New Luddite Revolt Targets Driverless Cars

Here’s some great Atrios bait today:

The assailant slipped out of a park around noon one day in October, zeroing in on his target, which was idling at a nearby intersection — a self-driving van operated by Waymo, the driverless-car company spun out of Google. He carried out his attack with an unidentified sharp object, swiftly slashing one of the tires. The suspect, identified as a white man in his 20s, then melted into the neighborhood on foot.

….At least 21 such attacks have been leveled at Waymo vans in Chandler, as first reported by The Arizona Republic. Some analysts say they expect more such behavior as the nation moves into a broader discussion about the potential for driverless cars to unleash colossal changes in American society. The debate touches on fears ranging from eliminating jobs for drivers to ceding control over mobility to autonomous vehicles.

It’s the Luddites reborn! Luckily for them, they’ll get off easier than the loom smashers of old, who were variously hanged, shipped off to Botany Bay, or tossed in prison for a few years. On the other hand, I don’t imagine they’ll have any more impact than the original Luddite rioters either. The power looms took over and so will the driverless cars. Resistance is futile.

I continue to be amazed by the number of people who are convinced that driverless cars are a mirage. Their arguments boil down to driving is complicated and they don’t work yet. Both true! And both meaningless. Weaving is also complicated, and the first power looms were kind of clunky. But they worked eventually and so will driverless cars. We’re better off figuring out what to do about it than we are putting our heads in the sand.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.