Autonomous Cars: Until Death Do Us Part

Herbie The Love Bug

Does your car “love you? In the future, it might.

As deep learning algorithms get smarter and more complex to pilot autonomous cars — a simple dilemma might disrupt everything:

If your autonomous car while driving encounters four children suddenly running across the road just before you enter a tunnel, would your car swerve to protect the children and hit the side of tunnel to potentially kill you? Or would it run over the children?

The future of autonomous car will be fixated on this dilemma. The autonomous car sales man and sales woman will be selling the “bond” between you and car — more than selling the features, looks, and speed. Car sales women and men will be selling “affinity” — and doing matchmaking of riders to cars.

More than auto repair shops, there might also arise a time where automobile “attitude adjustment” shops pop up to tweak the “bond” or “affinity” to the owner and passengers of the car. Of course these will null and void insurance policies if discovered and these illegal data science shops to increase correlation of decision making towards those on the inside of the car than those on the outside — would appear as factory errors and defects. Those that do this face potential blacklisting as future autonomous car customers and employable data scientists.

This is akin to currently buying a cutting edge smart phone say in the USA and having a hacker “crack it” to be used in Asia. It null and voids the warranty and occasionally “bricks” the phone from being useful.

As a child my favorite Disney movie featured “Herbie the Love Bug” — not to be confused with the one with Lindsey Lohan.

Herbie was a 1969 Volkswagen Bug or Beetle painted while with a single blue and red racing stripe and the number fifty-three encircled in black on both the drives, passenger side door and hoed. Herbie would “bond” with his owner, sometimes even getting jealous of potential new cars, and remarkably even for being a Volkswagen Bug be able to win car races — including the Monte Carlo Rally. Herbie was an autonomous car who loved to improvise. In the original Herbie was sawed or cut in two and won 1st and 3rd place in the same race.

But never in the series of films including “Herbie Goes Bananas” set in Mexico did Herbie have to make a decision to keep the driver alive or safe over others.

In the future, if an accident happens that kills or injures a passengers or driver — it might “psychologically” block that owner from ever purchasing that brand again.

Which things up another dilemma — how long would the normal “life” of a car last? Would it be similar to the life of a pet? Seven years?

What about used cars? As drivers and passengers are different from household to household will some choose to keep the existing “soul” or reboot with a “newborn”? Is it cheaper to keep the existing one?

Autonomous cars and their “deep learning souls” could be passed down as heirlooms from generation to generation much like the family name.

As Aretha Franklin once sang, ”Welcome to the Freeway of Love.