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Safe Street Rebel Autonomous Vehicle Luddites And Schachner's 1931 Robot-Deranger

They're coming for the autonomous vehicles, yes, they're coming for them. Safe Street Rebel is an activist group in San Francisco determined to keep the streets human.


(Safe Street Rebel derange an autonomous vehicle)

Two people dressed in dark colors and wearing masks dart into a busy street on a hill in San Francisco. One of them hauls a big orange traffic cone. They sprint toward a driverless car and quickly set the cone on the hood.

The vehicle's side lights burst on and start flashing orange. And then, it sits there immobile.

"All right, looks good," one of them says after making sure no one is inside. "Let's get out of here." They hop on e-bikes and pedal off.

All it takes to render the technology-packed self-driving car inoperable is a traffic cone. If all goes according to plan, it will stay there, frozen, until someone comes and removes it.

In his 1931 story The Exile of Time, scientifiction great Ray Cummings, described one of the best ways to defeat the robotic enemy - the robot-deranger:

"I could not get you because your circuit was broken," it said. "Our air-vessel Micrad; bearing the large projector of the Robot-deranger, landed on the ocean surface two hundred miles from New York harbor. It was forced down when your district air-power failed."

...

"The Micrad is coming with the long-range deranger," Tina told them briefly. After a moment they hastened away upstairs and I heard one of them shouting...

We saw a white search-beam from the Micrad come down and disclosed a group of Robots on the laboratory roof. Then the spreading beam of the deranging ray struck them, and they stood an instant transfixed, stricken, with wildly flailing arms. Then one toppled and fell. Then another. Two rushed together, locked in each other's grip, desperately fighting because of some crazy, deranged thought-impulse. They swayed and tore at each other until both wilted and sank inert.

We knew we would need this; the full utility is only now being explored.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/7/2023)

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