It's true. I fully intend to be a cantankerous, dirty old man. When I hit ninety, all bets are off. And, according to my reaction to certain modern technology, I may be well on my way. Automated, not-on-rails, "is capable of going crazy and smashing into your house filled with half a hundred screaming people" transportation scares me. It's a control thing, I guess. I don't even really like cruise control, to tell you the fuller, curmudgeonier truth. I found this link
in my morning cup of slashdot. (Yes, my 'morning' cup. I'm sick, damnit, so I slept in.) I do not believe that buses should be allowed to steer themselves. I'm not sure why I feel so strongly about it. I'm a geek, for crying out loud. I've been working with computers for a long time now, and I've always looked forward to the next technological whosawhatsit to come along. But planes and buses controlling themselves... that idea scares the hell out of me. Maybe I've seen terminator too many times? Maybe since most of my work with computers has been dealing with what happens when they don't do what they're supposed to, I'm less likely to trust that "No, _this_ time It'll work perfectly, honest!". Maybe I've heard too many horror stories about auto-pilot refusing to disengage, or sensors malfunctioning... Or maybe it's just a control thing.
The frustrating part is that I am fully aware that it's statistically safer (and not by just a little bit, either) for computers to make decisions. Humans make poor decisions... a LOT of poor decisions. We're famous for it, even. (I dare you to contest that) When we have car wrecks, it's usually because a human felt an overpowering urge to get their stupid on. Planes are safer, but that might well be because there's a lot less stuff to run into up in the sky, and not simply because of the tighter controls and better training required for pilots. (Hi Vicki!) Nevertheless, the idea of a bus or a plane making it's own decisions as to where to go or how to get there scares the crap out of me. Or maybe it's that despite the fact that the idea of a bus or plane being controlled by something that could be flummoxed by a stray 1 or 0 taking a bite out of a byte, humans are so very bad at it, in general, that lives will actually be saved by humans being taken out of the loop. (I hope it's scary to other people, anyway. Otherwise I'm just a lonely, sad, paranoid, crackpot) Maybe that's what bugs me... Hrmmm... fucking human pride. Anyway, I'm going to go have some pizza now, and trust that the driver from Pizza Mambo will be a person, and will not sneeze and drive into my house.
mood: None of your damned business!