Approximately ninety-six years ago, on January 5, 1918, Scientific American made the following prediction about future car technology: The car of the future won’t leave anything to be done by man power. In two or three years foot brakes will be things of the past except on cheap cars. Why should a man exert muscle to stop a car any more than to start it? What’s that great brute of an engine idling under the hood for? Now, jump three jumps more. If the engine starts and lights and pumps and stops itself, why shouldn’t it steer the car? Revolutionary? Nonsense!...The car of the future will have no such thing as a “driver’s seat.” All the seats in the car save the rear one will be moveable. Driving will be done from a small control board, which can be held in the lap. It will be connected to the mechanism by a flexible electric cable. A small finger lever, not a wheel, will guide the car. Although the writer of this piece was a bit overenthusiastic about the timetable, he was not far off in his predictions about future car technology. But, here’s one feature that even he didn’t imagine: your car helping you to manage your health. Why do I need that? It may seem as though only older people worry about their health–or need to. But, year after year, health-related New Year’s resolutions top the list. You can look at virtually any article listing popular resolutions and find ones that read like this:
- Lose weight
- East a healthier diet
- Get fit
- Quit smoking
- Drink less
- Pulse monitoring via the steering wheel
- The car notifying the driver’s family if his/her vital signs look shaky
- The car automatically driving you to a doctor or hospital, if necessary
- What information is being gathered?
- How is it stored?
- How is it encrypted–if it even is?
- Who has access to that data?
- Will I know who reviews it and when?
- What happens when there is a breach?
- Will I be made aware of that?
- Who is liable for that breach?
- If I had already agreed to be monitoring, did I in effect sign a waiver?
- Would that relieve the car manufacturer of any liability?
- Or would the court system decide that a typical driver wouldn’t have enough information to legally relieve manufacturers of liability?
Last updated June 6, 2018