At one point in my life, I loved driving. While never behind the wheel of a British, Italian, German or even Japanese sports car, the well-sprung Hondas I owned provided highly satisfactory driving experiences when I acted on my urge to push the envelope.
Accompanied by the sounds of a deep-breathing engine flexing its muscles, I would row through the gears, judiciously applying the throttle and brake, flattening out curves by riding their apex—it was great fun.
So when I first heard of autonomous cars, I blanched. You mean a computer is going to control my car? It reminded me of the kiddie cars I rode at carnivals, which moved safely at litigation-proof speeds on a pre-ordained path underneath a metal canopy with faded and peeling paint.
Even at the tender age of six, I saw this charade as a bloodless imitation of the real thing and never rode them again.
But times change, don't they?
I now drive professionally, and have grown the loathe the act. Surrounded by packs of motorists convinced they have thirty minutes to complete three-hours worth of errands, I suffer tailgaters, the distracted, the impatient and the stupid.
Upon hearing the concerns of those who question the legalization of marijuana as it relates to the operation of a motor vehicle, I respond that we already are driving under the influence. All of us. Every day.
So autonomous cars now seem like a really, really good idea. Even if they put me out of a job. And in the wake of last night's events in London, they now seem like an even better one.
In the escalating tech war that seeks to eliminate terrorism, terrorists now resort to employing everyday objects as weapons. Cars and trucks have become their weapons du jour.
And the sad fact is that an autonomous vehicle—which strips the driver of the ability to drive—would seriously impair the ability of terrorists to do what they have done in Nice, Berlin, Stockholm, New York City and now for a second time in London.
What does it say about us that the only way to keep us safe is by relieving us of our free will?
With so many in America seeking to reduce the numbers of those currently in prison, how ironic is it that terrorism is slowly turning the entire world into one?