Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Google Cars. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. Marisa Fraley, Blog Post #2, Section 12

We are a distracted and destructive force when behind the wheel. We drive while talking on cell phones, texting, smoking cigarettes, playing with the radio, doing hair and make-up, checking out hot pedestrians, window shopping, and many other things.
                It is commonplace for people to arrive at a destination without remembering how it is that we got there. We are among a generation that feels a compulsive need to be constantly connected. Also, the advent of smart cars takes attention away from the road and onto touch screen displays for practically everything.
                In 2012, 3,328 people were killed and 421,000 were injured in distraction-affected accidents according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2011, at least 23% of automobile accidents had involved cell phones. This is equivalent to about 1.3 million crashes. Any kind of cell phone use is unsafe, including Bluetooth headset usage, according to Virginia Tech Transportation institute. It’s all the same and it’s all too distracting.
                All of these statistics lead to one overwhelming conclusion, that the Google smart cars may be the best thing that could happen to us. If we were to use the Google self-driving cars, we wouldn’t have to worry about taking our eyes off the road for the 5 second average time it takes to send a text message to grandma about how you’ll see her next week and you love the socks she knitted for you.
                Google’s self-driving car will never take its eyes off the road, thus freeing you to be able to do all the unsafe things that you’re already doing while driving. You’ll be able to pick out the perfect song to fit your mood out of your 10,000 songs on iTunes, or look over business documents on your way to work. You’d be able to catch up on that show that everyone keeps talking about and you’re annoyed that you can’t keep up with because lack of time.
                Most importantly, you’d be providing a safer environment for not only yourself, but for every person around you on the road. When are we going to come to the decision that we’re trying to change the wrong side of the driving equation? Why are we trying to make drivers better when we can just take them out of the equation?

                At what point do we decide to give up our free will in driving to provide a safer and more humane road society? At what point does it become morally deplorable to put everyone at risk just because you’d rather drive than choose a safer option?


  1. http://www.textinganddrivingsafety.com/texting-and-driving-stats/

    Here's the link to the infographic...

  2. http://www.textinganddrivingsafety.com/texting-and-driving-stats/

    Here's the link to the infographic...

  3. Like you, I worry about the creeping Wall-ee specter. But on the other hand, using cruise control doesn't necessarily compromise my free will. Is this a slippery slope argument/fallacy, potentially? Isn't it a line of thought which, carried to its logical conclusion, might shut down technological innovation entirely? And wouldn't that be bad?

  4. This makes me think of the movie with Will Smith, I, Robot. They gave most all of their freedoms for a "better" life. Many times I wonder if we will step too far into technologies as well, and surrender too much of our lives. In many ways I believe we are already beginning to do so in the realm of communication. This idea of a driverless car worries me. It may be "safer" but I wonder what unintended consequences may come about with this.