Will connected cars shield us from reality?

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We’ve talked about connected cars here a lot on Telematics.com, extolling their virtues of keeping us safer on the road, allowing us to play games or watch a movie, or even have a conversation with someone else in the car with us without ever needing to look at the road. There are some downsides to it of course, like losing the freedom to drive how and wherever we want, and there is the ever present oversight of governments and corporations which will know where we are at all times, but there is one other potential downside to it that not many have considered.

The one we’re talking about is the disengagement form the real world. This is the one that Fusion believes could come to pass and may make us all less caring of the world around us. As the writer puts it, what will the world be like when we no longer look out of the windows on our way to work? Will we ignore the homeless more than ever? Or find ourselves less enamoured with country life?

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I don’t think this suddenly makes people forget the world.

This, the writer believes, will be most applicable to haves, rather than the have nots. Since many of them already utilise chauffeurs to drive them around, it makes sense that they will be the first automated car buyers, which means that their bubble will become ever more insulated. With windows like those on the new Mercedes Benz F 015, which don’t even show you the outside world – replacing them with large 4k screens – will the rich and the famous forget about the rest of us?

While there is some precedence for this, like the fact that there are classy buses springing up in some tech-startup urban areas and Google has previously offered its own fancy shuttle services for customers through less well-to-do neighbourhoods, something I don’t think Fusion’s writer picks up on, is that these is already a large divide. We don’t need driverless cars for the one per cent of the world to forget what it’s like living in low-income housing or to need to take the bus to work rather than an air conditioned limousine.

Yes boarding up the windows with gadgetry might make the problem ever so slightly worse, but if you are a billionaire today, your life isn’t going to become any more insulated just because your car has screens in the windows. These are people that fly around the world in private jets at £20,000+ per trip. A car that has a display in it is not going to blow their mind by any stretch of the imagination.

Image source: Tax Credits/Flickr

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.