Here is the latest news on the automatic speed limiters testing:
> 'Promising' tests on car speed limiters extended
> Martin Wainwright
> Saturday January 20, 2001
> The Guardian
> The government has commissioned a trial of speed limiters in cars, which
> could lead to computer-controlled overrides as a standard fitting within
> five years. Twenty trial vehicles will be fitted with a system which has
> won praise on a prototype Ford Escort driven over thousands of rigidly
> monitored miles in the past three years. The tests, which prevented the
> car from topping 30mph, 40mph and other limits, were "highly reliable"
> according to the Institute of Transport Studies at Leeds University, which
> has won funding for the expanded trials from the Department of Transport,
> Environment and the Regions.
> "We've had two dozen people driving along a 40 mile route, including the
> A1M motorway," said Oliver Carsten, head of the project, which has also
> been demonstrated on the north circular road in London.
> The system uses a computerised navigator linked to the car's electronic
> controls and a positioning satellite. Areas with speed restrictions are
> fed into the system to trigger action as soon as a limit is breached.
> Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2001
So, while this may be a "good" application, it does appear that society is
gaining more and more powerful technology which will be used to enforce
objectives which the majority in a society accept as "good". This will be
unfortunate for minorities and perhaps society as a whole should pay more
attention to the rights of minorities. Just because they are "different"
doesn't mean they have to be fined or locked up. Where does being
"different" shade into being "criminal"?
On the other hand, this technology is not being used to fine people or to
lock them up. Instead it is being used to make the unwanted (criminal?)
behaviour impossible to carry out. This seems a less threatening way for the
authorities to behave. It is like developing an immunisation jab that makes
pot have no effect on people, or an added ingredient to beer that stops
people getting drunk, or a car that refuses to drive with a drunk driver,
etc. Is it likely in future that there will be far fewer people in prison
because more "crimes" will become impossible to commit?
The consumer should be aware that he or she may be the only entity in
the universe, and therefore that any perceived defects in product
quality are the consumer's own fault.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:26 MDT