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7 Ways Autonomous Cars Are Poised to Change the World

7 Ways Autonomous Cars Are Poised to Change the World

Even though Moore’s Law seems to truly have come to an end, new technological advancements are being introduced to the world at an astounding rate. Driverless cars used to be a thing futurists dreamed of, and not long ago was something expectant bloggers and tech-junkies were drooling over as prototypes. After a long-awaited hype, however, the driverless car is here, and it is changing the world. While these autonomous vehicles are not yet available to the wider public, they are currently out on the roads, being test-driven and prepared for mass adoption.

While not many are still arguing just how the autonomous car rollout will happen, nobody is arguing whether or not it will. The consensus is in: driverless cars are on the verge of changing the world in 7 drastic ways.

1. The Transition Will Trouble Us

 
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    The change, overall, will be and has been gradual. The most trying time for autonomous cars will be the days that the new technology shares the road with older, human-driven vehicles. One of the biggest problems with self-driving vehicles is that they are seemingly too perfect–they follow every law, all the time, without exception. If every car on the road followed this trend, there wouldn’t be any problems. However, human beings are not as disciplined as the programmed pilots of autonomous vehicles, and their erratic actions such as premature lane changes, speeding, and abrupt braking can confuse autonomous vehicles.

    You can also expect that people will be anxious to test autonomous vehicle reactions at first, perhaps by intentionally cutting them off or stepping in front of them as pedestrians, and the stringent adherence to the law may actually hurt autonomous vehicles in the short-run. Every incident between self-driven cars and human beings will fall under intense scrutiny, and anything viewed as even a slight infraction will be fuel for those resistant in the face of incredible change. Nevertheless, eventually, human beings will be phased out.

    2. As Automation Trends, Technological Unemployment Will Rise

    As automation begins to ramp up, people all over the world will raise their voices about the amount of jobs and labor lost to robots. Ridesharing businesses Lyft and Uber are just a few of the companies that plan to employ self-driving cars in the future, meaning that after decimating the taxi industry, the ridesharing workforce is going to implode itself. Other commercial drivers are going to take a hit as well, including those in the trucking and transport industry, and even city governments are going to see less revenue from parking and speeding tickets. The next 10 years might even bring the end of the conventional auto industry as we know it, replaced by a new breed of car manufacturer.

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    The implications of automation run much further than just automobiles. Jobs all over the world face the threat of extinction after we create robots that are more capable than humans at… well, everything. A great mini-doc from 2014 explains the situation well:

    3. We Will Have More Time… to Create More Jobs?

    While some argue that upwards of 6 million jobs will be lost to automation, others argue that this notion is unfounded and unlikely. Manufacturing is a good example of an industry that will see radical change, albeit over a long period of time. A better way to say it is that all of the people that used to make yokes for the horse and buggy didn’t just go extinct, but instead learned to manufacture something else–the axle of the car for example. The rest of us will learn to adapt too, and maybe in ways that will actually replace the jobs the human race is outgrowing.

    If you look at the evolution of the commute from the 1800s to now, for example, you’ll realize that with roughly 150 million Americans commuting to work and the average American commuting more than 100 hours each year, there’s a lot of time we waste on a regular basis. Maybe that time could be spent reading or cultivating the arts and the mind in other ways, as civilizations have habitually done more of as they’ve gained free time. Perhaps, on the other hand, more time will be spent telecommuting, with the work day beginning as soon as you sit down in the car and ending when you step out at home.

    Whatever the case, more people are going to be needed to maintain the fleets of autonomous vehicles and other machines built to do our bidding, as well as to write the software that drives them. The good news is that coding as a career is on the rise. Perhaps all that’s needed is a push like the autonomous vehicle to necessitate and facilitate more technical and skilled learning, and eventually we’ll even overcome the STEM skills gap.

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    4. More People Will Share

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      One of the most optimistic predicted outcomes of the driverless-car revolution is that more people will share. Ridesharing companies that are investing in autonomous fleets might sound scary on the one hand because of technological unemployment–but on the other hand, they have proven and continue to prove that people can live and operate in a society where major commodities and big-ticket items can be shared.

      Not everybody believes that this is a good thing, pointing to the inherent flaws in Communist philosophy and practice as the extreme reason that subsidized car ownership and sharing is a bad thing. Lesser, but just as important reasons include that car culture will most likely die out, and even losing the ability to just “go on a drive to clear the mind” will make many feel like they’re losing a significant amount of privacy and autonomy.

      In the end, we’ll just have to wait and see if the “share-society” actually works. If automation truly does replace all jobs, that will mean that there should be no reason anybody doesn’t get fed, doesn’t get clothed, or has to go to work to complete a mundane task–but we’ll see if that’s actually how it plays out.

      5. Fewer People Will Die

      Every year since 1994, approximately 43,500 people have lost their lives in car accidents in the U.S. alone. About one-third of those deaths involve alcohol, and just as concerning of last has been distracted driving involving texting and cellphones. The net benefit of putting our lives in the hands of robots drivers who never sleep, never get distracted or drowsy, and never show up to work drunk means that we’ll save millions of lives every year. The effects of fewer deaths in society would have an interesting ripple effect, as The National notes via their YouTube channel: “In a driverless word, ask yourself this: would we need as many police, firefighters, ambulances–what about doctors, ambulances, and hospital beds?”

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      6. Underage Drinking and Driving Will Become… Legal?

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        The promise of fewer deaths is sure to spawn new and odd policies that many had probably never considered before. For one, many including Elon Musk predict that “manual” driving may become illegal in the future, determined to be too dangerous in comparison to its automated counterpart. Even more odd than that will be seeing children inhabiting a car alone, rolling along the highway to be dropped off at soccer practice or summer camp before the car returns to its port sans “driver”, where it will wait for the child to wirelessly beckon it back.

        Even more startling than seeing a thirteen-year-old sitting in the driver’s seat of a fully automated vehicle would be seeing a thirteen-year-old drinking a beer in the driver’s seat of a self-driving car. One of the major arguments for the current drinking age finds its roots in the U.S. Supreme Court Case South Dakota v. Dole, where the U.S. Government decided to refuse federal highway funding to those states that didn’t raise their legal limit to 21. While states probably wouldn’t lower their legal limit to thirteen-years-old, you might not be surprised to see 19 and 18 become the normal drinking-age from state to state.

        7. Cities Will Change and Become Internet Connected A.I. Organisms Themselves

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          One of the reasons that the automated vehicles are poised to be such game-changers has to do with the Internet of Things (IoT). The best way to describe this new phenomenon would be to point out how phones, computers, cars, and even homes now all connect to the internet nowadays. These sensors will eventually evolve to interact with one another, meaning that the computer program driving your smart car will probably also be the same program driving the person’s smart car in the lane next to you. Because of these sensors, both cars would essentially be talking to each other all the time, always aware of the other’s positioning, and always able to avoid collisions.

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          This type of autonomy creates a network, and almost a sort of Artificial Intelligence as well. As these beacons spread and begin to automate entire cities, one would have to wonder why types of structural changes we’d see. Commercial vehicles, designed specifically for the transport of cargo might be relegated to claustrophobic underground tunnels, while passenger cars enjoy the luxury of travel topside. Parking lots will disappear and roads would become much smaller as the most optimal and efficient configurations of mass transit would arise. Eventually the entire city itself would become an organism connected by the IoT. Who knows? The automated vehicle may just be the catalyst that transforms us and our planet into a giant, Unicron-sized A.I. robot–which is probably the dominant form of life in our galaxy anyway.

          Whatever the case, the driverless vehicle is not just poised to change the world–it already is changing the world as you read this. How you handle that change, well, that’s entirely up to you. Remember, no matter what happens, you’ll always be in the driver’s seat of your own life.

          Featured photo credit: Steve Jurvetson via flickr.com

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          Andrew Heikkila

          Owner-Operator of Earthlings Entertainmnet

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          Last Updated on June 21, 2018

          Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

          Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

          There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

          “For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

          Primal Therapy

          Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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          How it Started

          “During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

          It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

          “I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

          Delving deeper

          Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

          Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

          Some Methods To Practice Screaming

          If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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          • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
          • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
          • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
          • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

          After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

          Scream Sing

          Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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          • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
          • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
          • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
          • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
          • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
          • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
          • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

          If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

          Scream into a pillow

          Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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          Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

          Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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