Asleep At The Wheel . . .

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If you dislike driving – or just aren’t very good at it – you may like the idea of the autonomous car.domo pic

In it, you become a passenger – as involved in the process of getting to your destination as the occupant of seat 23B on the Airbus to LA. Feel free to take a nap. We’ll wake you when we get there.

I’m not a big fan myself – because I’m one of those retro weirdos who likes to do things for myself. But I concede the point about taking driver error out of the equation – by taking the driver out of the equation. People are inept, incompetent, reckless and lazy. They get fatigued – and angry. Their judgment is frequently flawed. They are easily distracted.

Computers are more reliable, more consistent – and devoid of emotion. They never get tired or distracted. Much less mad. Thus, they are “safer.” Let them be in charge.

This is the main argument presented in favor of autonomous cars.

Fine.

But what about the partially autonomous car? The one that takes over for the driver sometimes – but not all the time?

Many new cars are like this. The 2014 Acura MDX, for instance.

One of the features it offers is part-time, hands-free steering –  or “agile steering assist,” as it’s styled. You’re obviously not supposed to ever take your hands off the wheel. Acura warns explicitly and vociferously against this – no doubt having been so advised by counsel.

But this system will almost certainly tempt people to do exactly that – whether to show off the system’s capability to friends or “just for a second” while they do something else with their hands. Cue Bob Dooooooole: You know it, I know it – the American people know it.

Acura probably knows it, too.

Push a button on the steering wheel and sensors come to life, scanning the road ahead, using the painted lines to your left and right as reference points. Mr. Roboto adjusts the steering to keep the vehicle in its lane and on track with little or no input from you.

No need to say domo arigato, either.

It’s amazing technology. Science fiction stuff, from my Gen X standpoint.

But it’s far from foolproof.

I suspect the fools will prove this to be the case.old coot pic

If the painted lines are old and not so bright – or not there at all – the MDX will still wander off the road like an ’86 Buick with an addled glaucomic Grandpa behind the wheel.

If, that is, the driver doesn’t intervene in time.

And timely, successful intervention is a function of . . .  paying attention.

Enter the Catch-22:

These systems – intended to make driving safer by having technology assume ever-greater responsibility for actually driving the car – may make it more dangerous out there by at least indirectly encouraging people to be less and less attentive to their driving. domo 2

After all, they’re counting on the car to pay attention for them. To steer – as in the case of this Acura. Or, to brake automatically – as in the case of several new cars that have the capability to do that.

Swimming remora-like alongside the rapid proliferation of cars that (sometimes) steer/stop/park themselves will be a correlative decrease in both the ability of  the average driver to competently perform these tasks – as well as the inclination to perform them. With regard to the latter item, it’s implicit in the sales pitch: Buy this car and you won’t have to drive as much. You’ll be more at liberty to do other things. It appeals to one of humanity’s oldest vices – sloth.

And the net effect will be of a piece with what has transpired since the widespread adoption of anti-lock brakes about 20 years ago: Tailgating/following too closely are worse problems today because people have unlearned their fear of the wheels locking up and their cars skidding into the car ahead of them. They drive faster when – in pre-ABS times – they’d have known to slow down. As in the rain.

Brakes are better – but drivers are worse.

There are other examples.sail fawn pic

People – in general – can’t deal with snow any better today than they could 30 years ago, in spite of the near-ubiquity of electronic traction control (and the proliferation of all-wheel-drive). Arguably, they’re less able to deal with it.

Axiom: The more people rely on technology to get them out of trouble, the less respect they have for potential trouble. And the more likely it is that they’ll get into trouble – and then, have no clue how to deal with it.

I think it ought to be all – or nothing. Either take the driver entirely out of the equation – or expect him to drive the damned car. Skillfully, attentively – responsibly. A computer cannot be held accountable if a car wanders across traffic – or fails to stop in time – and someone gets killed or maimed for life.

A driver ought to be.

Throw it in the Woods?

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107 COMMENTS

  1. Saw a newspaper article today. Think it was the chicago tribune but I can’t find the article online.

    Basically the claybrookians want seatbelt interlocks again and this new thing called the DADDS system that prevents the car from working if it senses alcohol. Oh and automation… they are in favor for that too.

    This article seems to be a shorter version of it:
    http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-auto-safety-20131129,0,2620405.story#axzz2mxKNzWeU

    Also found this:
    http://www.autonews.com/article/20131114/OEM11/311149917#axzz2mxLHI2mx

    In other news, I went to recycle an old computer today… old mac with the monitor built in. So I parked in the clover zone with my mazda. When I got home I found the passenger side corner of the rear bumper with a fresh impact paint missing, and the the fastener that I struggled to fix when I welded in new sheet metal where it attaches popped out. So I got to fix that in the snow. Now I have to paint it some how or live with the big areas of black plastic showing all winter.

  2. A fully automatic car is not possible as it would directly interfere with local and state governments funding. If the *car* is at fault who to issue the ticket too? Acura? The software maker who made the car control program? Without any personal responsibility the state loses someone to blame and thus someone to fine. Even if it made every car safer they would never allow it without some guarantee of how those fees they rely on would be replaced. Also the police like and enjoy pulling over people and acting the vicious power hungry corrupt officer. It is a heady feeling to make the mundane grovel before you, his life in your hands with both of you knowing full well he could simply murder you and his only “punishment” would be a few weeks off with pay. I’m surprised most cops don’t shoot more people at random simply to get some extra days off work.

    But if the car is doing the work what fun is that for our clover minded individual? Is he going to make computer software cower before him? What fun is that?

    • Hi Remo,

      I’d like to think so, but here’s why I disagree:

      The prospect of total control is what’s driving them to replace the driver. We would no longer be able to decide when/where and how we go from A to B – or even if we get to go from A to B. The government would be in the driver’s seat. Imagine the masturbatory frenzy this incites in the cold holes of people such as Joan Claybrook (and Hillary Clinton).

      And revenue? They’d simply replace tickets with usage fees.

      If you think about it, this method would be far more efficient in terms of revenue collection. I only get nabbed in a radar trap or some such once every five years or so (thanks to my V1). But imagine if they could dun me for every mile I “drive” in an automated car….

      That’s the future, unfortunately.

  3. Fascinating? Sure. Technologically brilliant? No; IMO Honda’ implementation is seriously lacking if it allowed the car to wander half way into the opposing lane with without raising bloody hell alert the driver.

    • Hi Uwe,

      The system does warn you if the car cannot hold the line. There is an audible tone as well as visual warning in the main gauge cluster.

      To be very clear: This system is meant to assist the driver – not take over driving (not yet).

      • It would be nice if you would elaborate on this. There’s a difference between not being able to hold the line and not knowing where the line is. In either case, the car the warning should be anything but subtle and I didn’t see that in your video.

        • Sure thing!

          Basically, here’s how it works:

          Engage the system by depressing button on the steering wheel.

          System uses painted lines as reference points/guides to keep car in its lane.

          If the curve is too sharp and the system can’t keep the car from swinging wide (and so on), you’ll get an audible tone and a visual warning in the center cluster that lets you know this.

          Keep in mind: Acura does not tout this as a “hands free” system. You’re never supposed to take your hands off the wheel. It’s marketed as steering assist.

          • @Eric – A Starbucks with pastry button. How thoughtful.

            Women buyers will kill for it during “hair and makeup time” on the way to work in the morning.

  4. For some reason, the reply button isn’t working on Jacob’s last post (nor is it on mine), so I’m replying here:

    Yes, Jacob, Molyneaux is a pacifist in the sense that he understands that “violence be begets violence,” which is certainly true among the world’s warring states, since INITIATED violence — i.e., aggression — is their source and sustenance.

    As for Molyneaux, what he would do if, say, an intruder threatened him and his family, I don’t know. Maybe you do, but in any case, if you can’t bring yourself to watch the video I linked, here’s another one on the same on the same subject. (Yes, it’s a sales pitch, but it’s a very good one, in my opinion, and the salesman has had a stellar career as in Silicon Valley):

    http://pro.moneymappress.com/NVXBITCOIN49/MNVXPC05/?a=13&o=11399&s=11591&u=2781810&l=53456&r=MC&g=0&h=true

    That said, I’ll sign off, as I’m not trying to highjack this thread and apologize to Eric for whatever extent I’ve done so.

    • These front page comments suck because after a certain number of replies the “reply” button disappears. Also, I don’t think anyone here really minds your viewpoint on this subject (I disagree with it but that’s life), it’s pretty common here to veer off topic but so far you’ve stayed completely on topic. By all means please keep trying to convince me that computer overlords will be better than human overlords…. Now comes my “bumper sticker” style quote of “Overlords of any kind can go fuck themselves. Digitally or organically”.

      Now you can picture me crossing my arms, scowling, and saying “hmph!”.

    • “That said, I’ll sign off, as I’m not trying to highjack this thread and apologize to Eric for whatever extent I’ve done so.”

      Wandering off topic is how we roll here. Don’t wander off yourself. Stick around and chip in. You didn’t hijack anything, you just threw something else into the mix. No harm there.

    • I think most of us support bitcoin, or don’t have a problem with it. It was created by Satoshi Nakamoto an anonymous individual or individuals. Not a crony prole stomping corporation.

      Who’s going to cry about bankers, financial service people, losing 10-15% mostly dead weight on our economy. Why not just use LoanBot? Who wants to go to the bank anymore?

      Self-driving cars, on the other hand are top down. Most likely they’ll be forced on some of us in some manner by the oligarchs. For many working with tools and cars is an honorable and enjoyable past time.

      A self-flying personal rocket to get us off this planet. A self-assembling exoplanetary space prepper bunker as well. Now we’re cooking.

      “The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free”

      “If you hear a “prominent” economist using the word ‘equilibrium,’ or ‘normal distribution,’ do not argue with him; just ignore him, or try to put a rat down his shirt.”

      “When you develop your opinions on the basis of weak evidence, you will have difficulty interpreting subsequent information that contradicts these opinions, even if this new information is obviously more accurate.”

      “Missing a train is only painful if you run after it! Likewise, not matching the idea of success others expect from you is only painful if that’s what you are seeking.”

      “The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.”

      “Remember that you are a Black Swan.”

      “Heroes are heroes because they are heroic in behavior, not because they won or lost.”

      “What I learned on my own I still remember”

      “The best way to measure the loss of intellectual sophistication – this “nerdification,” to put it bluntly – is in the growing disappearance of sarcasm, as mechanic minds take insults a bit too literally.”

      “People focus on role models; it is more effective to find antimodels – people you don’t want to resemble when you grow up”

      “A prophet is not someone with special visions, just someone blind to most of what others see”

      “The inability to predict outliers implies the inability to predict the course of history”

      “When you beat up someone physically, you get exercise and stress relief; when you assault him verbally on the Internet, you just harm yourself.”

      “Probability and expectation are not the same. Its probability and probability times the pay off.”

      “They think that intelligence is about noticing things are relevant (detecting patterns); in a complex world, intelligence consists in ignoring things that are irrelevant (avoiding false patterns)”

      “True humility is when you can surprise yourself more than others; the rest is either shyness or good marketing”

      “Never ask the doctor what you should do. Ask him what he would do if he were in your place. You would be surprised at the difference when using this heuristic”

      “If there is something in nature you don’t understand, odds are it makes sense in a deeper way that is beyond your understanding. So there is a logic to natural things that is much superior to our own. Just as there is a dichotomy in law: ‘innocent until proven guilty’ as opposed to ‘guilty until proven innocent’, let me express my rule as follows: what Nature does is rigorous until proven otherwise; what humans and science do is flawed until proven otherwise.”

      “The imagination of the genius vastly surpasses his intellect; the intellect of the academic vastly surpasses his imagination”

      “Few understand that procrastination is our natural defense, letting things take care of themselves and exercise their antifragility; it results from some ecological or naturalistic wisdom, and is not always bad — at an existential level, it is my body rebelling against its entrapment. It is my soul fighting the Procrustean bed of modernity.”

      “Probability is not a mere computation of odds on the dice or more complicated variants; it is the acceptance of the lack of certainty in our knowledge and the development of methods for dealing with our ignorance.”

      “It is my great hope someday, to see science and decision makers rediscover what the ancients have always known. Namely that our highest currency is respect.”

      “Reality is far more vicious than Russian roulette. First, it delivers the fatal bullet rather infrequently, like a revolver that would have hundreds, even thousands of chambers instead of six. After a few dozen tries, one forgets about the existence of a bullet, under a numbing false sense of security. Second, unlike a well-defined precise game like Russian roulette, where the risks are visible to anyone capable of multiplying and dividing by six, one does not observe the barrel of reality. One is capable of unwittingly playing Russian roulette – and calling it by some alternative “low risk” game.”

      “Modernity: we created youth without heroism, age without wisdom, and life without grandeur”

      “The rationalist imagines an imbecile-free society; the empiricist and imbecile-proof one, or even better, a rationalist-proof one.”

      “The cause of the greatest hindrance to the development of children is the soccer mom. They repress children’s natural biophilia, their love of living things. Soccer moms try to eliminate the trial and error, the antifragility, from children’s lives, move them away from the ecological and transform them into nerds working on preexisting (soccer-mom-compatible) maps of reality.

      Good students, but nerds–that is, they are like computers except slower. Further, they are now totally untrained to handle ambiguity. As a child of civil war, I disbelieve in structured learning.

      Provided we have the right type of rigor, we need randomness, mess, adventures, uncertainty, self-discovery, near-traumatic episodes, all those things that make life worth living, compared to the structured, fake, and ineffective life of an empty-suit CEO with a preset schedule and an alarm clock.”

      – Nassim Taleb

      • Like people paying huge sums for stock of companies that were a server in a closet, I can’t understand paying huge sums for bitcoins. Bitcoin, if it doesn’t fail will become a central controller’s dream. Every transaction tracked. Sure some electronic wallets are anonymous until the bit coins are converted but a small tweak and that’s gone. Same with its creation.

        Bitcoin taking hold will be our worst nightmare, not our liberation when the bankers and state end up owning it.

        • Dear Brent,

          ” I can’t understand paying huge sums for bitcoins. ”

          Me neither. Hell, I can’t even understand paying tiny sums for bitcoins!

          I understand the desire to do an end run around The Government. But that doesn’t automatically make Bitcoin a good thing.

          I don’t see why so many anacaps who have studied Austrian economics have fallen for the Bitcoin schtick. I wouldn’t go so far as to call Bitcoins a scam.

          But on the other hand, they are not real money. Traditional hard money/non-fiat paper money is redeemable for a specified amount of valuable material, gold, silver, whatever. That is what makes it secure. The stuff you can redeem it for is consistently valuable.

          Bitcoins are merely digital IOUs, redeemable for… nothing! I would never buy any Bitcoins, on principle, for just that reason.

          • Fiat currency is pretty bad. Don’t forget how easily they can confiscate it for all manner of spurious reasons. And the inflation and devaluation.

            They shut down the online bitcoin silk road market and seized Bitcoins. Yet the Feds are powerless to get value from their stolen loot.

            That is an amazing development. Why wouldn’t Japan, S. Korea, Euro nations, and all the other lands under American Reconstruction run from their currencies?

            They are all too aware of the Vichy Regime nature of the Yen, Won, and Euro.

            Keeping your wealth in Bitcoin, at least gives the satisfaction of depriving the American Financial Vampires of your life’s blood.

            A similar story unfolds for Indians under Commonwealth subjugation. They have to pay tariffs and fees to convert their fiat rags into gold.

            http://www.indianexpress.com/news/govt-cuts-tariff-on-imported-gold-for-2nd-straight-day/1194985/

        • I don’t transact on the internet. Or use Bitcoin. I have one minor bank account with a Visa logo bankcard. I trust no one.

          I agree that many people are lionizing bitcoin using demagogued ideals. What’s needed is to learn the true reality of this open source programming platform as it evolves and struggles to continue to function as intended.

          A Florida man bought a $100,000 Tesla with Bitcoins this week.
          http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/06/autos/tesla-bitcoin/

          I like the idea of a battle between America and the other nations over digital currency. It exposes America for the Soviet monster it is. It is a battle they might very well lose.

          I would say the Commonwealth is dying to break free from America. If America loses the Bitcoin war, to a commonwealth nation of superior intellect, like say Singapore. That might mean a huge downshift of American power. And a loss of 2.3 billion former allies.

          Then America becomes the isolated Evil Empire Pariah. All that would remain would be to pry away the Latin and Pacific Island Suzerains one by one.

          You’ll have to pry my occupied lands from my cold dead hands, says Uncle Sam. We accept the challenge, says an emboldened world.

          Breaking America’s stranglehold on finance is worth paying a high price. I can even see Israel kicking America to the curb, when they see they can transact freely without American systems.

          Bitcoin has a diverse group of holders, who will fight tooth and nail to sustain it. They may very well supply a long solid spike that can be driven deep into the Coffin of the American Empire.

          • @Tor – Watch this NWO feathered chief for your path to the world currency. Soon, 6 – 24 months, when the USD will take the slide and be devalued 30 to 50% along with others. Since The 1600’s the bankers always win.

            Christine Lagarde :
            Lagarde was the first woman to become finance minister of a G8 economy, and is the first woman to head the IMF.

  5. Damned new-fangled contraptions! This new iPad is kinda touchy…
    Anyway, I’m glad I won’t live to see these robot drivers. If someone doesn’t want to drive their car like a normal human, let ’em walk or take the train. We’re still selling refurbished cars from the 60s, 70s, 80s, etc. as fast as we can rebuild ’em. Looks like there are some folks out there who still want participate in actually operating their own transportation. May have to start putting crash bars and roll ages on ’em to protect against robot driven morons….

    Uncle Bill

  6. First of all, I have to say, Eric, that I find the scrolling right margin on your website VERY annoying. For me, then, it has the opposite effect of the intended one, i.e., to draw my intention TO the right margin rather than AWAY from it.

    That said, your thoughts on this particular subject, as well as most of the comments, strike me as linear in the extreme. Not that I don’t have anything but contempt for the Surveillance State — and the state itself — but nothing happens in a vacuum, and the technological advance stands to make the automobile truly automatic (solving the drunk driving problem in the process) also stands to put an end to the state as we know it.

    So rejoice in it, and enjoy the ride:

    • You’re dreaming too big man. Saying “if everyone drove an automated car we could eliminate the state” is like saying “if everyone drove a hybrid fuel vehicle gas prices would go down”. The state WILL NOT ALLOW ITSELF TO REDUCE IN SIZE. Not to mention the next step after automated cars will be automated (robotic) law enforcers. “They” already have fully armed drones that “fly themselves”… just wait until robocop starts enforcing all the laws of the state…and robocop will know every single law and every single way “we” break them because it’s a fucking emotionless computer.

      I’m sorry I don’t share your optimism about this. Please prove me wrong so I can live in blissful ignorance again.

      • Jacob, big shitty going on in Ft. Worth about robotic law enforcement, i.e. red light cams. Their rep there said there would be no more after a referendum and now is the very person who helped get them put into place. Of course it’s big biz for the towns and police chiefs and commissioners love them since for what is mostly a single fee to set them up just keeps on giving and giving and giving… Countless people have received tickets for vehicles they didn’t know existed. Boy, it don’t get any better than that for the govt. thieves. Too many people paid those fines rather than lose the money to fight them so now they’re expanding left and right. Yeeeeee haaawwwww!

      • You obviously didn’t watch the video I linked. The self-driving car is just a piece of a much larger, vastly more exciting puzzle.

        And by the way, for those who expect to keep doing their own driving, enjoy it while it lasts, as the time is coming when doing your own driving will mean much higher insurance premiums — if insurance companies allow it at all — simply because human drivers will be far more accident prone than computer-driven vehicles.

        In fact, I can imagine the day when cars won’t even be designed for human driving. Instead, they’ll simply be passenger cars that you’ll instruct where to take you, with more conversational, work-and-playable interiors. Limos for everyone, in other words, from economy to luxury.

        And no more truck drivers, either:

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/11/20/what-will-happen-to-truck-drivers-when-self-driving-vehicles-take-over/

        Until anything that moves — land, sea, or air — will be computer-driven.

        • Hi DG,

          “Exciting”? Perhaps for some.

          I regard it as bleak and repellent.

          Especially in re your point about insurance. Because of course it’s mandatory. They make you buy it – or else.

          Next, they’ll force us out of our non-autonomous cars – by imposing unaffordable insurance on people who don’t want (and don’t have any need for) autonomous cars.

          I like driving my own damn car (and motorcycles). I’m good at it. (No accidents in decades.)

          You want an autonomous car? Great! Go buy one. But if I don’t I should not be cornholed into buying one.

          That goes double (tap) for insurance, too.

          • I understand, Eric, but if you’d watched the video I linked in my initial post –

            – you’d understand how far from “bleak and repellent” the future stands to be. And whether the state will be powerful enough to compel people to do ANYTHING, assuming it exists AT ALL, means that you will have vastly more freedom to do what you want, mindful that insurance companies will be vastly more powerful insofar as they will provide market-based alternatives — better and cheaper ones — to many of the services now forced on us by the state. (Suggest you read this powerful work by the great Hans-Hermann Hoppe — http://mises.org/hoppeintro.asp — to find out how.)

            As to whether you’ll be able to get insurance to drive your own car (or whatever), I can’t say. Assuming computer-driven cars (or whatever) are as safe as I expect they’ll be, I’d say the odds are not in your favor. On the other hand, I also expect virtual reality to be sufficiently advanced in the coming years that you’ll be able to drive anything you want, and a whole lot more.

            All of this is happening before our eyes, after all, and for those of us who don’t have them wide shut, what we’re seeing “down the road” is a trip unlike any that humanity has ever taken before.

            So as I said in my initial post, “Enjoy the ride.”

            David

          • Oh god, I got about 5 seconds into that video. I HATE Stefan Molyneaux. So fucking annoying, so fucking conceited. That dude will get the living shit beaten out of his pacifist ass to someday, and when I find out about it I will be laughing my ass off.

            DGW you are very confusing. In one breath you claim to dislike the state, but you think it’s exciting that “our” world will someday be controlled by computers? Computers will be the new overlords, so no fucking thank you.

            In my “biography” on the forums here I joke that I’ll be the first president of the New World Order’s one world government after I merge my body with the “singularity” computer’s. That is a joke because I want nothing to do with computer overlords. Ever seen the remake of the show Battlestar Galactica? I think it made a great point in the end, and that point is “we” don’t need all this bullshit technology to be happy. Or at least I don’t. I also don’t need douchebags like Stefan Molyneaux telling me what I need to think.

          • Damn, jacob. He really gets under your skin, don’t he? ahaha

            He’s just another annoying egghead of the sort that some LRC readers find “just sooooo fascinating”. I can’t take his gay patter either, so I don’t listen to him. 😉

        • “And by the way, for those who expect to keep doing their own driving, enjoy it while it lasts, as the time is coming when doing your own driving will mean much higher insurance premiums — if insurance companies allow it at all — simply because human drivers will be far more accident prone than computer-driven vehicles.

          In fact, I can imagine the day when cars won’t even be designed for human driving. Instead, they’ll simply be passenger cars that you’ll instruct where to take you, with more conversational, work-and-playable interiors. Limos for everyone, in other words, from economy to luxury.

          And no more truck drivers, either:”

          God damn, son. You sound as though the prospect of all this just sends a tingle up your leg. Seek help before you snap and kill us all.

          • Ed – Maybe old DGW better take a look at the wonderful performance and safety record one of the first “self driving” aircraft. With it’s whiz-bang terrain following radar and super-duper avionics for its day, why it’s safety record speaks for itself (contrary to USAF propaganda) right here: http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/Aircraft_by_Type/F_111/F-111.htm I simply can’t wait until all multiple millions of cars are this a high tech (snicker).

          • Oh, shit. The Voodoo, known by fliers as a crew killer, but the Air Force PR weenies would only speak of how it could fly itself home and land with a dead crew.

            Well, I guess they didn’t mention that it flew home alone after ejecting the crew or killing both of them in some fashion.

            Good call, Boothe.

    • The state will have control of the machines that automate the system. The state will determine their programming.

      Remember Joan Claybrook and Ralph Nader?

      Automated roads are their dream come true. Everyone forced to do as they want them to.

      • BrentP, not only did you nail that one, you countersunk the fucker. DGW’s view of insurance companies being benign and acting in only accordance to the free market is a hoot in itself but to think that anything that uses the “state” byways won’t be mandated to the nth by power hungry bureaucrats is the ultimate wet dream.

        • Thanks. 🙂

          The state ends up destroying most of the companies that seek its protection. It’s ultimately a deal with the devil.

          Transit and passenger rail was I think the first big industry that government destroyed after a long partnership. Now it’s a government monopoly.

          Medical care and insurance will be next. Eventually they will probably consume the pharmaceutical industry too. Just like with transit government will set the prices, the services, and the requirements. Because it’s a political calculation the prices will be lower than the costs. The industry will collapse into a government monopoly just like transit and passenger rail.

          The exception of these deals is the big banks. They own the government apparently. And thus, if an industry seeks the protection of government they better have the bankers on their side, but the bankers are even a bigger devil to deal with. They generally will end up owning the business or gutting its corpse.

          • @BrentP – You hit it. The Feds will pull their vague and never defined “anti trust” and “restraint of trade” playbook out to destroy any competition, or business that doesn’t pay the vig. But they will never applying it to their friends and worshipful masters. Just look at the major crimes criminal we have called Obama’s Attorney General.

          • ‘Monopoly’ is right.
            I kept seeing that board-game as I was holiday shopping today.
            …How’s that game always end? No matter what version it is.

            BrentP seemed to describe it pretty well, here.

            It’s too bad that enough of us didn’t just get up and walk away from the game early on.

            As is often said, “It didn’t have to be like this”.

            But, “it is, what it is”.

            Followed by: “Now deal with it.”

            Yay. Fun-suckers all around.

            We’re surrounded by fun-suckers, zombies, and psychopaths.

            I better stop./ …and sit next to Jacob with my arms crossed while saying, “hmph”. and,…”The Bastards”.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09-GbpOd9T4

          • Have you seen this video (discussion) which goes in depth into what Tuco observed in the video above, and what BrentP described?

            It covers the distribution of power in the united state, how those in power undermine the social setup while ripping us all off, and falsely legitimize themselves to The People.

            “The whole thing began to be illuminated”

            A,k,a, ‘W.I.F.M.E.’ What’s in it for me (for them)?.
            A.k.a.. This is how america rolls:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0zDk6zjDgo&feature=player_embedded

            Oh mang, I could sooo see bits from this video being in some music video along the lines of, ‘The Cult of Personality’ … for those who do that sort of thing.

            This video is about, “The reality of power”.

            For instance, I recently learned the Bush family has its claws in a national network of funeral parlors?
            …Think about that.

            Yeesh, ‘America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution’

            http://spectator.org/articles/39326/americas-ruling-class-and-perils-revolution

    • The future is briiiiiite!

      Japanese Sex Robot Commercial
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6WUjsd-am0

      Soon we will all live in SmartHouses, controllable from city hall.

      Every day when your enter your house, your lights and electronics will all begin to wail and go into Perp Detention mode. Then you’ll hear that dreaded AOL Voice: “You’ve Got Jail.”

      You’ve violated a rule or protocol, and now you find your home converted into a BitPrison. No conjugal visits from your sex robot, until you pay your BitDebt to society!

      Just 12 hour days in your SweatShopMySpace printing out parts for your local health, safety, and security, bots.

      Mandatory Microsoft Kinect videoportals patrol every room. Why is your blood pressure so high, Dave, this is highly irregular. Your NSA scanning toilet has sent out 3 tweets today and recycled 2 kg of waste for your reuse today. Please eat more responsibly, citizen.

      Oh Yeaaaaaah!

      Best Japanese Commercials
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giGAEe3_Ft0

      • In leadership classes they teach that it is important for leaders to convey to people a vision of where they’d like to take them to.

        I do so hope the outline Tor presented isn’t the future vision of everyone and their leaders.
        That sure is a Twilight Zone scary, but possible, outcome, Tor.

        Are there many leaders who would promote this future?:

        “The solution lies in individual human action – in the individual himself gradually becoming educated about the nature of the world and how he can individually best support his family, his friends and his local community.

        The reality of federal politics is entirely removed from the individual reality; nothing good can [come] from Leviathan any more than from imperial Rome.

        We don’t wish to unfairly single out individuals [… who seem] legitimately concerned by what is taking place. But, truly, even the so-called best of the West’s public intellectuals cannot get the problem right.

        Conclusion:

        And thus, solutions in our Modern Age are inevitably individual ones.”

        http://thedailybell.com/news-analysis/34808/A-Danger-to-the-Constitution-Solutions-Must-Be-Individual/

        … And the beat goes on…

        • Leaders (at least self identified leaders) are assholes. The idea of leadership classes is comical to me. Why would anybody subject themselves to being trained to be an asshole?

          Politicians want us to think that they are our leaders, but they’re actually just the hired help. Without the means to bribe or threaten others, none of them could lead a troop of horny boy scouts into a whorehouse.

          If you aren’t blind, or an idiot, you don’t need a leader. That’s my take on it, but I leave it up to anyone else to follow whomever they like. 😉

          • Hi Ed,

            Leading by example (e.g., a father showing his son how to do something) can be a good thing. Leadership by coercion is always a bad thing.

            Once a threat is involved, the person making it is not a leader but an asshole.

  7. The technology for an autonomous car would be OK in a lawn tractor. Let’s have one of those that will mow my three acre clearing around the house, and up the sides of my 3/4 mile road from the blacktop to my house.

    I would sit on the deck with my coffee and cigar, not even watching it mow……aaaaahhh, ain’t this the life. Just feel that fuggin breeze.

  8. I want an anonymous car. Please write the article on how I can get one that’s really good and safe. Now I’m longing to have my first car back, a 67 Mustang.

    • DB, I want my old Malibu Sport back. That was a nice, quiet car(ok, the exhaust wasn’t quiet for long, but when it was, it was really quiet). Stick a new crate engine, a 6 speed and aftermarket a/c and cruise.

  9. Dan, if you can’t carry a long handle shovel in your pickup keep a folding shovel in the toolbox or under the seat and you can quickly move enough dirt into that pickup to nail the ass end down. Back before 4 WD was common we all carried a set of chains in our pickups. Of course it doesn’t really get cold in Tx. It was all of 12 degrees the last I looked with 3/4″ ice on the ground for the last couple days but it could be worse. A friend near Silverton had 3 degrees this morning. We both get to fight this cold to get water to the livestock today. Whoo boy, that’s gonna be fun. Wish I were on a trip. What’s that you say honey? Just do the best you can and remember all the livestock will be dead by tomorrow if they don’t get water today. Naw, she knows better. Days like this you put 7-800 lbs of range cubes in the bed of the pickup and feed half of it.

      • Ed, We’re in the Rolling Plains below the caprock. Gee, it’s up to 17 now, a heat wave. I worked for a big corp back in the 80’s. The day to order company cars came up in Feb. so everybody checks the rear window defroster. Main office in Chicago, clueless bunch there, calls and says No defrosters in cars for Tx, yall don’t need them. Somebody went outside, took a pic of the 16″ of snow you couldn’t even get around in and faxed it back with no reply. Cars later show up with rear defrosters.

          • Ed, think I -20, Sweetwater is 44 miles west of Abilene. I used to live and die by the Regional Buyers Guide, a wholesalers lifeline. I’d order a part. So, we don’t sell to jobbers. So where are you? I’d get them as close as I could. Trying to buy a 12 V circuit breaker one day and the guy asks who I want to buy it from. I said Well, yall. No, We have dealers all over so where are you close to? 300 miles from Dallas eh? 300 miles from Amarillo huh? 480 miles from Houston? 550 miles from EP? Then he says, and I’ll never forget it. Damn man, you’re 300 miles from ANYWHERE. Yep, that’s about it. Tell you what, I’ll just send this to you with a ticket. Ok, that’ll work.

          • Comanche’s? The whole of Texas was Comanche territory as was Ok., Ark. and the entire plains states. To this day people all over the world recognize Comanche’s as the ultimate horsemen and warriors. They’d cut the nostrils of their horses back so they could breath better. The stories of riding on the sides and bellies of their mounts was no exaggeration. They lived by being able to ride further and faster than anyone else. Read Empire of the Summer Moon, an historical account of Quannah Parker. It’s a great read, one you won’t want to put down. There’s a good reason why nearly all of Texas has no towns without Fort in their name that date back before 1880.

          • Yeah, I was trying to place you with Weatherstreet. It shows damn near the whole panhandle with Plainview being the closest weather reporting station.

            The Comanches and Kiowas always interested me, as did the Cheyenne. BTW, did you ever read “Powow Highway”?

            damn, I spent more time going back and inserting missing letters in this one than I spent writing it. My poor old keyboard clicks but doesn’t send the character. I expect it’s PTU. That’s sandlapper dialect for Plum Tore Up. Or more accurately it’s Plumb Wore Out, or as the old folks said Plum Give Out.

          • Ed, Never read Powow Highway but it sounds good and I’ll look it up. Plumb Give Out, now I can relate to that, had a bit of everything like that including me. Just checked barn temp, no reading so it must be down in the single digits. I’m sick of this. S wind supposed to blow tomorrow, hope the hell it does. I reckon I’ll try to get an Ultimate S next year….only silent. Run silent, run deep, the only way to fly around here.

    • Chains work as well in mud as the do in snow.

      my father was a park ranger , in the late 60s early 70s , the only 4wds they purchased were old surplus army jeeps.

      he was issued a new 2wd chevy in 72.

      he took two of the old concrete picnic table benches (remember them?)
      bolted em crossways , one in front and one behind the wheelwells in the bed.

      then hooked up an extra parking brake pedal and cable so he could apply the brakes to whichever wheel had no traction.

      that baby would go just about anywhere.

      • justin, that’s an ingenious method of limited slip. Too bad they couldn’t have sent the pickup with P-Trac. I can remember back then it was only a few dollars more since so few realized its value and demanded it. I bet those weights added life to the rear tires too. Curiosity wants to know where he mounted the second pedal if you remember.

  10. I don’t consider myself old at 52, but I guess I’m definitely old school. There’s no way I could ever trust a computer to handle the human interaction part of operating my vehicle. Right now, I’m on a trip and have my wife’s 2011 CR-V. It’s 4 wheel drive with traction control. I got caught in some severe winter driving conditions last week with it, and I still take the same precautions I would have with my old 2 wheel drive, lite in the ass, ’72 Chevy C10. In this case, file me under “can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

    • ” In this case, file me under “can’t teach an old dog new tricks.””

      That’s good, Dan. The new dogs don’t want to hear about old tricks. Honk at them as you pass them where they’re stuck in a ditch. 😉

      • Ed, remember Pearl Harbor ha ha. What a shame it is I have rescued too many people even older than me, now that’s a shame, and many much younger and I don’t have to rescue them but one time and they LEARN. I often come on people who are stuck out of sheer stupidity and ignorance of Not Being Stuck. Not long ago I came across a couple people my age in their new city slicker Ford diesel pickup, 2 WD, something you rarely see since a diesel sticks if you pee in the road. For some reason I didn’t have my long chain but had a 6-7 foot trace chain. I hook up to the guy, straighten his front tires and tell him “Don’t turn your wheel”. I dig some holes and nothing moves so I stop, go back, his front wheels are turned to lock. I straighten his front wheels and tell him “Don’t turn your wheel”. Dig more holes. I’m pissed at this point so I go back, and he’s got the wheel full lock. I turn it back once more(this time his wife is chewing his ass ha ha)”Don’t turn the wheel or I’m unhooking and leaving your ass here”. I pull and it comes out, I go around, get my chain loose(hey, he’s not doing a thing so I’m even more pissed), throw it in the bed and leave. I can see his wife chewing his ass and looking at me like “I don’t know this fool”. Well, babe, you’re stuck with him. Good luck on your moving to the “country”.

        • 8 maybe the dude had read that thing by Jeff Foxwirthy about guys with 4WDs who live for the chance to pull people out of the ditch. 😉

          • Ed, that fool hadn’t read anything. I’ve tore up too much pulling fools out. I drive by slow now and if they don’t run out in front of me I just go on by. I’m right there on charging a fee. Let’s see, $150 minimum for the wrecker, and I’ll do it for a Benjy. It ain’t like they can just call either, cell phone don’t always work around here.

          • Yeah, even charging a fee you’re still being neighborly. Got to keep yourself afloat or you ain’t no help to nobody. That’s my motto, or it would be if I had one.

          • You guys are making me feel bad for always doing it for free.

            (That whole, ‘what comes around goes around’ bit, has it’s place.)

            Besides, it’s fun. …Sometimes.
            And, it can be rewarding.
            The grateful smile of a pretty girl is hard to put a price tag on.

            Oh crap, did I just ‘out’ myself as a redneck?

            Ha!

            Problem is, rednecks around here’d call me an ‘effing intellectual.

            An intellectual redneck?
            Is there even such a term?

          • Ed, Roth, I wish I’d had a motto ha ha. Roth, I speak like the dumbest redneck you ever heard simply because I took so much shit from everybody for so long for the way I spoke. I’d say something and then everybody would say “What?”. Someone invariably would translate and that only made it worse. I still speak that way because it’s the way i speak but I don’t speak to many people anymore and when I do speak to someone like my renters I keep it in plain speak for them since they have a tendency to say ” I don’t got no idea”. Shit, me neither. What did you just say? You ain’t got no nuthin? I musta read too many books huh? I never said I wouldn’t pull somebody out for some pussy or a look like I might get some. Hell, I had a guy bring a 24 year old out to fish this summer and she stood and held my hand and looked into my eyes and smiled at me and did it for a while. Maybe it was because I liked her little boy and showed him how to fish or maybe she just liked me but whatever the case, she sure had me hooked ha ha. Dammit, I wonder where she is? Not but 40 years difference there…and I’d even shave for her…or tear hell out of my pickup.

          • Cool reply, Eightsouthman.

            …It’s like you’re human, or something.

            Takes my mind off the fact the intellectuals around me don’t accept me unless I’m pulling them out of a ditch or towing them to shore. And the rednecks here don’t clive to me unless I have a bottle of whiskey to share (or something) and I shut up about: chemtrails, the Power Elite, why they didn’t listen to me about gold when it was 450, and the soon to be (again) shrinking value of their Ticky Tacky houses.

            Most of them, anyway.

            The exceptions sure do make my day.

            Also, your story sure was fine.

    • @DanR – It lightly snowed up here in the Sierra’s last night (about 8 inches), and it has been hovering aroud 32 degrees all day. CalTrans has been throwing sand up and down the cleared highway into Yosemite Valley since last night. The CHP finally got tired of pulling tourists out of the curves all day and closed the road. Technology is no match for poor drivers in a hurry.

  11. Google Glass Court Case Shows Limits of Its Smarts
    Tom Simonite – MIT Technology Review
    Google’s wearable computer, Glass, made its first metaphorical court appearance Tuesday when Californian Cecilia Abadie pleaded not guilty to a traffic citation for speeding whilst wearing the spectacle-like device. The details of her plea are a reminder that despite its novel form, Google Glass is like other mobile devices in being awkward and demanding around humans. Abadie, described by USA Today as a “software developer and tech true believer”, was pulled over by a California Highway Patrol officer on a San Diego freeway in October. She was cited for both driving at 20 miles per hour over the speed limit and for driving with a video feed running in her vision. Abadie doesn’t deny wearing Google Glass at the time.
    http://www.technologyreview.com/view/522331/google-glass-court-case-shows-limits-of-its-smarts/

  12. New teenager sport – painting squiggly, intersecting, and extra diagonal white lines on the streets and highways. Then hide nearby and watch. Better then watching American Graffiti.

  13. Great article, Eric.

    When the computers “malfunction” and cause crashes to “random” people (like Michael Hastings), the sheeple will demand the programmers be lynched, and the power’s that be will happily do just that… and then once that programmer is lynched a whole new bureaucracy (a new alphabet government agency, yay!) will be set up to ensure that these “malfunctions” never happen again. Much to the appluase of the sheeple who will cling on to the “no more DUI’s if you have a fully automated car” notion.

    • Morning, Jacob!

      I’m kinda like a canary in the coal mine, because I get to drive the “latest” stuff before it becomes commonplace. I am telling you – and everyone – that there is a major push going on to automate cars. Every 2014 I’ve test driven so far that has GPS has the real-time updating speed limit warning I mentioned in an article a couple months back. It’s as though some silent agreement has been reached to fit every new car with this. Why? The answer seems obvious to me: So that it will feasible to implement real-time monitoring (and control) of cars. Every car that has this system “knows” what the speed limit is at any given time. It would be a simple matter of turning on some software parameters, probably, to limit the car’s speed accordingly. Or to record instances of “speeding” – and transmit said info to your friendly local authorities – and the insurance mafia.

      I am 100 percent certain this is The Future – and it’s coming, soon.

      And when it does arrive, the next step will be a ban on older cars that lack this technology (or a mandate that they be “updated”).

      Wait and see.

      I’ll kiss Clover on the mouth if I’m wrong (but no tongue).

      • @Eric- The younger ones will love their enslavement. They can bury their nose in the IPad and text all the way to and from their 8-5 coal mine / Taco Bell job. And be proud to share their location on trackmyass.com/ iniocracyatlarge.html Wait and see.

        But I’ll NOT kiss Clover on the mouth if I’m wrong (but no tongue).

      • CloverAgain Eric you are wrong. They would never mandate updated technology like that at least for another 20 years or more and not until almost all vehicles on the road would already have it. There is absolutely no case presidence for it. You also are not going to kiss me. They can easily make mandates on new vehicles but not on existing vehicles.

        Tell us Eric would it be a bad thing to have almost no accidents? Tell us Eric would it be a bad thing to have almost no traffic jams? Would it be a bad thing getting rid of all road rage? There would be no insurance mafia because with few accidents insurance costs would be a minor fraction what it is today. Oh, there is no insurance mafia today because most states have dozens of companies trying to beat each other on price. There is no monopoly/mafia on car insurance.

        • Who wants to count all the things the clovers told us “would never happen” that ended up happening?

          The funny thing is, when those things actually do happen the clover majority cheers them. “if you are not doing anything wrong”, “if you have nothing to hide”…. but before that anyone who said we were on that road was called “a paranoid tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist”. Because that sort of thing “can’t happen here”.

          That’s what I propose for the USA’s tombstone “It can’t happen here”.

        • @Clover said – “They can easily make mandates on new vehicles but not on existing vehicles.” How about a 15 to 20% ethanol mandate. That would do it.

          • Yep. “They” will outlaw older vehicles by using backdoor legislation like “ethanol mandates” or “gas mileage requirements” to keep the sheeple public unaware of the real agenda.

      • Dear Eric,

        “Or to record instances of “speeding” – and transmit said info to your friendly local authorities – and the insurance mafia.”

        Actually, you are being quite conservative in your “futurology.”

        Any widely accepted premise will eventually be expressed in its most extreme form.

        How about nominally “private vehicles” that LEOs can override the controls to at any time at their discretion? They can remotely lock the doors to it, then drive to the nearest police station? What is nominally your “private vehicle” will be reduced to a temporary holding cell under Big Brother’s control.

        Ideas have consequences.

        If the underlying premise is “Individuals must be controlled,” then any “failure to bring individuals under control” will lead to calls for ever-increasing control.

        Hell, the scenario I outlined is probably too conservative as well. Expect “Matrix” style modules into which we are all plugged, to be used as “human resources.”

        And to think this all started with “public roadways.”

  14. I am probably the only one who will say this, but I love the idea of an autonomous car. I want to sit in the back seat with my laptop and notebooks spread out and get some work done while the car takes me where I am going.

    That being said, I still want to have the capability of driving when I so desire. There are times (and places) when I actually would rather drive myself such as when I am out on the highway in no mans land and don’t have to limit my driving to comply with the rules, or when the weather conditions are such that I simply trust my own ability more than a computers.

    I completely agree that it should be all or nothing. Little is scarier, or more dangerous, than having a passenger (or a computer) with a hand on the wheel or a foot on the brakes interfering with the driver. I also have to agree that further semi-automation will only increase the general populations inability to operate a motor vehicle effectively and cause more of what they are trying to prevent in the long run.

    • The word, ‘taxi’ popped into my mind when I read this: Volos wrote, “to sit in the back seat with my laptop and notebooks spread out and get some work done while the car takes me where I am going. ”

      Not that it means anything.
      Well, it might to taxi drivers?
      Good-bye, taxi job?
      Hello, … taxi cab repair job?

      … If minimum wage laws (among many other regulations and tax laws) aren’t removed soon, there’s going to be some additional – and serious – unemployment problems down the road, methinks.

      • I live in a fairly rural area and do a lot of highway traveling for work. Also, there are few taxi’s even in town and all are prohibitively expensive. Besides, I prefer to be alone, even if the driver doesn’t talk much. On top of that, when I do decide I want to drive I cannot very well kick the taxi driver out of the cab.

        Getting rid of minimum wage laws might stave off huge unemployment problems for a while, but a lot of other changes will be required to make any meaningful difference. The way things are now a single young person in good health can hardly survive on minimum wage while working overtime.

        Of course, dropping those laws would allow more teenagers to get their own source of income.

    • You are not the only one. Donald Trump, Bono, and even the president of the US have had “autonomous” automobiles for years now.

      But it’s more fun to speculate how big brother might fuck up a good idea instead of looking at the upside…

  15. It’s ironic all the ‘safe driver’ laws and messages we have these days — the ‘don’t text n drive’ messages, the DUI and ‘hands-free’ phone laws, etc., — and all the while the car companies are rushing to make it easier and easier to do these forbidden things. If the auto makers really ‘give the people what they want,’ it would probably be an auto-driving car with a video interface for your smartphone, a game console, and a wet bar — all built into the dashboard. And so technological Nirvana will have been reached for Boobus Americanus and his 2-nanosecond attention span.

    • Anyone who follows what the government teaches about driving will be so bored with the task as to need distraction. Want to be entertained.

      The entertainment used to be driving itself. Driving started out as a pleasurable activity. Then the control freaks got a hold of it. The pleasure of driving had to be destroyed in typical puritanical tradition. Each round causes more people to give up and just slug along in the mass. Driving becomes more frustrating, safety and effort saving devices make more and more boring. The government keeps preaching that it’s the other guy’s responsibility to look out for those who make a “mistake”. And not to forget drive slowly to better compensate for it.

      So what happens? People want more and more to do besides drive the car.

      This started in the 1930s*. It grows every year. People will be transported in their government controlled entertainment pods one day if nothing stops the trends.

      *Watch the 1930s automotive films on archive.org. This had to be the point of transition. Half or more of them are about driving well, better technology leading to better performing cars for the drivers. Faster better safer roads. technical basics on cars, etc. But in the rest there is a creeping cloverism in the content to one degree or another.

      BTW Eric, if you haven’t seen GM’s film “Wreckless” ( https://archive.org/details/0691_Wreckless_02_33_50_00 ) I think you’d like it.

  16. I hate the idea of autonomous cars for the most part as I see the state using it as a further opportunity to steal individual liberty. However, I must say that having gone on an 11-hour drive each way for Thanksgiving, I would have liked a self driving car so I could have napped or “driven” during my sleep hours. In a perfect world there would be a lane on the interstate (like a HOV lane) where you could put it on auto pilot and doze off. For the rest of my driving I would opt for full control.

  17. It looks like we’ll have to put up with a few years of this sort of second guessing until the systems get good enough. There should only be one entity(?) in charge of a vehicle. Instead of the back seat driver yelling at you, now they get a set of controls too.

    Warning lights are fine, warning buzzers or seat vibrators are a little less so (unless you can control the threshold for activation). It’s like planes having that voice that yells “STALL” when the pilot gets the nose too high for the forward momentum. If you are flying correctly you’ll never hear it, but if you happen to miss something it lets you know.

    I still say that once we get through this beta test phase and get real, good quality self-drivers out there, I’ll be on board. As much as I love pushing my car (and myself), there’s far too many cops, idiots and deteriorating roads out there to make it fun anymore. If I open it up I have to have my head on a swivel, constantly looking for cops with instant on or laser speed traps. If I’m in an area where the detector picks up the instant on radar guns, there’s usually too much traffic to open it up anyway. So we all just poke along, in our 250HP super-safe vehicles as if we’re all driving 1953 Buicks with bias-ply tires, no seat belts, and steel dashboards.

    And besides, once we’re all in auto drivers, when we do get the snow (like this week), we’ll all be stuck at home having a snow day because the cars won’t want to risk themselves just so we can get to work. My coworkers in Denver already get sent home early if they get more than an inch or so (in the mountains, we call that “dry pavement” and we call them “pussies”). I can’t wait for the same deal.

    But then again, I’m an optimist…

  18. Great points, Eric. But, again, the point needs to be stressed that a large part of the problem is that there’s no adaptiveness in the roads because the state “owns” the roads and has no interest in adaptation. A private system would very quickly settle on at least a two-tiered system of driving: one for those who want or need the cars to do all the driving (a large majority), and one for drivers competent enough to drive on their own (a tiny minority). But in the present system of state-sponsored decay, dumb roads beget dumb drivers which in turn begets moral hazard and so on goes the downward spiral to Idiocracy.

  19. “A computer cannot be held accountable if a car wanders across traffic – or fails to stop in time- and someone gets killed or maimed for life.”

    Maybe this is where its all going is that ultimately they want a central server that coordinates all traffic. Combine all the things you have been talking about Eric, from the abillity of police to shut down vehicles remotely. The PTB may very well know this hybrid technology is going to purposefully fail. First they will make a couple generations incapable of driving, and then argue that the only way to make a 100% fool proof system is to central command the traffic control so that road monitors may have total control over everyone’s vehicle. Everyone will cheer as they are made into car servants.

    Of course I’m thinking its time for the Jetsons myself. Air corridors provide the same problem, and they have been working on central controlled air traffic for years. I believe they need total control of the servant, and a vehicle personal robot isn’t going to make them quite happy they need the vehicle to be the “cloud” aka central command server to be spied and controlled. The people will cheer like the girls did in those old Elvis or Rolling Stones concert videos.

    Regards,
    HR

    • A computer can’t, but a programmer can be held liable for “faulty” software. I’m sure there’s going to be a click-through disclaimer every time you start the engine, but once some rich guy crashes his Acura into a smoovee carrying a mother of 4 and her kids someone will have to pay up. And it WON’T be an insurance company.

      The problem with government takeover of our vehicles is they lose revenue and gain nothing. Once they take over, they take on all the liability. Look at all the instant millionaires from that train crash in the Bronx the other day. If a vehicle I’m in crashes and “the state” is driving it, you bet I’ll file a claim for something. The worst that they can do is say no, and the upside could keep me “in clover” for the rest of my life 😉

      • Power is more important than money. Money is only good for the power it brings.

        Automated roads are complete power over people’s travel which can be leveraged into complete power over the people themselves. Think about a world where if you speak badly of government you can no longer get to the grocery store unless you walk? If walking is still legal that is.

        They’ll make up the revenue with per-mile taxes to use these very expensive automated roads anyway. All the contractor money to build and operate the systems too…

        There’s no drawback in it for government except the lawsuits, but by then they’ll have such power people will be told to go pound sand if they are hurt.

        • BrentP – “people will be told to go pound sand if they are hurt.”

          Indeed. Here in Canada we are going through the ‘smart meter’ roll out. After (coerced, forced or simply uninformed) installation several of these have caught fire and burned homes.

          Power company will not take responsibility.
          Insurance refuses to pay out as they claim it was due to the non-CSA/UL meters the power company has installed.
          Homeowner gets screwed.

          People look at me funny when I say, “I would like to explore all the negative scenarios and eventualities before making any decisions or changes.” Then they say I am paranoid or unreasonable. Much later they say, “how could this have happened?” and look for someone to blame. I hand them a mirror.

        • BrentP wrote, “Think about a world where if you speak badly of government you can no longer get to the grocery store unless you walk?”

          Or, if you criticize or question the auto-bot self-driving cars?

          Not only will you have to walk, perhaps the automatic sliding doors at the entrance to the stores won’t open for you?

          Ya, I can see that all happening, real easy.

          My (now former) industrial workplace has many hazards that are deemed ‘safe’ because of such things as yellow lines painted on the floor. Just never-mind that, “People are inept, incompetent, reckless and lazy. They get fatigued – and angry. Their judgment is frequently flawed. They are easily distracted.”
          Just trust, ‘The System’ in place.

          At work I was given what I thought was a safety questionnaire seeking my opinion in order to improve things. In it I was asked what I thought of their safety program and if I felt safe.
          I told them their program was excessive overkill, and that I never feel safe, as safety does not exist in nature, or anywhere else.

          Boy was I surprised when they told me to go home. They said: if I didn’t feel safe, I shouldn’t be there.

          So basically, I got fired for not expressing how safe I felt I was.
          No amount of reasoned explanation would sway them.

          I’m reminded of this bit:

          …”unfortunately it becomes easy to come up with fairly solid predictions not only for the coming year but many years to come: The expansion of the government czars, the continuation of our perpetual wars, and our nation’s people becoming poorer, more subservient and Zombie-like.”

          http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/12/sibel-edmonds/wars-czars-and-the-zombie-majority/

          • RAH – I had an employer that conducted an “anonymous” survey that we were assured would be handled by a third party with absolute confidentiality. Fortunately, I was gone on a business trip when it was conducted (I have very distinct handwriting). When the results came back, the plant manager called all of the office staff in for a meeting. The first thing out of his mouth was “I want everyone to know that I took those surveys home and read each one of them before I sent them off.” You could have heard a pin drop. The looks on the faces around that room were priceless; betrayal at its finest. I ended up writing a couple of lengthy letters to HR and the VP of manufacturing about some of the unsavory practices of local management. The VP came down from corporate to “discuss my concerns” (i.e. to see the guy with big enough cods to write those letters). Talk about fast; I went from zero to unemployed in under three days! I’m getting to the point now where I don’t trust very many people who haven’t been fired for standing on principle.

          • Roth, BrentP: I too was fired from one of my former employers (2.5 years ago in case anyone wants to keep track…) because about a year prior I was blacklisted by the management for being bluntly honest on a “anonymous annual employee survey” about what I thought of management’s role in the company. Just like in government, this corporation (along with every other large corporation) has enough black and white print with rules that is so huge you’ll never know that you break probably 3 company policies a day (just like “average” people break 3 laws a day)… long story short, they fired me because I “violated company policy”.

            That scenario really sped up my “awakening”. Before that I had been desperately clinging to the notion that “there are good people within the system that would never let these bad things happen”. Yeah… those “good” people are only good to your face so that they can continue climbing the ladder in order to get there’s while they can and if they have to fuck over a few (or a lot…) of people in the process, then hey, that’s what “they” get for not being as smart as me. Sociopathic psychopaths.

          • Jacob I hadn’t related a survey story yet, but I can.
            I once worked for a very large corporation. They had ‘anonymous’ surveys. As I became more and more dis-satisfied with the place I got more more honest with them. I knew they weren’t anonymous because we had to login to the site to do them. They were mandatory.

            I don’t think they were a primary factor in what eventually happened. probably somewhere between 3rd and 6th 😉

          • “As I became more and more dis-satisfied with the place I got more more honest with them.”

            Ha! I think that’s what happened to me, too. And in a way, its what has to happen on a wider scale with the nation in relation to their overlords.

            It reminds me of this comment, with a reply from ‘snake charmer’ over at TheHousingBubbleBlog:
            2013-12-06 08:15:37

            ““[H]ouse prices are nothing but a great big dummy, administered by our great leaders to keep us all quiet. And we are just sucking it up.”
            ________________________________/

            Correct. Stock prices too.”

            Anyway, the form I filled out didn’t ask for a name.
            I thought it was anonymous.
            Then the supervisor handed it back to me and asked me to write my name on it.
            Not that it would have changed my answers though.

            I’ve quit jobs on principle before, this was the first time I was ever fired for it. Heck, this is the first time I’ve Ever been fired.

            I feel cheated, I didn’t even get to hear, “You’re fired! Now get out!”
            It was all so,.. spiritless. …And, ridiculously retarded.

        • Remember this comment when BrentP runs for city council. 🙂

          The drive to automate roads will come from private industry and saaaaaaaaafteeeee zealots not a nazi-like administration, using the yellow journalists to scare the public.

          • Here’s how it works in the USA best I can tell:

            The foundations, founded by the old robber baron families publish what they think are good ideas.
            They use their stock in corporations to bring these ideas into the mind of the public.
            Corporations and foundations pitch the ideas to political office holders.
            Events happen. (or government runs short of funds for the basics people expect of government)
            The ideas are pitched as solutions.
            The public demands action.
            The ideas become law.

            There’s some variation here, sometimes a control freak at a low level gets an idea that is picked up, etc, but that’s basically how I’ve figured out how things work here.

            For some sick reason they have to con the public into wanting to be controlled.

          • @BrentT – Said “The foundations, founded by the old robber baron families publish what they think are good ideas.
            They use their stock in corporations to bring these ideas into the mind of the public.”

            Get beyond the right-wing feel good Orwell speak and website pictures for us rubes to consume. We are not even listened to.

            This is where laws come from, and the elected are just well taken care of Pinocchio dolls for us to throw tomatoes at. It is all funded by those deep pockets you mentioned.

            … from clearinghouses of ideas submitted by ALEC members into freestanding think tanks and model bill movers. They began to actively solicit more input from private sector members, seizing upon ALEC’s long-time philosophy that the private sector should be an ally rather than an adversary in developing sound public policy…
            http://www.alec.org

            To date, ALEC’s Task Forces have considered, written and approved hundreds of model bills on a wide range of issues, model legislation that will frame the debate today and far into the future. Each year, close to 1,000 bills, based at least in part on ALEC Model Legislation, are introduced in the states. Of these, an average of 20 percent become law.

    • CloverI actually agree with some of things pointed out in this article. I do disagree that anti-lock brakes are making more people tailgate. Idiots will be idiots no matter what vehicle they have. It is true though that people that drive big 4 wheel drive vehicles do seem to get into the ditch more often in the winter though so some of the logic may be true but then again it could be the aggressive winter driver is the one buying that 4 wheel drive vehicle in the first place.

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