Hover Chair

Skynet Marshmallow Bumper Bots – Sign Me Up!

I loved The Oatmeal’s recent tour of Google’s Self-driving Car.

Before I tell you why, I just want to say, the whole conversation and debate about whether this technology is safe, or desirable, or whatever, is so first-world! So many kids in Africa would kill for a $134 bicycle just to get to school, and we United States-ians are debating Uber vs. Tesla vs. the Skynet Marshmallow Bumper Bot??

So, why am I so in love with these cute little cars? Let me count the ways:

  1. Who doesn’t like marshmallows? There’s only one word of the four that’s at all objectionable. And Skynet is coming, whether you like it or not.
  2. Am I the only one who hates being stuck in traffic? Brake. Accelerate. Brake. Accelerate. Lane Change. It’s mind-numbing. The bus is way better, but it won’t come pick me up when I summon it. (And give me Bing loyalty points for watching the ads?)
  3. My friend Neil remarked one time that a car is nothing more than a chair with a cup-holder and a stereo. I don’t know why that’s relevant, but think of the opportunities for Buy-N-Large.
  4. I have way better things to do with my time than drive a car. Reading. Writing. Shaving. (I once got pulled over for distracted driving cuz I was SHAVING. Sheesh!)
  5. To mention just a few.

The accident thing is certainly troublesome, according to The Oatmeal:

Even if in a few years self-driving cars are proven to be ten times safer than human-operated cars, all it’s going to take is one tragic accident and the public is going to lose their minds. There will be outrage. There will be politicizing. There will be hashtags.

On the one hand we have the Bumper Bots 10x safer than human drivers (for argument’s sake). On the other hand, impaired, distracted, even shaving drivers who kill a fellow driver, cyclist or pedestrian. But we’ve allowed that to continue for years, why?

I think it’s because we can understand and assign blame in the human case – even with alcohol. We’ve all been there. We didn’t mean to do it. We tried to avoid it. In the Google case, technology is perfect, isn’t it? Why did you fail me, Father?

Even that issue isn’t a deal-breaker for me. I know it’ll be solved, cuz I was at an indoor trampoline park the other day. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. But some poor insurance company wrote a policy for them, ha.

I think my last word on this topic is that the cuteness and lack of turbo-chargers on the Marshmallow Bots really appeal to me. It resets the conversation about the value and desirability of cars: safe, reliable transportation, rather than status symbols or road-rage macho death machines.

I will summon mine with a double short cappuccino in a mug not a cup! One raw sugar and a spoon served on the side. And please don’t spill it, Marshmallow Bot.

I’m ready for the future.

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One thought on “Skynet Marshmallow Bumper Bots – Sign Me Up!

  1. Pingback: Artificial Intelligence: I’ll Take Mine with Extra Cheese (Part 2) | The Point

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