Do You Really Want Your Car To Talk To Pedestrians?

The latest marvel that might be installed in your not-yet-existent autonomous car is a new patented idea from Alphabet (aka Google). Your car will have the ability to talk to pedestrians in crosswalks to tell them to get out of the way, or to proceed with caution while the car waits.


(Google self-driving car prototype video)

Personally, I'm not sure this is such a great idea, based on my past reading of science fiction. For example, do you really want the depressed robot cabs from Philip K. Dick's 1952 story A Present for Pat talking to all and sundry?

"Robots have no wives," the driver said. "They are nonsexual. Robots have no friends, either. They are incapable of emotional relationships."

"Can robots be fired?"

"Sometimes." The robot drew his cab up before Eric's modest six-room bungalow. "But consider. Robots are frequently melted down and new robots made from the remains. Recall Ibsen's Peer Gynt, the section concerning the Button Molder. The lines clearly anticipate in symbolic form the trauma of robots to come."

"Yeah." The door opened and Eric got out. "I guess we all have our problems."

"Robots have worse problems than anybody." The door shut and the cab zipped off, back down the hill.

Or, possibly worse, consider Johnny Cab from Total Recall (the movie), and everything he might have to say to pedestrians.

Via NBC News.

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