A recent study has discovered that the angry driver will continue to exist well into the self-driving car age. Slow, sarcastic claps for you, science.
The movie Wall-E, my personal fave about a peculiar introvert’s search for love with a mute foreigner out of his league, yo, my life, is also a fairly cracking soothsaying piece of edu-tainment. In the narrative, we humans are depicted as laconic blobs carted around in automated coffins/chairs, as we small-talk and sup cocktails in a relaxed manner.
I for one can’t wait, and have started eating accordingly so that one gorgeous, lazy day in the near-future, I’ll have the correct figure. But there’s something that has always chided me about Pixar’s view of us. I feel that we, as a species, were misrepresented. It’s not that we’re portly or shallow (bang on barbs there, Pixar), but it’s that everyone seemed happy. Which is wrong. For, where there is traffic, there are angry people. Not so, it seems, in the Pixar vision of our future.
However, as the flabby future wobbles toward us, and the fictional chairs are replaced by self-driving cars or AV’s, it’s comforting to know that the more things change, the more they stay the same. You see, following a recent study, those idiosyncratic loons with expensive optical accoutrements, also know as the London School of Economics, have predicted that everyone’s favourite round bound cretin, the angry driver, will continue to ruin lives in the self-driving car age, and sadly will not slip into a historical footnote as an evolutionary weakling.
But back to that in a mo’.
According to the findings of the study, a rather brutal 44 percent would rather not use an AV, thank you very much, and an equally towering 41 percent of those polled wouldn’t even share a traffic jam with one. Well, that’s nice. Road-sharing is road-caring, guys.
Perhaps further education is needed?
Well, no, for after those above who polled disgust were clued in on the small fact that AVs might not murder us horribly, the resistance formed the majority.
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Moreover, the Python-esque responses of a potential AV future had me reaching for my funny bone in suspicion. One UK pollster planted “We’ll be overwhelmed by niceness. They’re never going to do anything horrible to us. They’re nice cars. They’re not going to cut us up or get up our backsides and all the other things,” before a German interjected with “but this mix (between human and AV cars)…I don’t like so much.” Oh, stereotype. You valid cruel beast.
The key to be taken from the collated waffle was this rather ‘ard sounding git, who took umbrage with the AV’s potential safety-first outlook, stating: “(The AVs are) going to stop. So you’re going to mug them right off. They’re going to stop and you’re just going to nip round.”
In actual English, the gentleman is pointing out that the AV will err on the side of caution when necessary, in accordance with automated safety mechanisms, to save the lives of presumably reckless drivers, those who would merge into tight gaps at speed, and given the opportunity in the future, would do so again – thus “mugging them off”, by reclaiming control of the automated car, will render years of technological advancement entirely pointless as drives casually decide to “…nip round”.
I know what you’re saying. It’s only a “nip round!” – one quiet merge won’t hurt anyone, yeah? Victimless crime, yeah? Nah. For one merge begets another, and as espoused by notable 1980s professor of sociology, John Bender, there is only but one true conclusion:
However, the behaviour of a species, legitimised by years of habit will be hard to change. So, as bitter as this true tale may taste, we may have to accept the angry driver as an unnecessary cultural evil, but fight them we shall, through an ancient method of our own: vast cynicism.