Equating the driverless car prototypes currently being tested by Audi and other companies with Megatron and other evil Transformers, Jonah Goldberg wrote a piece in today’s New York Post op-ed telling us why we should be fearful of these new “robot cars.” Not because they will increase accidents–in fact, he willingly admits that car fatalities will probably decrease–but because it means that the machines (and the government) have won.
From the article “The Real Trouble with Robot Cars“:
Health and safety — especially for “the children” — have become all-purpose writs for social meddling. The list of dangerous substances and activities we need to be protected from grows by the day…the state empowers itself to constrain our freedoms for what the experts tell us is for our own good.
…if you follow the logic of mandatory seatbelts and motorcycle helmets, red-light cameras and anti-texting laws to their natural conclusion, it’s easy to imagine that some bureaucrats will want to co-author your car’s software.
Then what? Will you ever be allowed to go over the speed limit again? Police are already drooling to see our GPS data. Will that become automatic, too?
Will the cops have the power to tell your car to stop whether you want it to or not? Will authorities be able to tell your car to take a detour to alleviate traffic? Make it turn around when it gets too close to certain off-limits areas?
So essentially the issue Mr. Goldberg most fears isn’t that these robot cars will turn against humanity and enslave us all, but that it will make it easier for police to prevent speeding, prevent high-speed chases, and ticket drivers who break the law by not wearing seat belts. Oh god, the humanity.