Monday, May 19, 2014

Big Brother likes the self-driving car.

European governments really, really like the idea of a self-driving car.

Cars could be driving themselves down the world's streets far sooner than expected, thanks to a change in a global treaty backed by European countries.

A little-noticed amendment to the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic agreed last month would let drivers take their hands off the wheel of self-driving cars. It was pushed by Germany, Italy and France, whose high-end carmakers believe they are ready to zoom past American tech pioneers and bring the first "autonomous vehicles" to market.

While I find the idea of a robot able to safely drive a car to be very cool, I find the amount of official interest in this idea to be extremely alarming.

Here's why. As with seat-belts and airbags, these autonomous robotic vehicles will first be options on the toys of the very  rich. Then they will be options on normal cars as the price comes down. Eventually they will be standard equipment. Finally, they will be legislated as "safety equipment" and mandatory on -all- cars. Obviously they will be centrally controlled, as a "safety feature" and to "prevent crime".

At that point, your car isn't yours anymore, its a public transportation vehicle controlled by the state, they just make you pay for it. Like a private train carriage, it only goes where the tracks go. Just that the tracks are invisible and easy to change.

It only drives where and when you want it to as long as government officials don't decide otherwise. If they want to keep the center of town clear for some reason, you'll be walking ten miles to the center of town.

If some Greenie gets into power and decides to ration CO2, your car will only operate on alternate days. Or not at all.

If the Church Lady gets into power (it could happen) your car will only drive you to church on Sunday and nowhere else. It will also tell on you if you don't go.

Because centralized control.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

The Phantom

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