No thanks, I’ll drive my­self

Jamaica Gleaner - - KELLY’S WORLD -

NOW, I have of­ten been ac­cused, and at times roundly chas­tised, for be­ing re­sis­tant to change.

If you’ve even browsed this col­umn a few times, you would re­alise that change is, in­deed, not my favourite con­cept or topic. For the record, I just be­lieve that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But that’s an­other mat­ter. There are some changes I’m just sure most of the world’s cit­i­zens are not ready for. Among them are self­driv­ing cars.

For years, the tech­nol­ogy has been trend­ing in that di­rec­tion. As hu­mans con­tinue to make ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy, at some point, the con­cept of cars mov­ing by them­selves was al­ways go­ing to hap­pen. Well, there have been a num­ber of tests, in­clud­ing some re­cently in the United King­dom. Au­ton­o­mous cars, as they are also known, can sense their en­vi­ron­ment and nav­i­gate with­out hu­man in­put. Au­ton­o­mous cars can de­tect sur­round­ings us­ing a va­ri­ety of tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing radar, GPS, and com­puter vi­sion. They have ad­vanced con­trol sys­tems that in­ter­pret sen­sory in­for­ma­tion to iden­tify ap­pro­pri­ate nav­i­ga­tion paths, as well as ob­sta­cles and rel­e­vant sig­nage.

A MAT­TER OF TRUST

Here is my prob­lem. I don’t re­ally trust the ve­hi­cles that hu­mans have con­trol over much less ones that we don’t. We all know that some­times when wi ready fi mash brakes, we nuh find none. Some­times you’re turn­ing the steer­ing wheel one way, but the car isn’t fol­low­ing suit. Or how about when the 100 tril­lion sen­sors that cars have th­ese days are go­ing off at once, and when you take the time (which you didn’t re­ally have) to go to the me­chanic and run a full di­ag­nos­tic, it turns out there’s noth­ing wrong with the car. It did jus’ get a likkle wet up when rain did fall.

So ex­plain to me, if you can, why I should trust a ve­hi­cle in which yours truly has very lit­tle con­trol. Now, the test ve­hi­cles all have a hu­man en­gi­neer just in case things go wrong. But, ul­ti­mately, the goal is for the car to be com­pletely in­de­pen­dent. Now, I un­der­stand that some­times you just want to get in the car and say ‘Home’ and leave it up to the car while you sleep. But I just en­vi­sion the car end­ing up in a ditch or worse. Plus, inna Ja­maica, there ain’t no road signs for the car’s com­puter to read be­cause the scrap metal man dem gone wid dem. And mi no trust GPS out yah so ei­ther.

Plus, we all worry about ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and com­put­ers be­com­ing self aware. So sup­pose the car knows you don’t like it any­more and de­cides to sab­o­tage you be­fore you can sell it? See what I mean? Hey, if they can drive them­selves, surely they can think by them­selves. But none of that will mat­ter for yours truly. Price is prob­a­bly go­ing to be an is­sue any­way, and I know I couldn’t afford one of those au­ton­o­mous cars if they were avail­able right now.

But even if I could, leave me out of that. Mi nuh need di com­puter help fi dash weh mi car. Later. FOR THIS week’s ar­ti­cle, I wish I could have set out the full text of the speech of Amer­ica’s First Lady, Michelle Obama at a campaign rally in sup­port of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s bid to be­come the first fe­male pres­i­dent of the United States.

Speak­ing in Manch­ester, New Hamp­shire, on Oc­to­ber 13, with her usual elo­quence, Michelle Obama soared high above the low and de­grad­ing ut­ter­ances that dogged all dis­cus­sions for the past seven days aris­ing from the re­lease of lewd, of­fen­sive, and sex­u­ally den­i­grat­ing com­ments about women.

SPEECH’S CORE SUB­JECT

One com­ment en­cap­su­lates what the core sub­ject of the speech was: “Strong men – strong men, men who are truly role mod­els – don’t need to put down women to make them­selves feel pow­er­ful. Peo­ple who are truly strong lift oth­ers up. Peo­ple who are truly pow­er­ful bring oth­ers to­gether ... . ”

This was no or­di­nary campaign speech. It was a bat­tle call for women to stand up for them­selves and for strong men to stand up for women. In less than 30 min­utes, Michelle Obama re­in­forced many points of law and val­ues that are too of­ten for­got­ten or over­looked, be­cause no one takes the time to put them in their right­ful place. I will high­light some of them be­low:

“[H]urt­ful, hate­ful lan­guage about women” should not be tol­er­ated. There is law to sup­port that po­si­tion, in that, pro­tec­tion or­ders can be ob­tained un­der the Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Act in Ja­maica to pre­vent even ver­bal abuse.

“[E]qually as­sault­ing women” is a crime.

When “. . . a pow­er­ful in­di­vid­ual [is] speak­ing freely and openly about sex­u­ally preda­tory be­hav­iour” or “. . . when you see that guy at work that stands just a lit­tle too close, stares a lit­tle too long, and makes you feel un­com­fort­able in your own skin”, there is pro­vi­sion un­der sex­ual ha­rass­ment leg­is­la­tion (just not yet in Ja­maica) to ad­dress it.

“. . . [T]hat feel­ing of ter­ror and vi­o­la­tion that too many women have felt when some­one has grabbed them or forced him­self on them and they’ve said no, but he didn’t lis­ten” may be as­sault, bat­tery, or rape for which

IIII

AP

Uber em­ploy­ees stand by self-driv­ing Ford Fu­sion hy­brid cars dur­ing test­ing of the ve­hi­cles.

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