A recent Facebook post about the long-delayed Elio mini-car started a discussion about the dearth of similar vehicles out there for American drivers. Many of these cars have been pitched for over a decade, but just can’t seem to get the financing or support to actually achieve serious (or, in most cases, any) production and distribution. And that’s a shame, because they are missing what may be their only opportunity to shine… before it will be too late for them to run on American roads at all.
…and tell me again how cars can’t be trusted to drive themselves.
Google’s recent announcement that they would be unveiling a self-driving vehicle prototype soon spawned a lot of the reactions you’d expect from such an announcement, mostly split between “cold, dead hands”-type comments to outrageous hazard-challenges that would give Mario Andretti pause.
I’d hate to chalk it all up to just plain technophobia; however, we have seen this kind of denial about new technologies before—for instance, when the Horseless Carriage was first introduced—and the song seems to be the same, note for note, but with the addition of synthesizer quaver and a bit of traffic sound sampling to remind us that it’s 2014.
But we’ve seen automated cars in movies like Minority Report. I’ve written about them in my novels Sarcology and Chasing the Light. And although they’re not depicted as death machines in popular media, they are still thought of that way by the public. Why?
Invasive technologies, by definition, tend to have the most initial resistance to their introduction to society. It can be hard to imagine a future world in which new and sometimes disturbing, often painfully-disruptive technologies come to be accepted, even common, parts of our lives.
Sarcology, recently updated and re-released, depicts a future world full of these invasive technologies, making it easy for the reader to question the likelihood and desirability of this future reality.
But given time, and often contrary to public perception, we have seen that even the most invasive of tech can overcome initial resistance and become accepted, even ubiquitous, in society.