Innovation has always been part of human nature. Ever since our ancestors discovered how to light a fire, they have kept pumping out new inventions to make their lives easier. Some of the most important such innovations in human history were metalworking, agriculture, steam power, the internal combustion engine, and the creation of computers. In the last century, computers have played an ever-increasing part in our lives. As many things in our modern world can be reduced to numbers, computers are perfect tools to automate them – think bookkeeping, taxes, access control, and even our traffic. And soon computers will take the wheel out of our hands – literally, due to the spread of autonomous, self-driving cars. Whether this will be a good thing or not, depends on where you stand on the matter.
Convenience and safety
For those who usually only drive to work and home, with a few detours like refueling and a trip to the grocery store, self-driving cars would be a great help. After all, reading the morning news, playing Canadian slot machines or watching a video while getting to work beats focusing on the road, especially for those short of sleep. Besides, those who usually drive with one eye on their favorite All Slots game or texts and Facebook updates while driving would truly welcome AI taking the wheel for them.
According to the World Health Organization, over 1.2 million people die as a result of traffic accidents each year. With the introduction of self-driving cars, this number could be reduced significantly, not to mention the cost of victimless traffic incidents that would also become potentially extinct after the large-scale rollout of autonomous cars.
Experience and control
Self-driving cars will most likely become optional at first but mandatory later. Humans will most likely only be able to take the wheel in the case of an emergency – as we showed above, this will be convenient for many but not everyone. Not all trips are commutes, errands, and trips to the grocery store – there are many for whom driving is a source of recreation and joy. And they will most likely not embrace the wheel being taken out of their hands for good.
Self-driving cars will reduce the number of traffic accidents and will save a lot of lives, and they will also eliminate the stress of being stuck in a traffic jam. But they will also eliminate the very thing that makes people fall in love with a car, the freedom it offers, the pleasure of driving, the possibility to roam free under the stars… in short. the romance of the road.