Cars That Drive People | HumorOutcasts

Cars That Drive People

December 31, 2013
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  Lately, the news has been full of stories about “automatic cars.” Supposedly, these are the cars of the not so distant future. Basically, they will be able to drive themselves, freeing us humans to do other things. On the way to work, car owners will be able to make phone calls, go over the presentations that they are going to give that afternoon, send emails, or even take a nap. Actually, it doesn’t sound all that different from the way some people drive today.

To me, the most amazing thing about these cars is that the predicted release date for them is not that far away. “Forbes” predicts that these cars will go on sale by the end of this decade. In other words, if you order one of these cars now, it will probably show up at your house before the cable guy  you called this morning.
 
“Do we really need more technology and less human involvement?” Apparently, car manufactures would say, “Yes.” The way these vehicles work is that you program the computer in the car to go where you want it to go and when. If you go shopping at a busy time, you could have your car drop you off at the store’s front door and then go find a parking space by itself. When you’re finished shopping, the car will pick you up in front of the store. 
 
The automatic or “autonomous” car will also have some of the other new gadgets and technologies that are due soon. Volvo says that it wants to have a fleet of cars by 2020 that are impossible to crash. Some cars already beep or stop when there is an obstacle in the way. The autonomous car of the future with “anti-crash technology,” will not just react to emergency situations, it will predict them.
 
Automatic or “driverless” technology will get rid of road rage – unless the cars will be programmed to flip off other cars. (Memo to car manufacturers: the cars flipping each other off was my idea). Soon after they are on the road, it can’t be that far off when cars will make up their own “minds” about things. I know a little bit about Artificial Intelligence. I actually stayed awake during parts of the movie, “Her.” So I won’t be surprised if someday soon, an automatic car decides to play pranks on its owner, like switching garages with another car. On a hot, romantic summer night, one of these cars is bound to sneak off with another car down to the charging station to get a few extra jolts of electricity. They’ll probably stay out till all hours of the night, and won’t even call their owners to tell them that they’re okay.
 
There will be no reason to have minimum ages for drivers. If the car can drive just as safely regardless of who is in it, why couldn’t kids “drive” them, too? Preschoolers wouldn’t need parents to drive the car pools. They could do it themselves. Think of how much time that would free up for parents. What a great idea, right? Well, I know it would probably be just as safe, but there’s something weird about people being allowed to drive a car before they can spell “car.”
 
Those who are excited about these vehicles point out how much safer the driving experience would be. After all, they will have eliminated the “human factor.” They will be guided by computers who don’t get tired, angry, or drunk. These new vehicles will be commanded by algorithms rather than emotional beings. What could possibly go wrong? It’s a computer.

Lloyd Garver

I was fortunate to be involved in one of the Golden Ages of Television comedy. I wrote and produced television shows ranging from "Sesame Street" to "The Bob Newhart Show" to "Family Ties" to Home improvement" to "Frasier." (I've also read many books, some of them in hardcover). I grew up in Chicago, went to college at the University of California at Berkeley, and got my Masters at Northwestern. Then I followed my dream to become a serious writer… by driving to Hollywood and getting a job writing questions and "ad lib" jokes for the game show, "Hollywood Squares."I wrote spec scripts in my spare time while I was toiling away at "Hollywood Squares," and after a few years sold my first to a show called, "Love, American Style." After that, I was lucky enough to continue to write for many comedies for the next 30 years or so. However, I always had an interest in writing essays and columns. An early "My Turn" column for "Newsweek" about the evils of Nintendo resulted in my being a guest on "Oprah." I assume that she will support me if I ever run for President.I have been a weekly humor and opinion columnist since 2001. I have written columns for "The Kansas City Kansan," "The Denver Post," "The Santa Monica Daily Press," "The San Francisco Examiner," Crawford Texas' "The Lone Star Iconoclast," and the "The Jewish Journal." My column has also run on line on CBSnews.com and I wrote a sports column for SportsLine.com. It has also been syndicated to hundreds of papers and sites. I was also recently honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for a column I wrote about the NCAA final four tournament. In this age of suspicion, I feel compelled to give you a guarantee about me. I swear that I have never written a column or a script while on steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs. All right, once I took a swig of some Human Growth Hormone, but it gave me gas.

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4 Responses to Cars That Drive People

  1. January 1, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Impossible to crash, huh?

    Clearly they’ve underestimated the power of human stupidity.

    • Sherry Yanow
      January 2, 2014 at 6:12 am

      This article is a great read to start the New Year!

      (Can’t wait to see these cars in operation during rush-hour gridlock.)

  2. December 31, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Communication technology may soon virtually obsolete transportation technology — if you can be where you want “virtually”, why do you need to actually go there? I know…spoken like a true engineer (which I am).
    I am also well aware of how overly optimistic we can be about machines taking over for humans.

  3. December 31, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Great article. Grins all around. Thanks for posting, Donna. Happy New Year!



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