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Jeff Bezos wants your toilet to be Alexa-enabled . . . because there's just not enough surveillance in that driverless car
Selling your autonomy one wireless screen at a time.
Earlier today, Dan told you about that new GM "thing" that doesn't have a steering wheel. I hesitate to call it a car, because to me a "car" is something you drive. Whatever GM's threatening to make, it's not a car. Call it a conveyance, a transport device, or a rolling ride machine. Just, please, don't lump it in with the GTO, the Challenger, or the Mustang. This, I'm sorry to say, "ain't that."
GM's monstrosity is closer to the homicidal "Johnny Cab" than it is to a car.
Dan also mentioned that he knew "someone" who was leery of driverless cars from a political perspective. That someone is me. I think your government would LOVE nothing more than a future where every vehicle was connected to, controlled by, and tracked via federally accessible GPS systems. The idea that you may be headed toward a world where you are never again off their grid and in control of your own movement is music to their ears.
That's not to say I don't get the appeal. The idea that a family of four could hop into their robot, punch in a destination, break out the Monopoly board and play a 5-hour game while they ride to Grandma's house is unarguably enticing. In fact, I'm all for it, as long as it's an option.
...But how many things started off as "options" only to become "necessities" for the sake of convenience. Is it that hard to imagine a future where insurance is astronomically expensive - but still mandatory - for human operated cars? How about an America where certain roads are "driverless only?" What if driving is outlawed, except in cases of historic vehicles, for the "safety" of driverless passengers?
Then, only Lee Majors would be able to drive and they'd have to send a jet to kill him!
Obviously, I'm being facetious but think about the gear you already own.... Your phone can track you, your TV watches you, your laptop, PC, and Google record your online activities. Couple all of that with a government which has made its disdain for the 4th Amendment clear, and you've got a recipe for any one of a dozen nightmarish "Black Mirror" episodes.
Yet, it's not fiction. It's all reality, and it's all happening right now. Handing over your privacy was, in fact, one of last year’s hottest Christmas gifts. You give your DNA because it's fun, you beg your friends and family for machines that surveil your home, and there's a good chance you have something around the house that's Alexa or Echo enabled - an always-on, always-listening, device that supposedly makes your life easier.
The sad thing is that none of this is paranoia. I'm not a Luddite. I love gadgets and technology. But it's pretty clear that we're selling our autonomy one portable screen at a time.
If you're looking to continue this trend, allow me to recommend the utterly-horrific Alexa Toilet. You can talk to it, it can probably order its own toilet paper, and (thanks to the always-connected microphones) Jeff Bezos is always listening to ...whatever you do in there.
Will it scan your droppings for signs of disease, your favorite foods, your blood alcohol level, or your genetic makeup? Not yet. ...But give it time. That's the promise of the future.
That, and jetpacks.