Love, Sex & Robots: Fostering Human Connection in Autonomous Driving

Communication & Care

Drilling down another level, how do you start predicting the outcome?  How do you learn how to regain control if you choose to temporarily give it away?  The key is having a consistent dialogue between both or all parties.  Like any relationship, when there’s a shift in the dynamic, the unspoken rule is you two (or more, I don’t judge) need to have some good face time and process it together.  Everyone needs to be heard and acknowledged.  You start to become comfortable with the unknown once you realize that the community around you will not only communicate any new changes with you ahead of time, but that you’re not the only one who values your safety.  

In times of uncertainty, I know I can trust my partner to acknowledge my feelings and put them into consideration as we make critical decisions together.”

Now, here’s another problem: for most drivers with any sort of passion, their love language when it comes to driving is physical touch. That’s why all the gearheads have been less than enthused about robocars. There’s literally nothing to grab ahold of!  Nothing to sink my teeth into! The sense of haptic fulfillment is completely erased in the sterility of autopilot. This brings us to the top half of the pyramid: self-actualization, freedom, and esteem. Racing is a great example of this. In the most watered-down sense, the point of racing is to test the true performance of car and driver. Everything is meant to be “to spec” as to level the playing field, and the results are directly tied to driver performance almost exclusively.  Racing creates such passionate fans and a cult following because it excites that sense of freedom and passion. You’re free to make mistakes, you’re free to exceed limits and prevail.  You’re free. 

And that’s something autonomous driving really strips away from the driving experience. Instead of instant feedback and gratification…a real, raw, dynamic…well, you get the “fluorescent lightbulb” experience. Completely utilitarian and flat.  Now, that still goes without saying that there are benefits to this experience.  Not having to worry about our commute in traffic?  Good thing.  However, the natural consequence of that is the passion that comes with manual connection is stripped away as well. Not a good thing.  This is why I say autonomy needs to focus on building relations. Aside from getting from point A to point B in the most efficient way, there needs to be a reintegration of that trademark driver freedom. 

Give me some real-time data I can work with. Give me some feedback on my performance and how I can improve. I want a partner on the road.  A coach even.  So, how do we replicate a sense of freedom and self-esteem in a driving experience that really doesn’t need you? You create something that doesn’t *need* you, but simply one that desires you.  Once that cultivates intimacy.  

But don’t just take my word for it.  I’m only human, after all.  So, in order to see multiple perspectives on this complex topic, I wanted to interview a robot and see what ChatGPT has to say on the matter.  Check it out.

Thanks so much for joining us today. Can you tell me a bit about your background?

I am a large language model called ChatGPT, created by OpenAI. I have been trained on a diverse set of internet text, so that I can understand and respond to a wide range of questions and prompts. My knowledge cut-off is 2021, so I may not have information on the latest events or developments. However, I will do my best to provide helpful and accurate responses.

What is your experience with autonomous vehicles?

As a language model, I do not have experience or physical capabilities, I have been trained on a large dataset of text, including information about autonomous vehicles. I can provide information and answer questions about various aspects of autonomous vehicles, such as their technology, development, and potential applications. Additionally, I can provide information on related topics like sensor technology, perception algorithms, and machine-learning techniques used in autonomous vehicles. However, I should note that my knowledge cut-off is 2021, so the information I provide may not be up-to-date.

What is your opinion on autonomous vehicles?

As a language model, I do not have the ability to have personal opinions. I can provide information and answer questions about autonomous vehicles and the technology behind them, but I do not have the ability to express personal opinions or feelings. However, it is important to note that Autonomous vehicles has the potential to improve safety on the roads and increase mobility for people who are unable to drive, such as the elderly or disabled. Additionally, autonomous vehicles could reduce traffic congestion and decrease the number of accidents caused by human error. However, there are also concerns about the technology, such as the potential for job loss in the transportation sector and the need for significant infrastructure improvements to support the widespread use of autonomous vehicles.

Where do you see autonomous driving in 5 years? Do you think it will be further adopted? Why or why not?

The development and adoption of autonomous vehicles is a rapidly evolving field, and it is difficult to predict exactly where it will be in five years. However, based on current trends and developments, it is likely that the technology will continue to improve and that autonomous vehicles will become more prevalent in certain applications, such as the transportation of goods, public transportation, and ride-hailing services.

It is also possible that more fully autonomous vehicles will be available for purchase by consumers, although this may depend on the availability of the necessary technology, as well as on regulatory and legal issues. However, the widespread deployment of autonomous vehicles on public roads is likely to be a gradual process, as it requires significant investment in infrastructure, improvements in technology and ensuring safety standards. It also requires developing a clear legal and regulatory framework which is still evolving in many countries.

Overall, the rate of adoption of autonomous driving will depend on various factors such as technological advancements, regulatory environment, consumer acceptance, and infrastructure development.

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