The idea that someone is looking down at their phone while they are opperating a motor vehicle is rarely (if ever) debated to be anything but horrific.
I’m here to tell you otherwise.
Pretty bold statement - claiming that texting-while-driving is “good”? Yes, actually. But not in the short term.
The simple reason: Future Progress
How? Well, that requires a bit of explanation. Let’s first consider why texting-while-driving can actually be a good thing: someone who is good at something generally does not fail at that thing, right? So it stands to make sense that if someone is good at texting-while-driving, they aren’t going to be bad at it, and, as a result (or lack thereof), they will pose a significantly lower risk regarding an accidental collision due to this behavior.
You might be saying that it’s less likely that someone will be good at texting-while-driving, and more likely that people are inherently bad at it, thus promoting the behavior is bad because that will cause more accidents and unnecessary deaths.
Here’s where my Devil’s Advocacy somes into play: Good! Let ‘em die off!
Darwin Awards are rewarded for a reason, people dying because they did something they could not succeed at doing, in as much as the act of failure is cause enough for death. Kill off the gene pool who can’t text-while-driving, and allow those who can to continue to perpetuate the species, whilst creating offspring who are more likely to be able to text-while-driving.
Why is this important? And why does it appear that my ethics have been thrust out the window into a burning pile of wretched garbage?
Because, in this case, things are as they appear.
Have you seen any movies with high quality unrealistic technological interfaces?
As seen here, in the movie District 9, there was a point where one of the Insectoid-like alien species [Prawns] had interacted with the controls of the spaceship that was docked on the ground in Johannesburg, South Africa. These controls were of a holographic nature and the Prawn essentially was not “touching” them, and yet it was touching them, because it was interacting with the controls.
Again, how does this relate to texting-while-driving? Allow me to futher provide a connection to something more current and a bit jarring to some:
A Magazine is an iPad that Doesn’t Work, via YouTube
As you can see, here is a 1-year old girl playing with an iPad. When I initially saw this footage, I was rather astonished at how well she could manipulate the iPad…also the fact that she didn’t completely destroy it, as she is a 1-year old, after all. However, the comments in the video got me to thinking. Many people were upset that the young girl was going to lose her sense of tactile sensation and that she would be ruined as a person. This, as is evidenced by the video itself, is mere fallacy.
You see. She uses her fingers to manipulate the iPad, and attempts to manipulate a magazine, the latter of which proves more difficult for her. This is the stage at which human beings of her age will come to be different people from the rest of us in the following years. She will likely never know the nostalgic sense of flipping a page in a book, something I personally enjoy. Her motor skills still function. Her tactile sensation still functions. Everything still works - shewillunderstand the physics of the world without issue.
She will also understand that which we do not.
What kind of technology will exist in 2020, in the next 8 years? The iPhone came out in 2007, 5 years ago. Look at how things have advanced. This young girl is now two years old; in 2020 she’ll be 10; in 2030, she’ll be 20. When she’s 20 years old, her behaviors will have already been ingrained into her, and she’ll be a crazy text-while-driving heart-throb. And if it’s not her, someone else will be.
Tying this in to the District 9 example, the technology we have today could very well be leading up to the techonolgy seen in District 9. We have physical interface devices that use spacial skills to manipulate the rendered graphics on screen. Yet, as time goes by, the technology will become less and less physical, as it has already begun doing so, and more and more virtual - like that of the content in District 9. It’s only a matter of time before something uses the technology like an iPad, combined with the technology of the Kinect, with something similar to Google Glass, and a smattering of Microsoft Surface.
The evolution of technology requires the evolution of human behavior - or, more accurately, the adaptation of human behavior. We need people in this world who can successfully text-while-driving so that they can produce offspring that will have effective and natural spacial multitasking skills. If we are to arrive to the point where technology is similat to Star Wars, District 9 or even Final Fantasy: The Spritis Within, then we need people who will challenge the status quo of acceptible, albeit risky, behaviors.
There may be many hurt and/or killed due to what would otherwise be considered a dangerous driving behavior. But the way I see it, the sacrifice was worth it.
(Banner image courtesy of the Texas Motor Transportation Association)