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Baby you can (self-drive) my car

Judging by the many car commercials showing an oblivious (but happy) driver saved by technology from hitting a pedestrian, the campaign for the autonomous driving vehicle is shifting into high gear. Apparently, no one will be safe unless we agree to share (and eventually abandon) the driver’s seat.

A Luddite rant from an aging baby boomer? No. Although I do resent having it shoved down my throat, based on projected safety stats, some or all of it is probably inevitable. 

Here’s the real issue. Music has always played a significant role in shaping our aspirations and identity. And whether it was teen angst or romance or macho independence and rebelliousness, cars and car culture has been an integral part of much of it. 

What are the lifestyle implications of a (hopefully) benevolent chauffeured society? For those old enough to remember the supposedly scandalous “Wake Up Little Susie”, which was actually banned in Boston, imagine a future where the car texts Dad her whereabouts, or worse, involuntarily drives her home.

Creepy. 

Bruce Springsteen being passively driven down “Thunder Road.” 

Depressing.

“Mustang Sally”? She’ll have “Fun, Fun, Fun” until the car changes her log-in and password. I can almost hear Billy Ocean singing “Get Outta of My (virtual reality) Dreams, Get into My (self-driving) Car”.

While the autonomous driving vehicle may prevent the tragedy of “Last Kiss” and keep the kids away from “Dead Man’s Curve,” from my perspective, we’re “Running on Empty” on a “Highway to Hell.”