Wednesday, January 23, 2019

I just came from "one of those car things", and I get the distinct impression "they" want to make those cube cars to be like rolling karaoke pods. The whole thing was kinda weird so I'm going to be super vague about it for now.  Plus, I think I need to rewind the whole thing in my head and try to unpack it again. I might even delete this whole post tomorrow and start again.

It just feels like car companies are sort of out of ideas. They don't really know what we want from cars. It's confusing! I don't know why they just won't make them sleeper cars. It makes so much more sense.


  1. "I don't know why they just won't make them sleeper cars. "

    b/c they want something that they can put into production now. Fully self-driving cars are some undefined number of years away. (Probably at least 10 years) First they have to solve the technology, then they have to get govt to sign off.

    That's too far off. They need something that will make you want to buy a car now.

  2. Those cube cars are not "put into production" now cars. They are future cars. They would never meet the safety regulations. So.... same problem.

  3. "It just feels like car companies are sort of out of ideas ..."

    I'm actually seeing a very different paradigm here, and I'm not just showing off my knowledge of that word and Thomas Kuhn's book about it. :-)

    What is breaking lots and lots of things from the individual purchaser's perspective is something that's hidden by design: the individual purchaser is no longer the only party with a major stake in the purchase.

    A lot of the IoT stuff in vehicles goes toward entertainment systems and Internet connectivity for the individual purchaser, but a lot of stuff that benefits the manufacturer, the loan company, and the insurance company gets crammed in as well. In many ways, they are the real major stakeholders in new designs.

    Which gets me to an interesting point: I don't really want to buy anything new.

    I want to sell off everything that even smells a bit like 21st Century Idealism and pick up that little British runabout from the 1960s that is fun and challenging to drive.

    This is not the result of a bit of nostalgia, but instead a bit of sense percolating up through the stack of normalized expectations that are based on absurdities I hadn't really thought about.

    My current "deer in the headlights" moment comes to me Live and Direct(tm) from an observation that I'm pretty sure Mister S will balk at, but has a lot of mass behind it.

    Which is this: I'm pretty sure there's too much code being written, and I'm pretty sure the "end-users" of that code are not the individual purchasers of any particular product.

    That's exactly what Snarkie's "sleeper car" on wheels instead of tracks is about if you think about it a bit in detail.

    Instead of purchasing a vehicle that is under your control and that is your responsibility, the "sleeper car" has to rely on a form of constantly negotiated consensus reality which is the product of a merging of corporate and government power, in effect being a representation of collectivist will.

    The problem with this vision is that I've just provided the working definition for the form of socialism that presents itself as fascism, or as the anarcho-capitalist or agorist would say, I've just shown you a vision of the automated vehicle as the product of a pure statist society.

    You don't get to own or control such a vehicle, because you are no longer the primary stakeholder when it comes to that vehicle. All kinds of special pleaders are now the primary stakeholders, and they will insist on all kinds of funky and freaky code that means that you can't modify the product so it'll be Three Laws Safe (guffaw) on the roads.

    And that's why I'd be completely OK with moving to some island country where I can motor around in a Caterham SV170 in Lotus 7 bright yellow -- the interfaces may suck to a degree that requires a considerable amount of skill to overcome, but they are at least under my control. Should my reflexes and vision begin to fail, I would be better off the roads entirely than to persist with some absurd belief that all I need is to push my future driving incompetence somewhere else as some kind of invented economic externality.

    But I think of all of the layers of trust that this would involve and I have to wonder who's trying to fool us with grand visions of all of this coming together just so ...

    That's really what I had in mind with the "hypernormalization" thing from Adam Curtis, BTW. His "Pandora's Box" series from the early 1990s is pretty good for a view of this as well.

  4. But I get what the "sleeper car" thing is now ...

    I'd rather be able to hire a driver who can drive me around.

    During the nicer weather of last year, I made it as far as Chicago, and I've been through a lot of towns along the way. There's a lot of pretty scenery along the roads, but I'm not sold on those towns.

    I've seen a lot of small farmer agriculture that's totally dead as well as a lot of agribusiness putting up factory crops, especially in Southern Illinois.

    The reason I started selling off the rest of the vehicles is that I don't particularly enjoy driving here. This is not Jim Kunstler's "Happy Motoring America" with a Howard Johnson's restaurant every ten exits and a Stuckey's conveniently located next to the Florida Turnpike.

    There are lots and lots and lots and lots of dead motels, most of which can be found in CrapTowns(tm) nowhere near the interstates. There's enough of this that I can appreciate rolling into Knoxville now, even though it used to be a crap city that cleaned up its act after the 1982 World's Fair.

    "Flyover Country" isn't Omaha, BTW -- it's what you get into when you're way the hell out beyond Council Bluffs in some town that America tried to forget. There are a lot of these towns, and the only ones that America tried to remember are next to some pretty scenery that America cherishes for some reason or another.

    But I get the temptation of wanting a "sleeper car" even though it is probably the Future Vehicle of the Socialist Masses that Dwan has joked about ...

    I get it every time I roll into Valdosta and think about the shitty drive up to Chattanooga on I-75 where the only pleasant interruptions are fuel stops and the occasional outlet mall I wander around just so I can get some exercise. Now I just do it another way -- I go up US 331 and I-59 so I can stop and get some Alabama BBQ of the non-pork variety wherever it's available.

    So perhaps this is really a class thing in disguise, but a class thing from the perspective of statists: if you can't afford to have your own professional driver, but you can afford a highly automated vehicle that's not really yours and not ever entirely under your control, then you too can have this vision of Happy Motoring America: The Sequel.

    There are just too many moving parts and too much code involved with this, all of which screams of me being the passenger held hostage and not the active participant in much the same way that I'm held captive by the American health care system whenever I have to deal with it ...

    You don't really think you get to tell your doctor what you really want and that your doctor actually listens to it all, do you?

    There's always some admin bastard or some insurance company scumbag who's really calling the shots, and all of those layers upon layers of such things as "medical coding" aren't there for your benefit, they're there so the other stakeholders can benefit while providing a (hopefully accurate enough) simulacrum of genuine care.

    I'm not even being cynical here.

    It's just that I accept that a lot of crappy experiences in America are the result of people thinking that they'd prefer a passive role to an active role.

    Maybe that's what's behind your idea that there are a lot of people out there who would prefer not to fix things ...

    BTW, I'd been cleared for flying again, which I'd somehow forgotten to mention. It's now unlikely to lead to a collapsed lung or some other awful outcome, but flying had been out of the question for a long time because of my health ...

    So there's that at least -- apparently I don't suck at fixing myself. :-)

  5. "I'd rather be able to hire a driver who can drive me around."

    I already have a driver who will drive me around. We have recently started calling him HUBER. Husband Uber. And he cares a lot about his feed back rating.

    I don't think those are my reasons for wanting a sleep car. If I can't drive 100 MPH to shave an hour from L.A. or Vegas, I might as well sleep my way though it. I love the idea of driving around the country. it just takes a really damn long time to get to the good stuff as you say. But I also love a bit of decay.

    I know these people think this cars will be socialized. And they even say it outright. But there is nothing so far in human behavior to make me feel like that is a reality. Ubers were suppose to take cars off the road. They did not. They just financed new cars for people. But....... good luck being a luddite. ;)))) Just teasing.