Monday, May 25, 2015

Things Drive Mankind

The push for self-driving cars seems to be picking up steam. I hardly even knew they were a thing.

If such a thing were to come to a pass, I would predict that it would not end well. Apparently, self-driving cars make driving much safer -- considerably so, even. Yet they would also further render us as programmed automatons. We would be safer and yet more miserable. 

The whole point of applied science and the conquest of nature was to put man in the driver's seat in his environment, to shape and subject Nature according to his will. But as C.S. Lewis observed a century ago in The Abolition of Man, man's conquest of nature really turns out to mean the conquest of the mass of humanity by a select few, with Nature as the instrument. Soon then, it would be the computer in the literal driver's seat, programmed by a few engineers and congressmen, with you and I as the passenger. And we would lose the shallow assurance we once had, that we are the masters of our fates, with technology as our dutiful servant. The first poor shlub who gets driven off of a cliff to prevent multiple fatalities, or locked into a shipping container, will know that.

Or perhaps, like so many great plans of the elites, it will all come to nothing. I remember hearing over twenty years ago about how we would all have flying cars by now.