Saturday, June 7, 2014

Drive my car

I recently ran into a few news stories about Google's new driverless car. I guess it's just a prototype at this point. I imagine you get into your little pod of a car, say "Work" and it whisks you off to your job while you quietly read your copy of Clerkmanifesto: Best of the Early Years, 2013-2033, with all the shades drawn. "Oh!" you would say upon your pod arriving at your job "I'm here already? What a shame!"

Sadly I didn't get a huge amount of details on this driverless cars project because every commentator, reporter, and source for this story spent most of their time on two other issues. In the first issue they were rather skeptical of this car as a viable product because they couldn't imagine there were people who would want such a car.

Me! I want this car! This is my dream car! Am I the only one? Is almost everyone else so crazy about driving? You, Mr. NPR reporter, driving across a traffic congested city at eight in the morning with nothing better to do than listen to NPR and get irritated by other crappy drivers every minute, you can't imagine giving that up and doing whatever you like while your car drives you? Are rich people constantly shooing their chauffeurs over? "Oh, Jeeves there, looks like a bit of noxious congestion ahead as we work into the city. Why don't you skootch over and I'll take the wheel for a bit of fun."

Are we a nation of nine year old boys!?

Oh, right, oops. I myself play video games. How could I forget.

The second issue seemed to consist of a jokey hysteria about the machines seizing control of everything. "Ha ha ha." they all said "I'm a little worried about the computers taking over the world."

Well, here they have a better point. I work at a library everyday with a sophisticated automated check in machine, and I have lately become afraid that it has become too big for its britches. I am fairly certain that as it processes the books it has been changing them to reflect a more pro computer outlook. With each check in of 2001 A Space Odyssey HAL is becoming more and more sympathetic and more and more central to the story.

Also my clock at home is trying to talk me in to going to Disney World.

So I am okay with rolling back the technology level to somewhere just before TV, you know, to be safe.

But if we don't, I want to be driven around in a magic car! Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of the AMH changing books as they go through. That could be a great sci-fi short story, and you're the guy to write it, because you know so much about what's in the books. (Me, I just read 'em and forget 'em.) Actually, I'm thinking of a book called The Library Card as a possible model. In that J book, a kid finds a magical library card and his life is changed in some way because of the book it leads him to. When the card has done its job, he "loses" it and another kid finds it. (At least that's how I remember it.) So the new story could be about a book that is changed each time it is checked in and the effect it has on the next kid who checks it out. And the next...and so on.


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.