Re: Pervasive Computing Environments

From: Brock Hinzmann (
Date: Sat Jan 05 2002 - 02:02:01 EET

Glyn Churchman wrote:
>Did you have the crash because you were distracted by the technology >onboard or have you become unable to drive (because all this stuff is thinking and >doing for you) and the car's computer malfunctioned? Can you really "opt out" (if you >stay involved in society) when all this technology has you in its clutches >and everyone requires it?

Driving While Distracted is already a problem (and one for which you can be cited, in some cities and states). Some people are trying to overcome it by creating smaller, wearable, hands-free devices. The problem is less physical than it is being mentally distracted, however. I suspect it will get worse before it gets better, by having more of the devices do things for you.

Unfortunately, we can already see the disadvantages of having devices do things for you. By disconnecting the person from the road, through drive-by-wire and other technologies that remove the physical sense of our environment, we are already losing the ability to drive safely. In some cases, we drive recklessly, because we are overconfident about the safety systems (ABS, crashworthiness) built into the vehicle. In other cases, and I think this is increasing, we simply do not know that we are driving in an unsafe manner, because we no longer have a feel for the weight and momentum or top-heavyness of our oversized vehicles. In the future, I suspect this problem will also get worse.

Finally, opting out is very difficult. Even rural people in the least-industrialized countries of the world are beginning to find this out. If you exist on the face of the planet, someone will find you and enter something personal about you into the system. Some people will keep trying to reduce the complexity in their lives to the most basic means possible, while, sooner or later, most will use some sort of cost/benefit analysis to opt in to at least some of the new technology.
Brock Hinzmann
Technology Navigator

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