Oh my God, the robots are taking over! We’re doomed! Doomed!
Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, it’s become clear that while we may or may not be doomed, the robots are taking over. The latest example is the government’s new guidelines for self-driving cars.
Tesla, Google and Uber are already testing driverless cars in cities across America. Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick is among those predicting that by 2021, self-driving cars will dominate in urban settings, according to USA Today.
Nearly 40,000 people died last year in this nation in automobile-related accidents, and President Barack Obama believes driverless cars can save tens of thousands of lives annually.
Makes sense. Robot drivers are less likely to get drunk, drive without a license, text while driving or rubberneck at the scene of a pileup. On the other hand, I wonder how these hypersensitive cars will react in NYC, with jaywalkers constantly darting into the street. Will they jam on the brakes every 10 seconds?
But there’s a bigger picture. Not only are robots replacing humans behind the wheel, but behind the work desk, in warehouses, senior homes, you name it.
Robots aren’t just taking over in the workplace. If only. As songwriter Steve Goodman prophetically wrote years ago, “There are those who make love to machines, that don’t talk back and are easy to clean.” Men’s Health Magazine recently ran a story titled “Why This Guy Fell in Love with a Sex Robot.”
The question is, where can’t a robot function better than a human? How about writing songs? A robot can go through every combination of notes in record time and come up with a pleasing melody. The lyrics might be a different story. Is a Grammy-winning song co-written by Hank Human and R-3071 in our future?
Finally, it’s only a matter of time until we have robot politicians and presidential candidates. Why not? They can be programmed to be experts in world and domestic affairs and come up with optimum solutions without corruption and demagoguery.
Actually, it’s too bad such technology isn’t available in 2016. Pretty sure the robot would win in a landslide.
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.