Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for January 7th, 2010

Internet Demolition Derby

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I’ve been loosely following the announcements coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show out in Viva Las Vegas (when I’m not trying to get all the skinny on the UT/Alabama matchup this evening!).

Hook ’em Horns…and shut that Alabama defense do-owwnnn. (a man can dream, can’t he?)!

You remember that game between UT and USC a few years back?  ‘Nuff said.  Anything is possible.

Anyway, I saw the news emerging from CES that suggested automakers are partnering with some high tech companies like Intel and Google to bring Internet-connected computers to cars.

This literally as a number of states/cities’ laws recently kicked in prohibiting texting whilst driving.

First off, I’m guilty of the latter, and I’m glad the new law is in place here in Austin because now I won’t even be tempted.

I’ve definitely almost had a couple of rear-end collisions due to texting while driving, and I realized after my last near miss experience it was time to hang up the Tweeting behind the wheel (or any mobile surfing of any sort, for that matter).

I’m not sure that putting a high-def video display in the dashboard is a big improvement, unless it’s completely speech driven…and maybe not even then.

Ashlee Vance and Matt Richtels’ New York Times story on the topic reveals the good and bad of marrying car and computer, and MIT professor Nicholas Ashford summarizes the trend best with this quote: “Unfortunately and sadly, it is continuation of the pursuit of profit over safety — for both drivers and pedestrians.”

Hey, I got an idea.  While we’re at it, how about we go ahead and get airline pilots the latest X-box to put in their cockpits!  That way, they can work on their reaction times by playing twitch games at 38,000 feet!

“Whoops, would ya look at that??  We missed the airport by 150 miles!!”

Surely with all our newfangled GPS technology, THAT could never happen, now could it???

If this trend continues, I’m seriously going to consider going back to school here in Austin, to the UT law school, so I can specialize in bringing class action suits against large automobile companies.

Because by about the time I graduate, I suspect there will be a buffalo herd of legal opportunities.

I’m all for having information everywhere, but at the end of the day this is a safety issue.

The Times article reveals that back in 2003, a Harvard study estimated even with the limited multitasking (there weren’t nearly as many smartphones then) on mobile cellphones that they still caused 2,600 fatal accidents and 570,000 accidents involving injuries a year.

And a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study revealed this shocker of shockers: The longer a motorist looks away from the road…the more exponential likelihood of a crash or near crash.

All for not looking at the road in front of them?  Really?!

I’m as much a technology junkie as the best of them, but as these technologies start to merge at the intersection of the virtual information superhighways with our real interstates, I fear our highways may very well start to resemble something out of Mad Max as folks try to Tweet their way behind the wheel to the nearest Starbucks.

I say bring back the CB radio, and fast — it was the original social media!

“10-4, good buddy.  Put the hammer down and keep an eye out for all them band aid buggies, ’cause instead o’ shakin’ the trees you’re gonna wanna pray the gumball machines have got yo 20!”

Written by turbotodd

January 7, 2010 at 7:03 pm

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