'Assistance' Technology

Idiot proofing is now out in the open. It’s just called something else – to make the idiots feel better about it.  The car manufacturers style this idiot-proofing “assistance” technology – usually “advanced.” 

Sometimes, “intelligent” – because they regard you as not.

There is nothing wrong with seeking assistance when you need it. Disabled people, for instance, often need assistance getting up and down stairs. But it’s insulting to offer it to a person who doesn’t need it – and obnoxious to force it on him. Imagine someone taking your elbow as you began walking up a flight of stairs, for instance. Imagine there were “assisters” standing at the foot of every stair case, who would peremptorily take the arm of every able-bodied person trying to walk up the stairs on their own.

This is the kind of “assistance” being installed in practically every new car.

It encompasses Lane Keep Assist – a system that presumes you’re so addled or incompetent that you cannot on your own keep the car within the boundaries of the yellow painted center line to your left and the white painted line to your right demarcating the shoulder.

There is Brake Assist, because apparently the foundational driving skill of applying the brakes as necessary is something many people now require . . . assistance with. 

And there is “intelligent” Speed Limit Assist . . . because you’re obviously not intelligent enough to read the sign or decide for yourself what speed to drive – adjusting it, yourself, as conditions warrant.

You’d think they’re trying to “assist” us to the point where the driver no longer needs any – because he’s no longer driving the car at all. Bit by bit and model year by model year they seem to be herding us toward that end, gradually easing us into acquiescence via all of this “assistance.”

You’d think more people would at least be insulted.

“Assistance”? To maneuver the car into a curbside parking spot? There was a time when being able to perform this basic act of driving competence was part of the test one had to pass in order to get a license to drive. If you couldn’t, you didn’t.

Because you probably shouldn’t. 

Some will protest and say that this is unfair to those who do need “assistance” in order to be able to curbside park or keep their car within its travel lane; that they would be excluded from driving were it not for the beneficent equalizer of the “assistance” technology. That it is necessary to be able to drive (even if the car is doing it)  in order to fully function in our society.  

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