Ford Fiesta: The Honking, 2010

July 21, 2010

This is just wrong. Morally, socially, technically and in all other ways. This is what happens when society--hold on, let me rephrase that--automotive geek society goes unchecked and the robots and the geeks are in cahoots. This is what happens when computer geeks intermingle with automotive engineers, both of whom probably spend too much time in front of their computers and have had their genetic codes warped by too much screen radiation.

What am I taking about? Why did my wife allow me to have an espresso after dinner when that was clearly not the prudent course of action in the post-dinner phase, which is enabling this online rant? I am talking about an article I read that irked me. It concerned two topics I am involved with: social networking and almost all things automotive.

The article was in The New York Times (see the link below) and spoke about a Ford Fiesta that was tweeting its experiences as it drove from Michigan to the Maker Faire. It let its followers know what it was up to, what it was thinking and, uh, feeling. I know what you’re thinking--this is worse than HAL in the Kubrick classic. HAL at least tried to kill people, you knew where you stood. But this Fiesta is trying to get all friendly and be your friend. I don’t think the man-machine interface was meant to be this way. I am a fan of the client-server relationship, where I am the client.

The Honking 

don’t like it when there is some kind of weird cross-breeding. At first it made me think of that fantastic Futurama Episode, The Honking, where Bender becomes a “werecar” and we see how cars take on a personality. Then I thought that would be insulting to the creators of Futurama.

I will admit that the technology and idea behind this stunt is quite impressive and really deserves a second look. It could be the future of how cars communicate with each other and the drivers so we all don’t blow our tops or that we at least know the jerk in the SUV switching lanes with anger and vehemence is having a crappy day, so we other drivers should all just stay away.

Read the article, see if you agree with me that some borders were not meant to be crossed that have been. Oh, and check out reruns of The Honking from Futurama. It’s great if you’re a car fan. Or not.

[The New York Times]

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