If your children are like mine, they can’t wait to get a driver’s license. My boys are moth-to-flame when it comes to car racing video games. It seems just like yesterday when I was forced, Clockwork- Orange-style, to watch Hot Wheels World Race with my 5-year-old (now 15) again and again. But the world keeps changing and just as I have started to fantasize about throwing car keys at my teenager to fetch milk, he has merged onto a different thought highway. Now our car conversation vacillates between Tesla store visits (dreaming) and how self-driving cars are the future!
Imagine my shock that my son prefers that the car drive itself. Of course that would free him up to play car racing video games on his device while in the car. However, being world-minded and a natural futurist (considering he is 15, of course), he has higher ideals related to self-driving cars and sees recent news about accidents as a mere blip, barely a concern. His arguments are persuasive. Cars can communicate with each other, so they can all move forward as a solid block. Stop lights can go away, because cars will naturally take turns. People won’t die because poor drivers make mistakes or because they are having heart attacks. And so on.
Perhaps it is because I find it hard to keep up with the details he downloads on me from his Internet surfing, but I am beginning to wear down. Concerns about computer glitches, hacking, and loss of autonomy, privacy, etc., do not seem as important as the progress he describes. I fear, however, that my inability to maintain a solid argument in response is not that I am tired from work, managing a household, or navigating local and world politics as I try to be a responsible citizen, but rather that I am drifting into a futurist style of auto-pilot parenting. “That’s nice, honey.”
So long as he will still fetch the milk, I’m good.