[ExI] self driving cars

Mike Dougherty msd001 at gmail.com
Thu May 17 01:26:38 UTC 2012

I think spike was suggesting the speeds go down for engineering
reasons (mostly fuel economy)

The timeshare notion also means we need fewer cars.  However, with our
stupid schedules of "rush hour" we still need too many cars to cover
these needless peak-demand times.  If those of us who work remotely
from the cube-farms our employers provide would simply stay home, it'd
help alleviate some of that demand.  Staggered-start of the work day
to reduce "rush hour" would also provide a smoother distribution of

Another important side effect of on-demand cars showing up when
required is that we de-invest our identity from them.  I'm not going
to leave 'my stuff' in the car when anyone else might be using it next
or (more likely) that I may not see that particular vehicle again for
weeks.  Assuming these vehicles keep themselves clean (within
tolerances agreed-upon by service provider and consumer) there is also
less concern for how stylish the vehicle is; for it is no longer a
status object to be owned or compared to others'.

During the transition, human drivers will absolutely be more
aggressive.  Perhaps more accurately less careful because the rest of
the traffic would constantly compensate for their failure.  We already
see this in high-price Cadillacs and Lincolns: the car watches you for
signs of falling asleep or backing over your children or other forms
of neglectful driving.  At the point where cars are driving
themselves, the option of taking control will likely become a per-use
upcharge in insurance, traffic prioritization, and risk assessment.
Ultimately it'll be the same pointless tradeoff as now between
becoming irritated by the other cars and arriving 4 minutes sooner
than maintaining an economical (and less stressful) ideal speed.  You
might have the option to drive your car, but you won't want to do that
any more than you'd like to take out the trash or do the laundry once
our machines have taken-over those tasks too.

I think the real punditry comes in trying to figure out what we'll be
doing with all the "free time" we'll have when we aren't serving the
minutiae of the daily grind.  I hope that picture isn't one of a
feed-lot where consumers are bought/raised/sold by mega-corps... but I
keep seeing that as a strong possibility.  Oh I believe most of the
readers of this list are the exceptional minority who will escape that
fate - but what of the 'average' prole?

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