Chances are you’ve heard about Consumer Reports seeing if they could get a Tesla to drive without a driver. Spoiler: They did it on a closed track, but they had to bypass two safety systems to do it. Their conclusion was that Teslas need yet another safety barrier to keep idiots from abusing Autopilot. Like the rest of the Church of Automotive Safety™, they say that driver monitoring is the only way to keep morons from breaking the law, bypassing other safety measures, and doing dumb stuff with their cars.
On the other hand, I’m seeing the light here. If an expensive driver monitoring system saves just one life, it’s worth all of the expense and hassle, right? So, I decided to see if monitoring cameras could help us save other lives and avoid other headaches caused by people doing dumb things. After all, we need to protect everyone from themselves, and the cameras must be mandatory.
Diner Monitoring Cameras
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death, and it’s well known that obesity is a heavily contributing factor. Fast food is a big contributor to obesity, so it’s obvious that every table at McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Burger King needs a Diner Monitoring Camera. If the camera sees someone eating too much, a robot arm (mounted under the camera) can take away the food. Artificial neural networks can estimate the calories of a meal and take away everything over about 1,000 calories.
In most cases, the robo-arm will take away the soda and part of the french fries. Sure, people who already paid for the sides will be mad that they’re being taken away. They might even sue, so we need a law granting immunity to restaurants installing the mandatory Diner Monitoring Cameras.
Now, you may think this is extreme, but obesity and heart disease is a foreseeable abuse that the fast food joints should have done more to prevent.
“What about personal choice and freedom?” you may ask. And you’re wrong, obviously. Obesity and heart disease are McDonald’s fault. We can’t expect people to watch out for their own health and make good nutritional choices without being forced.
Bonus benefit: The Diner Monitoring Camera can watch out for people eating too fast and take their food away for a few seconds while they chew better. This will prevent another common cause of deaths: choking.
Ladder Monitoring Cameras
The #3 cause of deaths (according to CDC) is accidents. There are many kinds of accidents, but I know a common one is misusing a ladder. You need to get it the right distance away from the wall, make sure it’s on stable ground, watch out for power lines and other things above you, among many other things. We obviously need Ladder Monitoring Cameras to make sure people are safe.
By mounting a few cameras on the ladder, connecting them to a small computer, and using neural networks, unsafe ladder use could be detected, including people completely abusing ladder technology like in the video below.
A loudspeaker that screams, “THIS PERSON IS USING THEIR LADDER IMPROPERLY. PLEASE CALL THE AUTHORITIES.” can be activated when the neural networks detect improper ladder use. They ladder’s registered owner (yes, we need ladder registration and insurance) can receive a text message directing them to watch safety videos and try again.
This would drive the price of even small home stepladders up to probably $800, but it’s a small price to pay to save a few lives.
Toilet Monitoring Cameras
I know people are going to be sensitive about this one, but let’s face it–toilets sometimes get misused.
One common misuse of toilets is giving people swirlies. It may seem like a childish prank, but bullying has lifelong effects. To prevent the misuse of toilets, we obviously need Toilet Monitoring Cameras. If bullying is detected, the toilet can be drained and disabled, and a notification sent to Mr. Strickland’s office.
Losing your bathroom privacy is a small price to pay to prevent people from being mentally scarred for life. If you don’t agree, you need to think of the children more, and quit being so selfish. Besides, unless bullying is detected (and the software will definitely be perfect at first release), the cameras won’t save any footage of you partially undressed.
Cat Monitoring Camera
I don’t know about you, but my cats are obsessed with catnip. It’s like a drug for them. We need Cat Monitoring Cameras for special catnip storage cabinets. We don’t want our little friends overdosing on catnip.
Bedroom Monitoring Cameras
Finally, we need Bedroom Monitoring Cameras. I know, I know, it’s an invasion of privacy, but you never know when something bad might happen in your bedroom. If you misuse your pillows or bedsheets, you could potentially suffocate. There’s also sleep apnea, overheating from electric blankets, and fire from misused heaters or candles. All of this can kill you in your sleep, so it would be a good idea to have a neural network to watch out for us.
You could also monetize the bedroom camera with one click and turn safety into cold, hard cash. After all, there are a number of perfectly reputable websites that will purchase footage taken in people’s bedrooms.
If you disagree, you obviously don’t like safety or money.
Obviously, I don’t really think any of this is a good idea. I just wanted to show how absurd the approach of government-mandated monitoring cameras is. In theory, they’d help, but we can’t assume that they absolve the owner of a vehicle from personal responsibility for their own actions.
In Tesla’s case, the Consumer Reports testers had to buckle the seatbelt behind the driver to bypass the first safety measure. They also had to hang weights on the steering wheel to disable the second safety measure. Then, they had to climb out of the seat. Every one of these actions shows that they know they’re not doing what the manufacturer intended with the vehicle.
If we treated other things in life this way, we’d be appalled. Cameras on toilets, even if we know they’re not saving or sending footage anywhere, would freak most people out. Same for cameras in bedrooms, kitchens, and other places.
Instead of doing the absurd to protect against people who know they’re doing something wrong and breaking the law, we should go after the lawbreakers. The alternative, using AI babysitters everywhere to protect us from ourselves, is absurd.
I’m not against driver monitoring technology, but it should be something different manufacturers adopt or don’t adopt in the marketplace. Mandating them for all vehicles prevents a diversity of solutions to driver attention issues from developing and gives the public the idea that their lack of attention is the manufacturer’s fault and not their own.
The companies that want to use it should use it, and car buyers should be able to choose whether they want to buy a vehicle with it or not.
Featured image provided by Magna.