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Self Driven?

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Balajee, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Yesterday I went to my bank only to feel like Rip van Winkle waking up after decades of napping. and finding that the world has changed.
    Gone were the smiling (and often scowling) faces at the counters. The counters were deserted and unmanned except for two. . For all major businesses please go to the ATN downstairs, I was told.
    Now my bank staff do not accept even cash deposits, The ATN does it. It is your job to count the cash properly enter it in the ATM and shove it through a yawning orifice and the ATM would spit out the receipt.
    I had to get the PIN for my new debit card. Earlier they used to send it by courier or I had to collect it at the bank but now I was at the mercy of the ATM. I had to follow the instructions in a letter sent by the bank (Most of which were in abbreviations which seemed like Gobbledygook to me n I was defeated by the ATM and I couldn't generate the PIN. May be the letter should have had a glossary attached to it.
    Then I went to catch the Metro and was punched in the nose by the ticket machine. I waited until the staff who had gone for lunch returned (Trusting the machine they vamoose together at lunchtime)
    Then I got a few megawatts of shock when I read in the latest work of Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari that self-driven cars are already in the market. Self- driven? In a world where even very few Homo Sapiens are self driven (They are mostly driven by parents efore marriage and wives after that). a car that drives itself?
    It does have its advantages. First, no No drunken driving.. Here there is a division of labour. You do the drinking and the car will do the driving and the poor local page reporters will be deprived of stories of deaths caused by drivers with one peg too many in them but cops will be saved the trouble of asking grown up people to blow into balloons as if they were kids.
    And if you employ drivers /chauffeurs ,they won't bunk work (the cars not the drivers) giving some lame excuse like their BIL's fifth cousin's wife's sister was sick' You don't have to give a salary or bonus to your car.
    There are problems too.An interesting one is narrated by Harari in his book 21 l Lessons for the 21st Century. Suppose your SDC (Self driven car ) is coursing at full speed and two kids jump before it suddenly to retrieve a ball that had fallen before it, and the only way the car could save the kids is to take a U turn and go to the other side of the road where a truck is hurtling forward and is almost certainly to hit the car and kill the owner. Whom will the car save, the kids or its owner?
    That of course would depend on the car's programming. Harari suggests two models : One altruistic which will save the kids and kill the owner and the other egoistic wouldn't give a damn for the kids and will keep going.

    See what complex ethical problems automation can create even for vehicles let alone fr people Why the hell can't we drive our own car or hire a driver. The driver could have saved both the owner and the kids. As soon as the ball comes before the car ,a north Indian driver will hurl abuses describing someone's incestuous relations with their mother and sister and frighten the kids away. May be a colourful vocabulary should also be programmed in your SDC.


    Harari didn't go beyond two models but my crazy imagination has come up with several. Here they are:
    SDC SALMAN: This model is programmed to climb on to footpaths, however high they might be and run over people sleeping there. Very socially aware model. Gives out a clear message that footpaths are meant for walking, not sleeping.
    SDC TIPSY: For those newspapers starved of drunken driving stories. Runs on alcohol not petrol or diesel thus saving valuable fossil fuel..>Has a knack for hit and run . Here too the labour is divided. It hits and the owner runs.
    Psst. Don't tell anybody but I heard rumours that another model has been developed SDC -Jihad. The developers thought that it would be hugely popular with those guys who would like to have a great bast. But they scornfully rejected this automatic car bomb smelling a conspracy to prevent them from getting a shortcut to heaven and the company of 72. PYTs
    They rightly pointed out that if the car becomes a martyr instead of a believer it would go to heaven and the car would face logistical problems. After all, no car can accommodate 72 people PYTs or otherwise.
     
    Srama, messedup and shyamala1234 like this.
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  2. Srama

    Srama IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Balajee,

    I knew that my parents and in-laws went to the bank to have some human interaction. You know in the nationalized banks when you stay in the same neighborhood, the whole bank kind of becomes your family, especially if your parent is/was an employee of the bank. I still fortunately get that warm welcome in certain branches, thanks to my dad. My DH here wonders as to why I go to the bank though I could use the ATM. I go grocery shopping, there's a bank in there and there are people waiting to help you with your transaction....between you and me, I like interacting with people. So I stop in combining my bank work with grocery work. Forget self driven cars, I worry driving in cruise even - I am told i like being in control. Oh yes! I would like to be alert if I am sitting in that car. The only place I trust a machine is auto pilot in the planes, though I must say that I have seen the need for human intervention there too! I am so grateful that we have that auto pilot. Now if you get me started on auto filling, it is not going to end. Almost in definace, I type the numbers even though google is telling me that I remember your number. My intelligence is so little and I am possessive of it - I don't want that to be taken away. I pride myself for my ability to remember numbers and machines cannot take that away too.....what will happen in my old age!!

    As always an interesting write up and I enjoyed reading it. I do also know many people who see the progress and use all these while they use their brain power elsewhere and I can understand that. For people like me, it is just using the brain. Looks like we have to be 'self driven' not to let these take over our lives completely.
     
    shyamala1234 likes this.
  3. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Sabitha I love to interact with bank staff but nowaDAYS THERE ARE HARDLY ANY STAFF TO INTERACT./ That is the curse of automation. Yesterday I was shocked to see there were only two staffers in my bank to do paperwork for opening accounts etc. The rest is left to the ATMs. No smiling faces. They could at least put a smiley on ATM. As for cars I am a terrible driver so wouldn't mind a SDC provided the entire transport is automated. Knowing Indian drivers it is impossible for the SDCs to peacefully coexist with homo sapiens driven cars. True while we can drive the cars we hasve to be self-driven to prevent others from taking over our lives.
     
  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Balajee,

    As usual, a humorous snippet! A lot is automated now but I don't think they reduced the number of employees in the nationalized bank unless your visit was to a private bank. But those automation processes are half-baked and it takes a genius to figure out all the instructions. Last time when I visited India, I requested the bank to issue a debit card. They issued one and told to wait for 24 hours to activate. When I tried to use it after 24 hours, it didn't work. I was told that my wife had given my mobile phone number and hence I can't give the same mobile phone number. So I ended up using her debit card every time, I needed cash. The cashier gets upset if I ask for higher amounts.

    Regarding self-driven cars, hopefully, they don't jump red lights, don't get stopped by cops for speeding, don't go through license and registration checking. What would happen to traffic constables' revenue source? The rider in the car might say "I didn't drive the car".
     
  5. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Viswa in a developed country like US with probably 100% literacy near-complete automation might work. Even there many prefer to deal with but flesh and blood people ( See Sabitha's comment)in a country like India where even many educated people aren't tech savvy automation must proceed at a snail's pace.The seni-literate and illiterate prefer to deal with humans than machines. No I don't think they have actually cut down the staff in my Bank but I suspect they have been moved elsewhere.I would love to see many of them back with whom I have good personal vibes..
     
    Viswamitra likes this.
  6. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Balajee,
    Quite imaginative. You are right. Banks do not expect the customer visiting the branch and wasting the time of the multitasking counter man or woman. Such customers are taken either dumb or resourceless. Almost everything can be done sitting at home. Any would one need cash these days?
    SDCs ! good idea. The only issue is will these cars be pre-programmed or the traveller will have to twitch a few buttons here and there. If so, the drunkard will need another sober traveller to do that.
    I am anyway looking for one. These guys are not allowing me to drive because I do not have a valid driving licence.
    Long live SDCs!!!
     
  7. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Passing the buck to the machines has its advantages. If you want to rob the bank. pointing a gun at the teller machine isn't going tohelp you. If you point a gun at the customers you would probably get a piddly sum. There are logistical propblems in carrying away entire teller machines. As for SDCs it is not just an IDEA. The company that runs our dear search machine GOOGLE has invested considerable amount of money in these cars and has put some of them on the road.
     

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