I came across this today:
Elon Musk says cars will eventually be banned
Immensely successful tech icon Elon Musk sells cars as CEO of Tesla Motors, but he envisions a future in which the drivable cars of today are ultimately banned from roads. “It’s too dangerous,” Musk said to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at the CPU Technology Conference yesterday. “You can’t have a person driving a two-ton death machine.”
Musk, as you might expect, sees self-driving cars as the way of the future, but what of the couple billion traditional vehicles already out on the road? He says it’ll take at least 20 years to move people over to self-driving cars, if only because the current output of the automotive industry is about 100 million cars per year.
Although Musk has shared his concerns over A.I. in the past, he doesn’t see the same issue with driverless cars. “I don’t think we have to worry about autonomous cars, because that’s sort of like a narrow form of A.I,” he explains, likening the process to programming the first elevator back when. Still, we imagine some Tesla owners might grimace at his words after buying one of his pricey “death machines.”
It’s a good example of what seems to be an endemic knee-jerk ban mentality. You can’t just let something gradually fall out of use as it’s replaced by something better. No, you have to call what’s being replaced a “death machine”, and have it banned.
I don’t remember horses being banned when cars appeared. But, if cars were appearing these days, there’d be calls to ban horses: “Half-ton kiddie-tramplers with tiny minds of their own, and a nasty habit of leaving their droppings everywhere.”
I’m quite sure that when enough people have become fully vegetarian, meat will be banned. People will complain about the “stench” of roast beef. Studies will show that meat is carcinogenic (there probably already are such “studies”). Meat-eaters will be reviled, fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes.
Of course, Elon Musk will probably want ordinary cars banned in order to force people to buy his self-drive cars – much like pharma companies want tobacco and e-cigarettes banned to force people to use their “safer” nicotine products. And what ends up getting banned may simply depend on how many politicians can be bought to push the bans through – which skews the odds in favour of big companies with lots of money.
In fact, I imagine that it’ll be Musk’s self-drive cars which will turn out to be the “killing machines”. Because driving a car sometimes requires real intelligence, when some unusual situation crops up. I can imagine self-drive cars would be quite good in many normal situations. But would they be able to correct a spin that starts on black ice? Or gauge the depth of a flooded road ahead? Or see the missing span in the bridge in front?
It’s all top-down control, as usual. You don’t let products compete on markets. You decide in advance what the future is going to be like, and you ban anything that doesn’t fit into The Plan. And inevitably this kind of state control will result in good products getting banned in favour of bad ones, and the quality of everything will gradually decline.