In 2013, the self-driving automobile is no longer just a thing of science fiction fantasies like “I, Robot,” “Minority Report,” and “Richie Rich.” Thanks to the brilliant minds at Google, a functioning prototype for the self-driving car has already been created, and they estimate it could become a reality on the road within three to five years.
Recently, the Google car drove a blind man around for the day, taking him to Taco Bell and then to the dry cleaners to have his pants cleaned (no word on whether the two were related, but it’s certainly possible). But while the notion of a car that will drive you certainly sounds appealing, there are definitely some negatives to consider as well.
5 They’re one step closer to SkyNet.
It might sound paranoid, but a car that doesn’t need you to drive it sounds an awful lot like the first step toward a dystopian, Terminator-like future. These super-intelligent vehicles could have the capacity to rule us all some day, so just to be safe, it’s probably best that we stay behind the wheel. Lest we find ourselves slaving away in their oil fields and forced into giving them tune-ups at gunpoint.
4 They’ll hurt hacky comedians.
If all cars are driven in uniform fashion, what will become of the acts of hacky standup comedians? In a world with no driving stereotypes about women, Asians, rednecks, senior citizens, and people from New Jersey, the lifeblood of hundreds of cheesy road comics will become irrelevant. Their incomes will dry up, and they’ll be forced into legitimate jobs where they wake up at 8 a.m. and can’t even drink at work! Can you live with that on your conscience, Google? Can you?!
3 They’ll remove accountability.
If no one’s driving the cars, how will we know who to blame when they smash into each other? Even in a world of self-driving vehicles, traffic accidents are inevitable, and we’ll need someone to blame for that 40-car pileup on the 405. Insurance companies will want to know who is liable, or else they’ll all refuse to pick up the tab, and what then? Then you’ll be stuck footing the hospital bill when some lady’s idiot Kia didn’t calculate its stopping time correctly and whiplashed you something fierce.
2 They could be dangerous.
You know how sometimes your laptop freezes, or your cell phone drops a call? Those are both prime examples of issues facing computer-based technology. Now, as far as inconveniences are concerned, they’re pretty insignificant, but what if you were riding on your laptop at 75 miles per hour when it just stopped working? Computer technology has made giant advances in recent years, but there’s just no way to be sure that a “network connection issue” won’t propel your self-driving car off a cliff.
1 They’ll increase stupidity.
Is more spare time what we really need at this point? Humans are no longer a species that does well with spare time. For the most part, we use that extra time to play “Angry Birds” or create senseless YouTube videos. No one is going to use the extra time in their cars to broaden their horizons. More likely, some guy will create an Internet meme of himself planking on the hood of his self-driving car, and a rash of meme-ing deaths will quickly follow.