It’s certainly not uncommon to hear about extreme new technologies that are coming down the pipeline. Things like hover boards, virtual reality gaming, jet packs, etc.
But these technologies always seem to be “a few years away,” no matter what year it is, and almost to the point where we develop an attitude where we’ll believe it when we actually see it.
Up until about a week ago, self-driving cars could have easily made that list. There’s been plenty of reports of them being tested — including one by Tesla that resulted in a man’s death — but even then, we heard about it and said, “Eh, we’ll see it by 2020, if even.”
However, we forget that not only is technology advancing with each passing year, but the rate at which we improve technology is also increasing by the year.
Self-driving cars aren’t the future. They’re the freaking present.
Whether you like it or not, Uber is releasing a fleet of self-driving cars that will hit the road in Pittsburgh any day now. Their guinea pigs will be actual passengers.
This is happening. It’s not hypothetical. It’s not hopeful. It’s real.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have officially reached the future. Go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self that he or she would see a self-driving car in their lifetime, and see how they’d react. Heck in 10 years when they invent the time machine, we might be able to. From now on, I am no longer doubting science.
People will inevitably have mixed emotions about self-driving cars.
Despite all of the sensors, cameras, radar, lasers and GPS receivers, how can one feel safe leaving their life in the hands of a computer? It just goes against all basic laws of human survival.
But then I thought more about it. Computers don’t text and drive. They don’t drive drunk. And the things that would endanger an automated driver — humans running in the street; a car stopping short in front of you; a giant pothole — would pose as much of a risk to human drivers as well.
It’s just the unnaturalness of the whole thing that irks me. And it’s pretty astounding that it’s going full speed ahead with human trials when there’s still so much that could go wrong.
Although, this go-around will feature human monitors in the driver’s seat just in case something does goes awry. So that, well, kind of takes away the whole mystique of the self-driving element.
Pittsburgh also has zero laws or regulations on the books regarding self-driving cars or what would happen in the event of an accident, but, screw it. YOLO, right?
The point is that we no longer need to read or watch science-fiction to imagine an advanced technological world.
We’re living it.
Heck, how do you know that you aren’t reading a self-writing blog?
You’re not. I promise. I’m real.
OR AM I?