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Robot Car

I got to ride in a Tesla a few times.

Posted on 2020 June 8

The future of everyday transportation is autonomous vehicles. I can’t wait. There will be a day where I get in the car, I input where I want to go, and then I just pull out my phone and play minesweeper until I get wherever I want to be.

In the meantime, I sit with the experience that I got to ride in a robot car, a Tesla with autopilot, a few times.

A previous manager of mine had a Tesla, and he would always agree to drive people to restaurants when went offsite for team lunch.

On one sunny day, he set his car on autopilot while we were driving down the highway. I didn’t know that the wheel turned on its own, but in retrospect that makes sense.

What I Saw Next Sticks with Me

His phone was mounted on the dashboard. He reached out to it, started a game, and then set the game to auto-battle. He did this fluidly while talking.

He crossed his arms and sat back in his seat and I noticed the smallest smirk on his face. He revealed that he knew how incredible of an era we were living in. The view from his sunglasses reflected the parts of his life that he automated away.

It got me thinking about where the boundaries of where work and play are, and where parts of our life we want less of are versus the parts we want more of. It set me thinking about experiences. It’s up to a person to decide what they want. For him, instead of positioning virtual soldiers on a battlefield, he just wanted to inspect and think about the loot. Tbh I think that’s great - he’s allowed to pick his own best experience.

Later, on the same drive, I looked away from the windows and felt shock at something normally mundane: as he was talking he raised his hand. I thought he took over when we were leaving the highway. The car merged us out of the highway and made technical turns at stop lights. The entire time the robot car was driving.

I think about this more than I thought I would.



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