No thanks, I’ll drive myself
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
Uber employees stand by self-driving Ford Fusion hybrid cars during testing of the vehicles.