Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) rolled out its self-driving car this week, asking users to let the data company have control and trust in the technology company. The new car does not include a steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedal or any human control devices.
“Soulless killing machine”
“Does no one else get that if you were going to design a soulless killing machine it would look EXACTLY like this?” Tweeted Politico columnist Ben White.
The Disneyesque “Love Bug” design is replete with what one might interpret as a smiling face on the grill. The move ushers in automation a new level of societal automation without providing the user an easy method to control their Google experience, apparently in keeping with the corporate protocol of user management.
Google may be making two major mistakes. In releasing the car and not providing consumers the option to drive or take control under any circumstance, they have overestimated the acceptance self driving cars may have in society, a big leap particularly for people accustomed to having control over the driving experience. As radical new technology is introduced, are consumers so confident in Google’s technology that they would entrust their lives to a driverless car without the option to override its technology? This is a major gamble that could be easily overcome by adding an option for user control.
In Google we trust
But Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) taking control without input from users relates to the second issue. Can consumers trust Google, who has stealthy collected and analyzed data coming from YouTube usage to the content of e-mails for purposes of monetization? Introducing a radical new technology into society without providing user’s the easy method to opt out of that technology appears to correlate with the difficulty one has managing Google’s online applications with a desire to remain anonymous.
Google touts benefits
“Just imagine: You can take a trip downtown at lunchtime without a 20-minute buffer to find parking,” Chris Urmson, director of Google’s Self-Driving Car Project, wrote in a blog post. “Seniors can keep their freedom even if they can’t keep their car keys. And drunk and distracted driving? History.”
Just imagine, driving down the road and a computer glitch caused by any of thousands of reasons places the car’s occupants in danger and there is no option but to ride the Google roller coaster into oblivion.
When they designed the car, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) engineers didn’t consider style or comfort. “We started with the most important thing: safety,” the blog post said. The cars “have sensors that remove blind spots, and they can detect objects out to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions, which is especially helpful on busy streets with lots of intersections. And we’ve capped the speed of these first vehicles at 25 mph.”
As hackers are documented to have the ability to take remote control of a car’s steering and brakes through the car’s computer operating system, and hacking attacks into the most secure government and financial service institutions persist, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) sees no problem with asking people to nonetheless entrust a computer to take 100% control of the driving experience. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s willingness to trust its technology so completely comes as a new report says the US is falling behind in cyber security.
The technology firm who is documented to have provided the NSA access to US citizens private messaging without notifying their users might be going a little too far, a little too fast with their automated driving ambitions.