Friday, January 25, 2013

Autocorrecting Driving?

I'm frequently amused by the substitutions made by iPhones when they're trying to automatically make corrections.  The phenomenon has spawned a series of websites, and one of the funnier posts I've seen is on the right.

The reason I bring it up today is because of the posts I've been reading discussing the concept of "driverless" cars.  There's been some talk on the subject in the last day or two from  Paul Krugman and Felix Salmon. I've been thinking about it a bit because of the safety concerns that have cropped up here in Sonoma regarding pedestrians in crosswalks.  By some accounts, the technology is now at a point where your car can detect whether someone's in the road (crosswalk) in front of you, and slow your car down, automatically. Further, the technology has the potential to dramatically increase the capacity of roadways through platooning, which has important consequences from an urban planning perspective. 

However, while I am impressed with the potential of the new technologies, I must express a certain degree of skepticism concerning how quickly its benefits will be achieved.  After the perils of autocorrect, Siri, and Maps on the iPhone, I think caution is prudent for us all ...