The intrinsic dumbness of connected cars, part 2


Picture this: you’re driving home from work, doing something completely useless.

No, wait: the correct, complete quote from “Cars of the Future Will Sell Your Data” is:

“Picture this: You’re driving home from work, contemplating what to make for dinner, and as you idle at a red light near your neighborhood pizzeria, an ad offering $5 off a pepperoni pie pops up on your dashboard screen.

Apparently, this picture should prompt you to ask yourself: “Are you annoyed that your car’s trying to sell you something, or pleasantly persuaded?”

The right answer, of course, is: “None of the above. Why should I be so dumb to pay thousands dollars more for a car, only to get the same service that the smartphone I already own can already provide, very likely with a better interface too?”

Car salespeople would surely answer that integrating those functions in the car would make driving much easier, and even easier if you bought a self driving car. But that answer would be as technically correct as incomplete, because it would miss at least three things:

  1. you driving home with your spouse or kids, and as you idle at a red light, an ad offering $5 off any purchase from your usual S&M sex shop pops up on your dashboard screen. Picture THIS, not pizza.
  2. the number of thiefs that could know which car in the street they should crack first, by just cracking “trunk sensors that see if you bought anything when you went to the mall”
  3. you, with a 5-year old tablet glued to your dashboard, still stuck in traffic just like today:
The intrinsic dumbness of connected cars, part 2 /img/car-of-future-still-in-traffic.png
The car of the future: so smart that it sells your data, while keeping you stuck in traffic, exactly like the much cheaper car you owned before

On a strictly related subject, please have a careful look at this snapshot of a self driving car, from the same article:

The intrinsic dumbness of connected cars, part 2 /img/self-driving-car-uncomfortable.png
Please have an UNcomfortable seat, while I sell your data

to picture something else. While the car is ordering vibrators, er I mean pizzas, the “driver” must remain as passive (read: bored) as if he were in the passenger seat, but without stretching legs or arms as any passenger not stuck between a steering wheel and pedals can do. Picture sitting still like that, every time you “drive”.

Cars that are “smart” and “connected” in ways that sell your data to even more companies than today are BAD. Cars that do that to give you something that you could and should get much more cheaply and comfortably are bad AND DUMB. That whole article is just one more series of examples of the useless crap inside connected cars.

The smart way to protect your personal car data is to not generate “personal car data”. Not in those amounts and for those reasons, at least. The really smart way to use really smart and yes, self-driving cars, is to call and manage them like trains.

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