Saturday, December 21, 2019

Another stupid "smart" person tries to sell me a self-driving car.

Yet another Big Corporate dude explains why we are all stupid, and why we need to listen to him. Dan Amman, CEO of Cruise the self-driving-car division of General Motors:

Imagine if someone invented a new transportation system and said, "I've designed a new way of getting around: It's powered by fossil fuels that will pollute our air. It will congest our cities to the point of inciting rage in its users. Its human operators will be fallible, killing 40,000 Americans — and more than a million people around the world — every year. Most of the time, the equipment will sit unused, occupying prime real estate and driving up housing costs. If you're young, old, or living with a disability, then you can't use it. And for those who can, the privilege will cost $9,000 a year and suck up two years of your life."

You'd say, "You're crazy." And yet, here we are, living in a state of cognitive dissonance with exactly this — the human-driven, gasoline-powered, single-occupant car — as our primary mode of transportation.

Well Dan, imagine that somebody invented a machine that would take you from where you are to where you want to go, protect you on the trip, and look cool doing it. And everybody loved it, and everybody bought one. For 100 years, everybody bought one. Then some smooth-talking corporate dude came along and said "You people are all IDIOTS! You need to give up the effective cheap and cool transportation machines, because mumblemumble!" I imagine Mr. Smooth gets told to fuck off, is what.

And Dan my dude, about that "sitting unused" thing. What happens to any ride-sharing situation like buses, trains, taxis, Ubers, robot car hailing thing, when EVERYBODY NEEDS A RIDE at the same time? Hmm? You know, like at rush hour. Or in an emergency like fire, flood, earthquake, riots. You either come up short as public transit inevitably does, or you build in excess capacity and have units "sitting unused" most of the time.

Never fails to amaze me how guys like this think they can make up any old shite and the rest of us will go along like good little peasants.

The Phantom


Joe in PNG said...

And cars, trucks, and motorcycles are just fun.

The Phantom said...

Don't say that where they can hear you, Joe. We're not allowed to have fun.

Zsuzsa said...

Not sure I quite get how cars are responsible for driving up housing costs. If anything, I would think it would be the opposite: if there were no cars, housing along public transportation routes would be prohibitively expensive while property elsewhere would be worthless for housing because there would be no way to get anywhere from them. The existence of the car allows us to make more efficient use of the land, allowing people to trade off between commute time, house size, and local population density depending on their preferences.

Orvan Taurus said...

Consider what the motor vehicle replaced. You don't need to tend to the machine nearly as much. You don't have feed and water it at least a couple time a day. You don't (if allowed self-feeding) to catch the thing. You CAN let it sit, for days at a time without ill effect. With minor preparation, it can sit for months (Store a convertible for Winter? And have it start right up in the Spring? Seen it). And the exhaust is a lot easier to deal with. There were articles, once upon a time, about how if big cities kept getting bigger, they'd end up buried in manure.

A book (available on Gutenberg, I think) The Gasoline Automobile (1919) goes into detail about why, despite its various problems, the gasoline engine won over steam, electric. etc. Short answer: energy density.

The Phantom said...

"There were articles, once upon a time, about how if big cities kept getting bigger, they'd end up buried in manure."

This is an excellent point.

Hipsters don't understand how much poo a horse makes. Most of them barely understand that you have to feed them. They also think electricity comes from a plug in the wall.

I have a cousin who owns two horses, a donkey, and a couple of goats. He bought a compact tractor with a loader and a scraper blade specifically to manage the manure. Shoveling by hand is no fun.