the next five years. Metro Mobility doesn’t look all that attractive as an alternative. Fortunately, I’m married to a man six years younger than me, so if I stay on good terms with him, I may be able to talk him into taking me wherever I need to go. But I’m not pushing my luck.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still drive, but more and more, less and less. I don’t like to drive after dark, especially if I’m not familiar with the area.
    My depth perception if off.


  3. they have cars you dont have tp drive now called taxis. pick up the phone and the car you dont have to drive will be here in a minute.
    i had someone show me the wonders of uber the other day and he said the ability to have a car arrive at your location within a minute or two with a clean pleasant driver vs the smells of the superamerica parking lot with a cell phone in the ear of a foreign speaking driver who doesnt acknowledge your presence.
    i remember the story of the taxi driver who would show up ask your preference of radio stations offer a choice of newspapers coffee tea juice or soda and a pleasant conversation or none if preferred. he was booked with regulars who loved his service and was paid 3 times the average taxi drivers wage because he cared.
    if i could arrange a driverless car with a personality to order i would use it however…im currently teaching the 15 year old daughter to drive and its a challange to the point that im not sure i would trust the google driver to know how to nudge into traffic and when to go over to the fast lane to get around the older drive who is lost in the car in front of us. the roads are full of terrible drivers and the attention required is not in going down the road it is in getting around the defectives on the other side of those windshields out there. maniacs doorknobs and feebs. the roads are not to be trusted to the likes of the eyeliner queen, the grandma who is afraid of the car in fornt of her the construction worker with a monster van he takes an extra 6 inches of your lane with and the other kids who are learning form some other helpful well meaning soul. my daughters mother is not able to let her drive,… too nerve wracking when mom is in the car with us and i am giving direction and guidance mom yells nooooooo as i am telling my daughter to prepare to move over 2 lanes in the next 1/w mile. look for your spots and go go go. driving requires focus and instantaneous decision making. if the directions i am giving my daughter on nudging over are involving the nudging in front of a driverless car i may have to rethink the directive. im not sure the undriver will respond correctly. metro mobility with c23po? im not sure


    1. One of the last times I called a taxi, tim, was when I needed to be at the airport on time. I allowed an extra 20 minutes, just to be safe. The taxi driver got lost on Juliet Avenue and got to my house 47 minutes late. I would have said something withering to him but his English wasn’t much better than his skills at reading maps.


  4. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I have a mixed response to this idea: the thought of napping on my way home from work is appealing to me. On the other hand, I am not sure I trust these things–exactly how might this work? What about atypical situations–can one of these dodge a pot hole? Black ice? A drunk driver?

    I am not ready to climb right in one of these, but the idea is so appealing–complete passivity and relaxation on the road.


  5. Happy Equinox, all! When my car dies (19 1/2 years old and counting!), I have no plans to get another one, autonomous or otherwise. I think I’ll be able to get by on public transportation and the occasional Car2Go. I have three friends who don’t drive and don’t have bikes, yet manage to get around quite well. If I were in the position to ride in an autonomous car, I think I’d pass; I’m not going to trust a car programmed by the sorts of people I’ve heard about that work in IT (from friends of mine who also work in IT). They can’t even release a new version of Windows that doesn’t need to be debugged and patched for months afterwards!


    1. we live different lives crow girl. i dont know what they could design for you. maybe a sidewalk with good concrete or a wifi for walking down the road.
      your demographic is not one anyone tries to build around because the needs are so simple.
      enjoy small town life in the big city. i am a little envious but not able to see my switching over to your way of doing it


      1. Different strokes, man. I’m just trying to live according to Archdruid John Michael Greer’s advice, “collapse now and avoid the rush”. As in, simplify your life, scale back your needs, and learn how to do for yourself before you’re forced to by economic change.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Totally with you on this one, CG.

      I’ve lived in several cities with good transit systems and not needed a car (except for the necessary trips out if the city. I get a little unhinged if I don’t see open space regularly).

      I’ve looked into replacing the 17 year old Buick I have never liked and concluded that Car2go or a rental to get out of the cities will be just fine once I am done being a high school mom and the s&h has learned the arcane skill of driving.

      I think he wants to learn because he just plain wants to have the skill. He is pretty happy with his feet, bike and bus pass. If we weren’t in a transit desert, he might not be as interested in driving.


      1. Driving is a good skill to have and it’s usually a lot easier to learn while you still live with your parent(s) than after you grow up and move out. So, good choice for S&H to learn now rather than later.


  6. Morning all. My problem with driving is that it seems such a waste of time. Books on CD are the only things that makes driving seem worthwhile. Of course, if the self-driving car can get to where I need to go without getting lost or turned around, it might be OK.


    1. i love driving. a cigar a tune a chance to think and im recharged. i love driving everywhere i go. when i ma at the mercy of public transportation i am screwed. i dont figure out how to go out and do it. when i jump in the car on the motorcycel and go check it out i am always pleased with the side trips life takes me on.
      i do regret sometimes getting lost on the phone while i am taking the scenic way home and missing the scenery because i am focused on responding to an inquiry or crafting an answer to a problem that has come up. my brain is a victum of multitask oblivion and gets it done in the most roundabout method. i think the driverless vehicle could help me do chores on my way from here to there. id be willing to give it a try.


    2. lt really is tedious, I imagine that having only horseback to navigate felt pretty inefficient, too? lt seems odd to me that we can’t just “beam down” where we need to be. This would eliminate car accidents, being late, and air fare.


  7. Good morning. I returned last hight from traveling to New York and back for the climate march on a bus. The bus trip riding part of this trip could have been better because the drivers and the buses used were not the greatest. Lets hope for cars that drive themselves that are better than the buses and drivers that were used on that trip.

    I agree with those who are not sure that driverless cars can be designed that will work in every situation. Also, I have found that people who design high tech stuff do sometimes fail to understand what people like myself need to know to make use of what they design. Also, what would we have to pay to buy one of those driverless cars? Would they be a product that would only be available to those who can afford to pay for excessively high priced products.


  8. I might need an auto drive car once I can’t drive since public transport is pretty lame in ND. Would i feel safe? Not a bit. I am the queen of control issues.


    1. the safty built into these things is going to be over the top. on a 1-10 it will be 27. no google or amazon driverless car is going to run amuck because of oversight. but if you have a question be prepared to wait in line on hold for 2 or 3 hours.


    1. i took my mom to the opera in front of ordway at an outdoor broadcast. i was wonderful but cold and wet. how was the streeet dance. i have to admit more than once i thought i made the wrong choice


  9. At this moment in time, I can’t imagine giving up driving my own car! If I am going to relinquish the driving, let it be to an Amtrak engineer.

    OT: We are on a road trip to Utah – haven’t had a chance to read anything since last Thursday… Will check in sporadically and be back next week some time.


  10. BSOR is the dumbest bozo in the circus if he wants me to dread the coming of autopilot cars. Man, I can’t wait. And if I could have an autopilot car, I’d be so grateful I wouldn’t even care if the autopilot was a chain smoker who laid on the horn in bad traffic and told tasteless jokes. I’d just love to have any driver who isn’t me. Once I was vain about my driving ability, but it would take a mighty lame engineer to design an autopilot who is a worse driver than me.

    As a driver, these days I think of myself as a cat. Do I mean a cat like Timmy or Pippen, the two best athletes I ever knew? No. I mean a cat like some old tomcat with a crooked tail and chewed-up ears and just one good eye, an old tomcat who has used up eight of his nine lives and is only safe if he is asleep. If I knew for sure when I was going to be on the highways I would stay at home because it isn’t safe out there when I’m behind the wheel.

    You’re gonna try to scare me, BSOR, with an autopilot? Tee hee hee! All I have to do to terrify myself is pick up my car keys.


  11. Americans can’t drive now! So the whole automated thing makes me nervous too. Like Barbara on the Road, I certainly don’t want to give up driving my own car so I can definitely see where you’re coming from with this post! Great read!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Being a relatively safety conscious driver, I would welcome automated driving. I also seem to attract the worst drivers possible. My ex was always amazed at how many people make colossally stupid driving decisions around me. If it would keep people from cruising through red lights, I absolutely support automated driving. I’m off to teach a defensive driving course now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sure a lot of people would argue with their automation about how long after the light turns yellow (or red) you can still enter the intersection. That’s something that people really, really push the limits on.

      Happy birthday, TGITH!


      1. Ooh, tell me about it, Linda. So many times I’ve gone through a yellow light and thought “Man, that was cutting it close – and then I look in the rearview mirror and see 3 or 4 cars behind me go through the light.

        But my most memorable moment of seeing someone cut it close was one day when I was leaving the library and about to cross the street. My library does not have a parking lot and it is on a quite busy street and I cross that street at a traffic light right in front of the library. I was waiting for the light to turn green for me to cross the street. The light turned green, but for some reason I didn’t step out into the street right away. Good thing, because some idiot driving, almost a block back, saw the light turn yellow and decided he had to get through the light. So he barreled through the red light at a terrific speed. If I had been in a hurry and stepped into the street promptly to cross, well, I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m often the driver that is borderline and brakes, and really, really pisses off the two or three drivers behind me that wanted to floor it and get through that intersection.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. For a long time, l was sure that the drivers around me were behaving dangerously. Then, the time came when l had to admit that it was ME. One of my more recently acquired driving phobias is when entering or even driving past a freeway entrance ramp. When l’m entering, l slow way down just to make sure no one already on the road will crash into me. This has tended to anger cars behind me. When l’m on the freeway, l get tense when seeing cars trying to enter because it often looks like we’re going to collide as they enter. l’ve lost every trace of spatially judging distance. When you’re entering a freeway going only 5 MPH, it makes sense that cars going 65 are going to suddenly appear.

    l’ve been scouting out every possible way to take back roads wherever l go as l’m painfully aware that l’m only one minor (not to mention major) accident away from never driving again.


  14. I have more of an opinion now than I had this morning. Stopped at the grocery store over my lunch hour. In two different places in the parking lot, people were driving and parking in very strange ways – pulling out then pulling back in, cutting it too close to the cars on either side. Pulling up so that the person trying to back out of the spot can’t get out. ALL FOUR OF THESE FOLKS WERE ON CELL PHONES! So, I’m now thinking that automated cars will probably be much safer.


  15. Afternoon-
    My Mom quit driving a few years ago. She hadn’t been able to see at night for several years so only drove during the day. And then when they decided they only needed one car, dad said he was NOT giving up his car. Mom wanted to know who put him in charge anyway? But she gave up her car.
    And then last summer my dad had heart surgery and he quit driving for good. Apparently there was a minor fender bender in the church parking lot that none of us kids heard about at the time.
    But dad just turned 89 and for him it was time to quit anyway.
    They have both adjusted to riding the shuttle bus their Senior Living place provides or one of us kids gives them rides or picks things up for them.
    I think mostly they just miss getting out of the house.

    Some of the bigger farmers are using GPS and ‘auto-steer’ in the tractors. The point of it is to keep the tractor aligned so the digger / planter / implement behind only overlaps the bare minimum or keeps the proper spacing. Thereby saving fertilizer, fuel and time. But you need a lot of acres to make that pay.
    I don’t have it and never will.
    But there is still a lot to be paying attention too; there are monitors for seed or fertilizer levels or planting populations.
    You keep your head on a swivel, as we say onstage. (But mirrors help.)

    Self driving car? Maybe… but I’d still want to be in the seat and paying attention. At least until V5 or 6 I’d guess.


  16. I can’t help it, I wish to goodness the time and treasure being put into the self-driving car would be put into making the places we already are more liveable.

    I resent that if I want things as simple as clothing, printer ink, or a 2×4, driving will be involved. Sure, things like that would have to be trucked to the neighborhood store, but are we really saving on fuel by having every single household drive to the big box every time they need something?

    I enjoy the fact that when I need corset stays and tailoring canvas, I can just order on line. I am also reaping the benefits of online shopping by being able to sell to a worldwide market.

    But really-when it comes to big box stuff, I find myself stocking up as if I did in fact live on the Island already, because a trip to the big boxes is stressful, time-consuming and to be avoided.

    I don’t like driving much and really dislike being driven. The latter makes me carsick. I don’t think a programmed car will change that.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. OT: I have a fascination with the best predictions for the world we will know in upcoming years, after climate change has altered everything. There is a major article on this in today’s New York Times by Jennifer Kingson, “Portland Will Still be Cool but Anchorage Might be the Place to Be.” Some of the predictions apply to the year 2050. I won’t be around to see them, but younger Baboons should be.

    In case you can’t look at the whole article, I’ll offer a few points. The best climate in the US will be in Alaska, which will draw emigrants the way Florida once did. Cities in the Pacific Northwest and upper Great Plains (including the Twin Cities and Detroit) will attract “millions” of folks fleeing intolerable weather and high insurance rates elsewhere. Minnesota will have the climate of today’s northern Oklahoma. The most livable area of the lower 48 will be a thin strip of land west of the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest. California, the Southwest, Florida and much of the Eastern Seaboard will be depopulated because the climate there will be unacceptable or under the sea. One scientist picks 2047 as the year New York City tips over into crisis.


  18. After years of disliking driving, I now enjoy it, well, sometimes anyway. The major difference is the car I’m driving now is quite small and therefore easy to maneuver. It also works – brakes and everything. I would like to have a driverless car for parallel parking (which I don’t even attempt) and driving at night in unfamiliar areas.

    Liked by 1 person

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