When will self-driving cars hit the streets, and what will I be doing while it drives? Work perhaps. But how long before I’m replaced by a robot. Routine jobs first, they say, but take judges for instance. In addition to processing facts much faster, computers will no doubt be able to reach a more independent decision than a human.
Doesn’t most of what do boil down to routine? Remember the 80’s Rubik’s Cube. Only around 1% was able to solve it without cheats, while anybody could learn the few routines required to solve it in minutes or less. Much like learning how to drive. In the beginning, we would reach our destination all sweaty from concentrating on keeping pedals apart, remembering to signal and calculating collision courses with approaching vehicles. A few trips later, we only lose our orientation momentarily, when texting while driving.
If everything comes down to patterns and routines, what makes me indispensable? So, I’m in my self-driving car, not on my way to work, but to a concert, while… playing Candy Crush. Is it even my car? Probably not. More likely a shared car of sorts (not Uber). What kind, or do I care, if it’s not my own? That’s it for the car industry, unless they manage to do a Rolex. We still buy expensive watches, although we no longer need to look at it to know what time it is. In fact, this classic piece of “man jewellery” is doing very well, and perhaps “regular” cars can ride the same wave of nostalgia, until human driving is banned on public roads for safety reasons.
Back to the concert. Or can we actually be bothered? Standing there, uncomfortably squeezed in between all sorts of weird people, lining up for restroom and the less than perfect sound of live performance. Can we be bothered with other people in general? A recent study shows that the Danish youth prefers playing on their tablet to playing with their friends. And grown ups aren’t much better. 29% of the Americans would rather give up sex for 3 months than be without their precious mobile phone for a week. And it’s not just the Americans. Every year, the Institute for Futurology asks the Germans, what they like to do in their spare time. Only 30% says ”sex” – a 10% drop since 2011. On the other hand, 75% want to go online – a smashing 56% increase over 5 years. In Britain, they are not only experiencing Brexit, but a regular ”Sexit”, which according to Telegraph will lead to no couples having sex in 2030, if the trend continues. The Brits would rather watch Game of Thrones and Friends reruns.
In this gloomy perspective, lack of sex will end us before global warming has a chance to. Fortunately, it seems we get to hang on to the steering wheel a little longer, while the Council on Ethics work out to what extend self-driving cars should be programmed to take out senior citizens before toddlers.