Self-driving cars

Yesterday I expressed my view that we should “automate all the things”, especially tasks that have the potential for serious errors.

What about driving?

Self-driving cars are still under active development, and expert opinions vary, but I suspect that soon (probably within a decade), they’ll be much safer than human-driven cars.

I might be wrong about that, but for the sake of argument, let’s imagine that I’m right. Let’s imagine that a wholesale switch to self-driving cars (if this were logistically possible) could cut car accidents in half.

Now imagine that you’re at the new car lot, and you’ve just made a down payment on your new, self-driving car, you’ve climbed in. Your spouse is next to you. Your average 2.5 children are in the backseat. And the car starts speeding down the highway toward your home.

How do you feel?

Can you relax? Or is your jaw clenched?

You know the statistics. You and your family are half as likely to have an accident on the way home with the car self-driving, than if you were driving.

But I’m betting you feel out of control and nervous, just imagining it. I know I do!

Humans are predictably irrational.

Often the best decision we can make feels scary, in the face of objective evidence. Continuous Deployment is a great example, but there are countless others that apply to software development. Something may make you feel a loss of control, but don’t let an objectively irrational fear prevent you from doing the best thing!

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