Robotic Audi TTS Foretells The Death Of Fun : All Tech Considered Students at Stanford are building a car with a mind of its own. They hope to race it in the Pike's Peak International Hill Climb.
NPR logo Robotic Audi TTS Foretells The Death Of Fun

Robotic Audi TTS Foretells The Death Of Fun

I saw this video on the Wheels blog over at the NYT. I was thrilled and saddened by turns.

First, it's a slick sports car that can drive itself. It's like the future, now. It's a Hollywood fantasy come to life. It's just amazing technology in a lovely wrapper.

It also looks like the beginning of the end of cars as objects of fun and desire. Machine-chauffeured cars may be efficient. They may have an initial "WOW" factor. But the idea of a future filled with automated cars is also a buzz kill.

The man-machine connection is broken in a world like that. Using a car that drives itself would not require skill, daring or judgment. We could no longer claim mastery over our four-wheeled beasts. The passion and excitement that cars generate today would dissipate and, then, disappear.

Suddenly a car would be more like a bus. And I don't know anyone who gets excited about buses.