Auto Cop

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An interesting unasked question has been raised by Ford’s announcement that it is developing a cop-less cop car. That is, an automated and AI cop car that would sneak itself behind the bushes and use license plate scanners, facial recognition and other such revenue-raising technologies to automatically issue paying’ paper.

All the time. Everywhere.

For everything.

No more need to pay cops to do it some of the time.

In other words, no more part-time, scattershot enforcement of traffic laws. It would become much harder to flout – or evade – any traffic law. Everything from “speeding” to driving around without all your papers in order. Auto Cop would know – immediately.

And there’s no bargaining with him.

But why should anyone object to (as Ford itself puts it) more “efficient” enforcement of the law? This assumes, of course, that the laws being enforced are reasonable, defensible, etc.

They’re not, of course. And everyone knows it.

Which is precisely why they aren’t enforced “efficiently.” It would trigger an uprising.

The whole point of the current system is the selective enforcement of idiotic laws. In order to maintain idiotic laws.

Consider speed limits as an example. Unlike reasonable laws – those regarding theft and murder, for instance – speed limits are flouted by almost everyone who drives, almost every time they drive. Whether by a lot or a little is irrelevant. The point  – and living/breathing cops (and judges, even) admit it – is that most speed limits are ignored and aren’t rigidly enforced because everyone agrees they are ridiculous.

If they were rigidly enforced, it would become apparent very quickly just how ridiculous they are. How unsustainable they are. It would be necessary to raise them almost across the board so that most drivers weren’t constantly being sent tickets for “speeding” by Auto Cop.

The only only reason the idiotic 55 MPH National Maximum Speed Limit lasted for 20 long years was due to the fact that it was possible to drive faster than that, most of the time . .   and get away with it. It was like a lottery – or a bison hunt.

Most of the herd escaped unscathed most of the time.

Occasionally, there were enforcement campaigns but these were greeted with outrage and derision and quickly abandoned, even though the law remained on the books. Idiotic laws can only survive when they are not efficiently and effectively enforced.

The same is true of other idiotic traffic  laws, such as those forbidding window tint and requiring everyone to buckle-up all the time. It is still very possible to evade most of these idiotic laws, most of the time.

This acts as a very important safety valve.

Outrage would erupt if the slew of idiotic traffic laws currently on the books were impossible to evade and enforced without exception – and without mitigation.

Rolling stops, for instance. There are times when it’s unsafe to come to a complete stop – irrespective of “the law” requiring a full stop before proceeding. As when it’s snowing and trying to maintain momentum on a slick hill and a full stop would leave you stuck. Or – worse – sliding backward down the hill. And red lights that remain red. Do you just sit there forever? Back up?

Isn’t that illegal, too?

Such things can be understood by – and explained to – a human cop and there is a decent chance he will cut some slack. The same goes for “speeding” and all the rest of it. All of us have been cut slack at one time or another. We count on this. It makes these idiotic laws sufferable when they would otherwise be insufferable.

We count on a human cop not being around to hassle (and mulct) us for scoffing such laws – and on the cop’s discretion if he is around. On being able to appeal to his sense or his humanity and hope he will ignore the law we both know is idiotic, even if that can’t be openly said or admitted to.

Auto Cop isn’t programmed to cut slack. He – it – simply records the “violation” and issues the citation.

Every single time.

Every transgression and infraction would be enforced without exception. No explanation would cut any mustard.

Just pay up.

This is good news, actually – and not just for the armed government workers who in addition to fearing for their safety must now fear for their well-paying, well-pensioned jobs.

“Efficient” enforcement of idiotic laws is the godsend unspoken reason why Auto Cop will likely never be deployed. It would ruffle too many feathers. Plucking one goose every now and then is one thing. If the entire flock is subjected to plucking – and at the same time – well, even geese have their limits.

. . .

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  1. Back in the time of the Double Nickel Shuffle, I probably drove two hundred thousand miles at speeds well above the five five…. probably half that at 75 plus. One ticket, a new to me car (Mercedes, awful hard to sense speed from road feel) down a mountain grade, speedo broke two days previously. Judge redicedd the fine and thanked me for my great driving record.

    I remember following, over a course of a couple years at least, the saga of a couple particular speed cameras on England’s M4 motorway. One poor sod got nicked on a regular basis. No one knows for certain, bit it seems likely it was HE who was responsible for the developmemt of the practice of “ringing”…. placing a discard tyre round the camera and post (they are low to the ground) slathering a signficant quantity of petrol into and upon it, and touching it with a match. It would take the infernal device out of commission for a week or two until the appropriate Board got round to replaceing the unit. It would function for some short time, then would get ringed again.

    It comes down to what the purpose or functioni of the police is determined to be. Is it keeping folks SAFE? Or is it all about collecting revenue? I think WE here all know which it is. When will THEY “get it”?

    • Tionico, you lucky dog you!! I used to get speeding tickets all of the time! At one point I had to drive really slow because I was in danger of having my license suspended due to points. I didn’t have any accidents on my record either. This was with four different vehicles too. A ’66 Chevy C-10 with a 283 engine and a 3 on the tree tranny, a ’68 Galaxy 500 4-door with a wimpy 302, a ’73 Monte Carlo, and an ’87 Cavalier Z-24. All of them were over 10 years old at the time except for the Z-24, but both the Monte Carlo and the Z-24 stilled looked very nice. I was a young guy back then though.

    • Tionico,
      They don’t have a reason to change as long as the majority of us accept the status quo, “and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

  2. If some act of mechanical rearrangement should occur to one of these automated cop cars, will there be a public memorial service to salute the fallen “hero”?

    • Hi Patrick, I would laugh my ass off if instead of seeing a highway sign glorifying a dead coproach, we would see signs honoring car # 1234 instead, because that would really piss them off! Of course, the State will create a rule stating that killing an automated coproach car is the same thing as killing a cop; therefore we mundanes unlucky enough to have an accident with one can be charged with coproachcarslaughter, and potentially spend the rest of our lives as actual slaves in a for-profit penitentiary.

          • No device has ever been invented that can equal the human nose, let alone a canine nose. Beyond that, no one will mourn a robot dog that won’t mourn a robot cop or car. Hackers will take all such silliness down, eventually.

  3. I can see one possible reason why this evil device might be deployed, and that would be to nudge more people into programmable vehicles.

    I say “programmable” instead of autonomous for one reason: Eventually, the idea would be that whenever a vehicle owner wants to go somewhere, he will need to program it into the vehicle before he is allowed to start the vehicle. And due to some rule that was passed back around 2014, it was deemed that all vehicles manufactured for sale after 2016 must have GPS tracking built in, so that all driving can be monitored by the National Spy Agency in real time. This will be a way they could examine where you are going in real time, and if some overlord within that entity decides you shouldn’t be allowed there, your vehicle will be set up to turn away, or to prevent the trip altogether.

  4. Take it to court. No court can convict without a witness that can be cross-examined. Automatic dismissal.
    Even if they convict, a law school failure could win on appeal.

    • Hi Bill,

      One way they get around this is to classify it as an administrative fine; in which case, the usual evidentiary requirements do not apply.

    • As things are now, the law enforcement officer’s statement on the ticket is usually accepted as 100% accurate without the need to present more evidence at trial.

      So you would need to provide counter-evidence against what is written on the ticket to even have a chance to examine the officer.

  5. It’s just a small step from “auto cop” to “Robotic Cop”. Of course the auto cop won’t fly past the cop unions. However, it might pass the wisdom of the courts if they can mount 50 calibers on the front fenders of the auto cop making it, I suppose, a Robo-cop. We must remember all cops, auto, robo or otherwise must be fully armed at all times.

    • London’s bobbies only recently got armed. Many of them refuse to open carry. I got this straight from one of them in person in 2003. The one I spoke to wouldn’t discuss his obvious absence of a side arm.

  6. We need to examine here what modern policing is for. One of the things it is for is keeping the social class hierarchy in order and keeping people in their assigned classes. This is what all these ticky tacky laws selectively enforced do. They are applied to those people over there when needed to make sure they know their place.

    Americans like it this way. They want those laws there so cops can roust people who don’t belong in the neighborhood and so on. The news media loves their human interest stories when the sympathetic character got enforced upon. When some cop broke the unwritten code of selection.

    I have argued with people who want robotic enforcement of traffic laws. And my response is unchanged. Do it. Go for it, but only 100%. No half-assing it. It has to be universal and unforgiving. And this is where most of the pro-automated enforcement people begin to breakdown. See, they want automated enforcement where it suits them. But even where it suits them can be hilarious.

    Ever see those news stories where people complained about ‘speeders’ on the ‘their’ street? As if these people were coming from 10 miles away to speed down their residential street. Well then the cops do a crackdown. And who gets nailed? The complainers and their neighbors mostly. Who else is driving there?

    Although my bring it on response is unchanged because I feel it will break the system and force its hand to being reasonable at this point in time I think the window is closing on it getting better. It’s becoming to where breaking the system will allow certain forces to make things much worse.

  7. We’d like to think real car people….people that truly appreciate what a car is and what it represents….would protect us from things like the atrocious vehicle in this piece, or other things like event data recorders.

    Ford should be ashamed of themselves.

  8. Won’t hold up in court Eric. Same as the Red Light Cameras.

    One has a right to confront their accuser. They may try this route but it will fail. In Az. they had cameras in parked vehicles on the side of the road. Their cars tended to get the windows broke out on a regular basis.

  9. It’ll never happen because the cop unions are too powerful and will do anything to protect their $200,000 per year jobs (median pay and perks in California), with even more for chiefs, followed by a 90% pension at 30 years.

  10. A buddy recommends we all vote Democrat or some other socialist idiot with the idea that we’ll get to the end sooner, like flogging a POS car at every stop light just so it’ll die. I guess auto-cop is a step in that direction.

  11. One of the reasons the US is collapsing now is that Americans think that decay will be stopped by becoming Fascists and Communists.

    Americans think the US will be improved by expanding wars, increasing the debt, and adding more tyranny when the reason the USA is crashing is because the US has wars, is in debt, and has a police state.

    Americans say that they love freedom, but then they turn around and say they need the government to give them free Obamacare, build a wall, protect the US from Yemen, wiretap their phones, arrest people for feeding the homeless, stop farmers from plowing fields, force people to get rid of dogs, ban vaping, and torture suspects.

    Every country has the government it deserves.

    • What do you mean “by becoming”? The GOP are rank and file motley crew of marxists just like their brethren in the DNC. The GOP just butters it up with talk about God and Guns and their retard voters just vote for them anyway. Texas, for instance, has become a progressive hell hole and has not moved out of the 1930’s. Tax payer money is used by the State to fund corporation’s projects and private property is taken at will with some hand wringing for show. Or, by another name, you could say Texas is a Fascist state which has been under works for some 30 years here or more. Whatever you want to call it, Texas is a State driven economy. We just have a thin veneer of freedom and a heckuva advertising campaign that Texas is somehow freer than the rest of the nation. We are not, we just have more complicit tax bodies with a pulse walking around, similar to Kalifornia.

      • Brazos, I have to agree with you. I am 68 years old and find almost no commonality with the Texas of the 50’s or 60’s…..or even the 70’s exists.

        I recall up until the latter 70’s, there was no love for federal anything.

        Now Trump has joined the anti-gun crowd along with many other GOPers… surprise since GOP presidents have gone after guns since Nixon… my lifetime. Everything’s gone downhill in a handcart since Reagan. He started his gun grabbing in Kalifornication and pushed it via back door methods while trying to show the world he was a cowboy from way back…..and this isn’t a push for anything Democrat either…..the flip side of the GOP.

        • I’m 37 and my father (70) grew up here in TX and the stories he tells seem like they are from another universe. Now they may be imbelished slightly but hey

      • Indeed: The only difference between the two major parties in the US is that one of them walks leftward, and the other runs leftward.

        When voting in the US, you are only voting for the speed at which things will move leftward.