We shouldn’t be driving cars anymore. Or we shouldn’t be driving them for much longer, as they could be and should be soon made obsolete.
Cars are insane contraptions when you think about them. They’re metal, glass, and plastic cages that roll around at perilous speeds by the volition of engines producing electricity from the controlled explosion of highly toxic chemicals, produced by refining ancient putrified corpses we pumped out of the ground. However cool and pretty we make them seem, that’s some weird, macabre, self-destructive shit. Even the advancements that have been made in transitioning from combustion engines to fully electric engines with giant batteries, while an improvement, are still not ideal.
Cars are dangerous as hell. They’re fun, too. But those two things can be said about guns as well. While modifications and regulations could be applied to both, the difference between the two is that guns are supposed to kill people and cars are only meant to kill by accident. Car deaths are frighteningly frequent. A lot has been done to make cars less deadly to drivers and passengers, building them to better absorb impact and protect those inside. At the same time, however, much has been done to make them more deadly to those outside the vehicle. We see this with the trend among commercial trucks and SUVs growing more obnoxiously large and powerful over the decades, so that rather than merely cripple a person by breaking their lower extremities, they kill them by crushing their ribs and vital organs into a crunchy pulp.
The cause of most traffic fatalities is human error. Companies have been experimenting with and implementing computerized solutions to make up for the carelessness and stupidity of humans. From small tweaks that keep cars from swerving out of their lane or accelerating into the rear of another vehicle, to fully automated “driverless” programming, there have been promising developments. The oversight in these efforts, however, is that rather than using computers to make driving moderately safer, we should transition to not driving.
There are times when you need a personal means of accelerated transportation, one which can get you and others and all your shit from one place to another. But as a society we’re immured in a way of thinking which tells us that a car is the only way to do this. This same mode of thinking also makes us think that since cars are used for that purpose then they must be used for all other purposes. Every time we need to get from one place to another, even for short distances and when we aren’t hauling shit around, we take a car. The car itself was a radical change from the horse-drawn carriage, and all we’ve done is make modest improvements since then. Nothing truly new. Nothing innovative and outside the box.
Where are the hovercrafts and repulsor jet-powered vehicles? Even those are derivative of existing technologies, but they’d at least be a step in a different direction. Why aren’t we transported about safely and with lightning fast speed by womb-like orbs of tangible energy? Rather than outdated ways of public transportation, why can’t we just have pneumatic tubes that will suck us to wherever we want to go, a la Futurama? For that matter, why the hell can’t we teleport? The idea of teleportation has been around since before the earliest science-fiction. You can say the word “ teleport” to anyone and they’ll know exactly what you mean, despite it being a thing that does not exist and has never happened. But it’s well past time that it should happen. How have we had the concept in the zeitgeist for this long and no one has done the work to make it a reality? We’ve made pocket-sized super computers, spaceships, and virtual reality sex, all manner of futuristic sci-fi inspired shit, but no teleportation? Honestly, we should be ashamed of ourselves, rolling around and crashing and blowing up in antiquated cages when we could be teleporting.