Robot cars

A recent L.A. Times article covered the topic of self driving cars. The gist is that they’re real, they’re coming and they could be on the road by 2020. This is not to say there aren’t concerns.

“It is uncharted waters,” said James Yukevich, a Los Angeles attorney who defends the auto industry from product liability lawsuits. “I don’t think this is an area very many people have thought much about.”

Coddled by robotic chauffeurs, would people retain the driving skills to take over in emergencies? Who would be liable if an autopiloted car runs through a crowd of pedestrians: the owner or the automaker? Would insurance premiums go up or down? Would cyberterrorists figure out how to make Fords blast through school zones at 100 mph?

The article doesn’t explore what I think would be a likely effect from such technology: loss of jobs. Would robot cars effectively put every cab driver out of business? After all, why should a cab company hire a sweaty Armenian to drive cabs around town when a robot car will happily do it without asking for a smoke break? For that matter, what about the transportation industry? Will robots trucks drive around the nation’s manufactured goods?

I suspect in coming years, after mankind has made itself obsolete with its own technology, many will ask, “Why didn’t we see this coming? Why did no one warn us?” At which point I will step out from behind the curtains and say, “Well, if you had been reading my blog you would have been warned.” Then my robots will kill them.

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