Tag Archives: traffic jams

How I Would (Most Likely) Use A Self-Driving Car

The future can be scary at times, but the prospect of improved technology helps make it more exciting. I would argue it’s the most exciting part of the future. You see some of the fancy gadgets that tech companies are working on and you want to live long enough to use them, especially the sexy ones.

I’ve talked about emerging technology before. While I tend to be hopeful about the impact of certain technologies, I don’t overlook the existential dangers they pose. Some of those dangers are more relevant than others, but others are less fantastic and more pragmatic. One of those advances is self-driving cars.

Unlike some of the other advanced technologies that are decades away, this one already exists, albeit in a limited form. There are cars on the market today that can drive themselves in certain situations. I even had a chance to ride in one a couple years back. It works remarkably well, albeit it could only function on major highways.

There’s plenty of room for improvement, but it’s a promising start. The fact that it exists and is being refined as we speak means this is happening. It’s at an early stage, but like cell phones before it, the technology will continue to be refined. Eventually, it’ll get to the point where it’s better at navigating traffic than any human.

I honestly look forward to that day because I’m not a big fan of driving. I don’t mind it, but I’ve never been particularly fond of long drives, even if it’s for a vacation. My back gets sore, my arms get stiff, and I just get frustrated after the third hour behind the wheel.

It’s because of my aversion to long drives that I don’t take as many trips as I wish. I believe that if I had access to a perfectly functioning self-driving car, that would change. If the technology were refined to a point that I’d just type in an address and let it do the rest, then I would definitely go on trips. .With that in mind, I’d like to share a brief anecdote for how I would use a self-driving car.

It’s Friday night. I finished my last workout of the week, cleaned myself up, and ate my dinner. I’m tired, but I don’t intend to spend the weekend lounging around the house.

About a half-hour before I usually turn in, I pack my bag. I then put on my most comfortable pair of clothes, take a quick bathroom break, and head to the nearest self-driving car. As soon as I’m inside, I punch in the address to the beach that’s furthest south from where I am, whether it’s Florida, South Carolina, or somewhere in between.

I make sure the car has the range and speed. I then close it up, turn the car on, and let it work. From there, I just lay back in the seat and let myself fall asleep.

If all goes well, I wake up just as the car arrives at the beach. Even if the sun hasn’t risen yet, it’s right there in the nearest parking lot to the shore. I get out of the car, find the best spot I can on the beach, and wait to watch the sunrise. I then spend the rest of the day at the beach, lounging about and hitting up beach bars.

Once the sun sets, I return to the self-driving car, punch in my home address, make sure its charged, and ride it home. If I’ve done everything right, I sleep through the ride and wake up in my driveway. It caps off the end of a nice, relaxing day at the beach in which I slept through the commute.

This is just one idea from the perspective of what I’d do. If you have other ideas on how you’d use a self-driving car, please share them in the comments.

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Filed under Artificial Intelligence, futurism, technology

Traffic, Holidays, And Recoveries

There are a lot of ways to kill a mood, be it sexy or otherwise. With the holidays drawing to a close, you have fewer and fewer reasons to be cheerful and upbeat. Plus, you have fewer excuses to wear ugly Christmas sweaters and Santa hats. I’ve yet to spend a day wearing either of those and not come home in a good mood.

For some, there are certain things that’ll kill a mood faster than anything that doesn’t involve projectile vomit, hangovers, and sick puppies. I certainly have my share of those things. Some of those things involve experiences that make me want to take a hammer to the nearest Home Depot and smash all the windows in frustration.

I say all this as a preface because as I write this, I am so goddamn burned out that I just want to sleep for the next three days. Why am I so burned out? Well, there’s a damn good reason for it.

As I announced before, I spent a good chunk of my Christmas at the Jersey Shore with family. It’s a tradition of sorts and a damn good one. I had a great time with friends and family. We had every kind of holiday fun you can have with your pants on. That part of the experience wasn’t the problem.

The problem came yesterday when I drove back home. Now usually, a drive to and from the Jersey Shore is about three-and-a-half hours, depending on weather and traffic. That’s about how long it took to get up there. On the way back though, it was a very different story.

There was so…much…traffic. Like a post-Christmas hangover, minus the fun of being drunk, it hit me like sleigh full of cinder-blocks and baseball bats. It turned what is usually a fairly scenic and uneventful drive into a six-and-a-half hour case-study in break lights. There aren’t many better ways to kill a mood and wound your spirit in a way that doesn’t involve solitary confinement or slow wi-fi speeds. This did way too good a job of that.

Now I know there are plenty of traffic horror stories out there. I’m sure there are those who can handle a six-and-a-half hour drive the same way most people handle a hangnail. For me, however, it left me restless, moody, and badly in need of an extra day of rest. I tried to go to bed early last night. It didn’t work. For reasons that make me think that one too many people cussed me out on the road, I was just too damn restless.

So I guess this counts as a day of recovery. I did plan on doing some extra writing, reading some comics, and enjoying what’s left of my holiday vacation. I’m going to have to revise those plans. I’m also going to need to find better ways of dealing with traffic.

If anybody out there has any tips that makes the recovery easier, I’d love to hear them. I’d also love to hear how the hell you’re supposed to sleep when you’re more restless than a rabbit on crack. I’m going to try comics, hot chocolate, and whiskey. That’s all I have on hand, but if anyone has any other tips, please share. Today must be a day of rest. Then, I can go back to talking about sexier, less stressful topics.

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