No Flying Cars for You

The last couple of days have been exciting, but I need to take a break from the super serious topics for a couple of days.  I have a lot of work to do.  So instead, let’s talk about how people are kind of terrible.

In less than 2 weeks, Marty McFly and Doc Brown will arrive in their modified DeLorean in order to help Marty’s kids. I know this, because I watched the documentary from the 1989, Back to the Future II. It painted a clear picture of what the future would be like. So, we have a few days to put our cars in the air like we just don’t care, to preserve the accuracy of that fine film.

Seriously, though, we don’t have flying cars. We’re probably never going to have flying cars, and we should probably consider that a blessing.

There are a few reasons why flying cars are problematic, but I think I only need to focus on one: people can’t be trusted with them.

While looking into gun violence the last couple of days, I read a few interesting statistics on how we kill each other daily. According to this site, nearly 1.3 million people die each year in car accidents. 20 to 50 million are injured or disabled each year.

Those are vehicles on the ground. They’re not falling out of the sky, crushing whatever is caught underneath. They’re driving on roads, earthbound, typically under 100mph. Cruising velocity for long range flights is over 500mph.

After a long day, you probably go home and relax. It probably never crosses your mind that a vehicle might jump the curb and come crashing into your living room. That kind of accident happens from time to time, but it’s rare. What if the cars weren’t confined to the roads?

The next time you’re negotiating traffic, imagine the people around you suddenly responsible for piloting over residential areas. That guy that can’t be bothered to use his turn signal? Or that person that is too busy looking at their phone to pay attention to traffic? Or how about the impatient jerk that tailgates you, or the timid turtle that insists on driving 10mph below the speed limit? Imagine those folks in flying cars. Over your house.

I love people, but I don’t trust us. We are not enlightened enough.

All I’ve eluded to so far is incompetence.  I haven’t even mentioned malice.  How much intentional damage could a person do with a flying vehicle?  People wouldn’t bother taking guns to schools to kill children.  They’d just use their flying car.

I think we all want to be freed from the bonds of gravity and allowed to take to the sky.  The only way I can see it happening is if you take control out of people’s hands, and completely automate flight.  How well is that going so far with earthbound cars?  I know great strides have been made.  How do you feel about giving up driving, putting the responsibility in the hands of computers?  How would you feel about letting a computer fly you and your family, without allowing you any sort of control?

Damn, that was kind of depressing.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll talk about politics, or abortion. You know, to lighten things up a little.

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