My car is my designated driver

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Imagine a world where you own a car, wash the car, but don’t drive the car. Don’t conceptualize too hard, this seemingly outlandish idea may soon become the go-to method of transportation. As our technological world advances, feats that were formerly impossible have suddenly become ‘just a matter of time’. While there may be skeptics and naysayers who are not in favor of hopping in the passenger’s seat, allow me to further explain the advantages of driving without actually driving.

Firstly, think of the floodgates this would open up to disadvantaged members of our society who do not currently have the privilege of being drivers. This includes individuals with physical or mental ailments and the elderly who no longer have the ability to drive. What a marvel this would be to these groups. A driver-less car would promote independence, safety and heightened quality of life.

While critics may argue the validity of safety for such a car, the statistics remarkably prove otherwise. The aforementioned driver-less car, belonging to Google, has only one recorded accident over 300,000 miles of travel. Amazing, right? Well here’s the kicker; the accident was

English: Google driverless car operating on a ...

English: Google driverless car operating on a testing path (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the fault of a human-driven car. A driver-less car that has caused no accidents in such extensive travels truly sounds like a car of the future. (Although it sounds more like it’s from 2030 rather than 2013!)

The phrase ‘I won’t believe it ’till I see it’ has legitimacy here. Knowing this, Google implemented a couple sure-fire methods to get lawmakers to understand the marvel that is the driver-less car. Google presented video evidence of the car immediately stopping when sensing pedestrians walking in front of the car. Ms. Dondero Loop, of the Nevada Transportation committee, said of the video ‘That was an ‘aha’ moment for me’. Certainly they were impressed, after all this is a car that does not text, eat, drink or put on make-up while driving! What this technology means is zero distractions, all focus for the Google car. As a follow-up Google allowed lawmakers to ride along in the car to be amazed first-hand and in a live environment.

While this car is certainly a threat to cab-drivers, we can see the real potential and realism of the driver-less car. Google has proven skeptics wrong numerous times and have the statistics to back it up. I certainly could not argue against my car driving me home safely after an evening of adult beverages with friends. While this use can be seen as a luxury and not a necessity it does have more more profound uses, as mentioned earlier.

Yes, it will take time for these cars to do a complete overhaul on the automotive market but I do believe this will become a widely accepted practice in the future. Humanity has taken small steps toward this phenomenon in years past, such as auto-pilot (yes, very small steps). As with all new cars, including electric hybrid, the initial hurdle will certainly be price, with only the most fortunate of individuals riding shotgun first. There will be challenges before wide-spread implementation and this is common, given the radical change to transportation. I for one can not wait for my car to take me on road-trips across Canada while I catch up on a good book!

Advertisements

No Privacy Settings? I also like to live dangerously.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

It’s no surprise that social media has been ‘trending’ in recent years. As technology grows and becomes more accessible, it becomes easier for people to connect with one another. Facebook has become a place to share pictures, plan events and stay in the loop when it comes to friends and family. The new kid on the block, Twitter, allows users to share short and concise thoughts and ideas. But just how much of ourselves are we willing to put out there on social media? Need we be concerned?

A recent article in the Globe and Mail offers insight in the shift from Facebook to Twitter. Teens sharing more on social media, moving to Twitter As more parents and relatives inhabit  social media, it appears the less likely teens are to stick around. Yet the teens who are unwilling to connect with this new wave of adults on Facebook are the same teens who will just as easily divulge personal information including contact numbers, location and photos with potential strangers on Facebook. Amanda Lenhart, from the Pew Research center, offers some insight into the advantages of a switch to Twitter, “The key is that there are fewer adults, fewer parents and just simply less complexity and less drama”. Lenhart, who is one of the authors from the research study acknowledges that the teens don’t leave Facebook altogether they just tend to post less frequently. The study found that 94% of all people on social media have a Facebook account. This shows not only what a social media giant Facebook is but also makes us aware of all the people who may have private information posted. The same study revealed that greater than 60% of teen Twitter users have public tweets, making them potentially vulnerable to enemies or strangers.

English: Graph of social media activities

English: Graph of social media activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whenever utilizing the benefits of social media, it is important to know not only what you are posting, but who will see it. For example, if your privacy settings are public, friend or foe is able to see everything that you post (yes that means the aforementioned contact information, locations and pictures). We often hear in the media about people losing their jobs over something they posted on their Facebook page, or how a student was suspended from school for defaming a teacher on Twitter. Many employers now screen the social media pages of potential hires to try and get a better grasp on who they may be hiring.

Often times many people are unaffected by public privacy settings and not everyone will encounter social media trouble, but it is an obvious risk of using social media. It’s all about how you use it, and I believe more and more users are becoming savvy about what to post and what not to post.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many great uses for social media (Twitter and Facebook alike). Social media allows you to be connected with family and friends, reminisce about ‘that one time at band camp’, and the pictures to go along with it. 

yeah baby