By James Fitzgerald
It is easy to spot control freaks these days: they shout at you in stores if you aren’t masked up; they pump out fear through newspapers; and they twist your arm to take experimental jabs. But the wheeling and dealing doesn’t stop there; now they want to sneakily get under your hood.
The great American highways — and the sedans and muscle cars that populate them — have since the post-war boom formed the circuitry that has energized and connected the nation. The freedom and convenience of the automobile has been the single most important technological and social development since humans first sparked up a fire. Talking of combustion, governments and environmental groups around the world have been critical of fossil fuels and carbon emissions for decades. Anyone who has cycled or walked in busy traffic knows that particulates and fumes from vehicles are unpleasant and harmful, but the prospect of clean propulsion should not be confused with the centralized automation of journeys and removal of personal vehicles. Autonomous cars do not equate to autonomy.
As we know from smart TVs, smart meters and smart cars, they are only as benevolent as the people who design and produce them. Flatscreen TVs can monitor a room, even when unplugged; mobile electric meters emit radiation and have been known to overcharge customers; and self-driving cars to date, routinely crash. The global warming schematic — with its questionable science — has been used to justify all manner of control measures, from carbon credits toRead More