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Being a car and motorcycle enthusiast means that I generally object to electronics taking any control away from me while driving. I will admit though, that I really don’t have much experience with new cars. “New” is a funny term to use too because when I say it, I really just mean newer than 1996 which is the year of my Toyota Tacoma. Motor vehicles have come a long way the last 18 years so when GMC offered us a brand new Yukon we were psyched to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
I doubt anyone who really loves driving cars is thrilled about the computer having control over wheel spin or alerting them that there is someone in their blind spot. I am opposed to it because I take pride in the fact that I am always aware of them myself. I like to think that’s what makes me a good driver. I am suspicious that cars which are using computers to monitor everything for you, make you lazy. Instead of being aware of where cars are around you, you will just glance at the side-view mirror to see if the blind spot warning light is flashing or not.
On the other hand, there is a part of me that has a deep respect for new technology and how it can solve a lot of problems in the world. I have worked on mobile apps that will eventually revolutionize the way that people are able to live with diabetes. I’ve seen how a simple iPod can give life back to people previously thought to be brain dead because of Alzheimers.* As a designer, the idea is to have complex back-end technology that results in a simplified front-end interface that lets the user stay focused on everything else. That is exactly what the car industry is and should be doing but for some reason, I’ve always had a negative reaction to the idea.