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A Winter's Tale

Are We the Masters Of Our Machines Or Our Machines the Masters Of Us?

A Continuing Series? As cyborgs, we handle machines forming extentions of our bodies without understanding either their operations or their design. These machines differ from the techniques by which humans have, in the case of every human being, produced themselves as human. We do not produce ourselves by using them - we have ourselves produced by them?

Andre Gorz? The Immaterial? 2003 A Winter's Tale

Where ABS and SRS Run Amok.

Your mechanic has been complaining about ABS [automatic braking system] operation in totally slick conditions under 10 mph for some time. We all know without ABS we will lock up the brakes and slide the car, but this is what the driver wants in this situation. Get it?
This is right before you hit something. This is the situation where you can slide to a halt at that last split second. Not so with our automated friend ABS at the wheel. It makes no distinction between a skid at 65 mph or 5 mph. So if you do need to slide to a halt at low speed - forget it - look for the softest thing to steer into and crash into it. A friend says he has turned off the ignition just so the ABS could be disabled and he could slide to a stop. Driving with the ABS auto co-pilot is actually like being the passenger sitting next to an incompetent driver that does stupid things behind the wheel.

John's Volvo 940 wagon came in the other day amidst the snow and ice. The airbag in the steering wheel went off in his face in a 5 mph crackup. He couldn't stop the car, because he became the co-pilot while the ABS took over as pilot, stupidly pumping and stupidly pumping the brake pedal till impact. At this point of impact, which by the way, did no damage to either car, John even ceased being the co-pilot: he became the assistant co-pilot as the SRS [suplimental restraint system] deployed with the airbag plowing into his face and the explosive charges in the seatbelt tensioners. Now here we have a the next new thing: The totally automated accident.