HAVE YOU EVER got so angry you beat up a car? Well, angry Californians have, and the automotive targets of their rage are self-driving cars.
Despite being a city known for its liberal attitudes, San Francisco has been a hotbed of human-on-driverless car battery.
Autonomous cars going about their business have prompted some truly bizarre outbursts from San Franciscoites; one incident saw a pedestrian run across a road to confront a GM Cruise driverless car and according to an incident report filed by General Motors, the shouting person "struck the left side of the Cruise AV's rear bumper and hatch with his entire body", damaging the car's tail light.
The Guardian reports that in a separate incident, a taxi driver hopped out of his cab and slapped the front passenger window of a GM Cruise.
There's no explicit reason for such outbursts of anti-automation rage, but it would suggest that Californians are worried that driverless cars will steal jobs in the transport industry and leave San Francisco residents struggling to make ends meet in a city known for being expensive.
But this is not the first time San Franciscoians have expressed rage against machines.
A Knightscope autonomous security robot, employed by an SPCA animal shelter, got knocked over, covered with a tarp and had its sensors smothered with BBQ sauce after residents took umbrage to the bot's harassment of the homeless.
While autonomous tech can prove to be more efficient than humans at doing certain tasks and is believed to be far safer at driving than easily distracted motorists, the impact of more autonomous machines on jobs and society is clearly bothering Californians.
And, arguably, it should bother others, as putting technology to use is easy enough but having a heartless robot that can't be reasoned with policing streets is a heck of a lot more dystopian than a human bobby on the beat.
So if autonomous tech is adopted willy-nilly without taking a hard look at its impact to mess-up the human lives it has been designed to ultimately improve, we can expect to see more robot abuse crop up with escalating severity. µ
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