Are we becoming too dependent on convenience? #robotcars

The other night I had an interesting dream in which I had a car that could not only self-navigate to work, it had shower stall so I could wash up along the way. As my regular readers may know, I don’t bother with dream interpretation, but it did give me some food for thought. Barring the logistics of having a working shower in a moving vehicle, and that I wouldn’t think about shaving afterwards, there still could be advantages to not having to bother with the task of driving while still staying in one’s own personal vehicle.

Self-driving cars are on the horizon in terms of public use. It would be handy to be able to eat breakfast and even dress on the way to work instead of before leaving. By cutting down on time in the morning, one could get up later and then enjoy staying up later as a result. I have to wonder, though. Are we becoming too dependent on convenience?

The latest issue of Mother Jones includes an interesting article regarding driver-less cars. (I would have provided a link but it appears that Mother Jones doesn’t publish their current magazines’ articles online until after the current issue is off of the newsstands). There are solid reasons for switching to such a mode of transportation, including environmental concerns. I still think there’s a lot of concerns to address still, though, such as carjacking—what’s to prevent a potential thief from remotely hacking into your car’s computer, thereby changing its route to serve his or her own needs?

My concern, as I said, is dependence on convenience. I don’t have a problem with convenience in of itself. And of course, I’m not oblivious to the fact that I’m referring only to those of us fortunate to have such convenience in this world. But my point remains: is there a line that has to be drawn when it comes to what we allow our gadgets and gizmos do for us?

Never mind the argument of trading in personal liberty for the sake of convenience. We’re all familiar with that one. I’m taking this to a more personal level. If I let everything do everything for me, I won’t know how to do anything. I do think that there’s a certain level of survival skills that would kick in if society should collapse. Well, I hope so, anyway. But what about the psychological damage? Can convenience be an addiction? Every time that I have to scavenge for food, would I pine for the days that drones used to deliver pizza? Would I have post-convenience depression? Would this be called “post-lack of stress disorder?”

Maybe I personally won’t have to worry about it in my personal life. I do make more money than I used to but I’m not obsessed with getting every new toy that comes out on the market. I’m also not trying to take the curmudgeon approach of “You kids today have it too easy.” I might be approaching middle age but I’m not going to go that far. I just advise that as technology advances, our weariness does as well.

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