Turn That Radio Down!

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Here’s an example of the way new cars nudge and parent and pre-empt and control us. When you put the gear selector into Reverse , the car turns the radio down or even off . . . for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety, of course.

The assumption, apparently, is that you’re too much of an imbecile to be capable of competently backing up the car while also listening to music, or even the news. So the car pre-empts you. Forces you to do what it thinks is best.

Rather, what the people who programmed it think best. Because some people are – apparently – imbeciles who can’t manage the task of backing up a car without the radio being turned down or off.

Understand this. The automated car future will be automated on the basis of the least common denominator; the most inept/feeble/addled/blind/stupid baseline imaginable. If you are a person whose skill and other capacities happen to be above this baseline, you will find it enraging as much as stifling.

If you haven’t read the short story, Harrison Bergeron, I recommend you do it.

Your next new car has already been programmed in accordance with its principles.

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. More pussifacation.

    “Remember last winter when you got into your new Ford SUV on a cold day and the icy seat belt froze you to death? Yeah, we don’t either, but Ford seems interested in making sure such a thing never happens. The company recently filed a patent application for a heated seat belt to help ensure the thin strip of fabric across your chest and lap stays toasty warm”

  2. I’ve been on oilfield construction sites more times than I could say. When there are a few companies there at the same time backup beepers are everywhere and that brings about a dangerous situation.

    I and others complained about it since some of us have to get out and do something to, in my case, a large truck. I might have to stand right beside it or behind it and getting run over gets to be a real possibility since there are backup beepers going all around and you can’t keep up. Like a lot of loud equipment operators, my ears no longer have the same abilities so judging distance by sound is fairly difficult and in some instances, impossible.

    A guy told me one day he’d been working on a site that was deafening and somebody got hurt. After a meeting all beepers were disabled.

    Of course that won’t happen in the oilfield since it’s common to have to sign a “safety document” every day even if all you’re doing is delivering one load or picking up a load.

    Cars will soon not only have backup cacaphony but a digital identifier you have to use just like safety compliance sheets, probably come with a built-in breathalyzer too which right now come with facial recognition so nobody can blow for you.

    Go into your favorite eatery, have a couple cold ones and be stuck for awhile.

    And the new breathalyzers also keep a record of pass /fails with date and timestamp. Probably keep the exact reading too.

    Just found this out because a good friend’s sister had one installed via court order. She shouldn’t be driving and may never again.

    Now her brother is betting she’ll rent a car.

    • Some nitwit Congresswoman actually did propose a federal mandate for breathalyzers in vehicles. So we’re ALL now on “DUI probation”!

      Just wait until some politician’s 80 y.o. mother, short on breath, can’t start her car because she can’t “blow” at all…it’d be like the seat belt interlocks mandated in all 1975 vehicles, which were not only annoying but often MALFUNCTIONED. Car makers were unhappy, motorists were unhappy, and Congress quickly scaled it back to that annoying 30 second buzzer. Methinks that might have brought a horde down on DC, pitchforks, torches, tar and feathers, all ready for their respective Congresspeople!

  3. We have an F250 at work, and if the driver’s seatbelt isn’t buckled, it will turn off the radio after about a minute. And it’s not even that new of a truck.

  4. Back when I daily drove my ’73 Maverick I would occasionally need to turn the radio off when I was on the Dan Ryan Expressway. See my 1973 Maverick isn’t much more advanced than a base 1959 Falcon or base 1965 Mustang. It was behind the times when it was new and by the 1990s it was way behind the performance curve of what I was dealing with on the road. Four wheel drum brakes just were not cut out to deal with 1990s cars driven by morons. It would have been on the low side of the bell curve in 1973 but in 1995 it was three or four standard deviations under the mean. I would turn off the radio so I could track the traffic around me where some it was going upwards of 85-90mph darting in and out of slower traffic.

  5. Sheesh! How much more are people willing to put up with? I suppose the next move will be to shut off the IC engine completely and instead use a 1-speed electric motor to slowly reverse the car. That way, “gearheads” don’t get distracted by “engine music” and try to floor it. lol

    • shush don’t give them any more stupid ideas. A maneuvering mote, might as well put a siren on it to be double safe, right? Oh shit, I just gave them an idea.

      • Whoops, my bad! lol Needless to say, though, “safety” has officially become a religion as opposed to a legitimate concern. Of course, the idea isn’t to protect us, but rather, to control us.


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