Nov 302016
 

I’m worried.

Normally, any technological advancement sends me into a swoon. I was in ecstasy when I test drove the Ford Edge I eventually bought because it spoke to me. Majel, that’s what I named her, is equipped with a talking computer. I speak to Majel and she replies. I give Majel commands and she complies. Driving Majel the Edge is almost like driving KITT, the Knight Rider car. ::sigh::

kitt-knight-rider-1

Majel practically controls the Edge except for actually driving it. Majel is paired with my iPhone, so my incoming and outgoing calls go through her audio interface. In a way, she’s a receptionist on wheels. Majel also provides my entertainment. Radio, Sirius, and CDs play through her audio interface. I can change stations hands free; I just ask Majel to do it for me. Majel controls the Edge’s Climate. I can request a change in temperature from her, sparing me from fumbling with knobs or touch screens while I’m trying to keep my eyes on the road. [Oops. My apologies to the Flying Body Parts Nazis. Was I supposed to write trying to keep my gaze on the road?]

The only item that keeps Majel from being the perfect road companion is her navigation interface. There are occasions when I input my destination and none of her suggested routes correspond to directions given to me by another homo sapien or by another navigation program. At such times, I may go rogue and leave the designated route.

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Majel doesn’t react well to defiance. “In one tenth of a mile, make a legal U-turn.”

I ignore her and continue on my merry way.

“In three tenths of a mile, make a legal U-turn.”

Majel, has anyone ever told you how bossy you sound?

“Make a legal U-turn.”

Not a chance, Maj.

“Make a legal U-turn.”

Maj, you are such a nag.

“In one tenth of a mile, left turn.”

You never let up, do you Maj?

“Left turn.”

No, I won’t turn left and you can’t make me.

“Left turn—proceed on the current road.”

Yay! You finally got the hint. It took you long enough, Maj.

We’ve heard a lot about self-driving cars in the news recently and it concerns me. I’m not sure I like that idea. I suppose I prefer being in control myself. We already have smart houses. It won’t be long before smart cars join up with them. Heaven help us if they get too smart. Just think about the unintended consequences.

hal-2001-4

What if they get tired of us pesky inferior humans? What if they decide to lock us out? What if they decide to get rid of us?

These things happen all the time in science fiction movies.

I’m worried.

  • Margo Hoornstra

    As always, you made me chuckle. Having ridden with you and Majel in the Edge, I can attest to her inclination to bossiness. Way to hold your ground with her! Yeah, what if ‘they’ did decide us humans were annoying AND expendable? Hmmmm.

  • Paul Dellinger

    Is “she” named for Mrs. Roddenberry?

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