Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Spam Autonomous Cars And Philip K. Dick

A terrifying and unsavory possibility was mentioned in the blogosphere this past weekend: what if autonomous car technology was combined with billboard trucks?


(Billboard trucks are an eyesore)

It's an idea that was raised by Reddit user CombustibleCitrus on the SelfDrivingCars subreddit, and it's one that serious thinkers in the industry have already pondered:

"If driverless cars become common, I wonder if there's the possibility that some types of unmanned vehicles could become a nuisance. Will our neighborhoods be patrolled by driverless ice cream trucks, food trucks, vending machine trucks and Google Streetview cars all day long? What about driverless billboard trucks? What's to stop them from clogging up the highways during rush hour?," the Redditor wrote.

Frankly, this is bad enough. However, SF great Philip K. Dick has always gone to a darker place, earlier, than you or I have.

In his 1963 novel The Game Players of Titan, Dick refers to homotropic news vending machines that not only advertise their wares, but autonomously seek out human customers:

At the door of the restaurant an automated news vending machine appeared, with a late edition of the Chronicle. It's Rushmore Effect bleated out "Special coverage of the Luckman murder case." The restaurant, with the exception of their party, was empty; the news vending machine, being homotropic, headed toward them, still bleating.

The last thing I want to see is a homotropic billboard truck that autonomously cruises in search of crowds of people.

If you think this could never happen in real life, take a look at these existing homotropic devices.

An even darker possibility exists - an autonomous billboard truck with your name on it. Targeted to you in particular - maybe a message from a creditor. Again, we have Philip K. Dick to thank for this device from his 1964 novel Lies, Inc.:

A creditor balloon.

"Oh, there you are!" the balloon piped at the amorphous mass of living tissue confronting Rachmael; it descended, tropic to the eye-eating creature. Obviously, it had located its target.
(Read more about Dick's creditor jet-balloon)

Via Motherboard.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/20/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Vehicle ")

CyberCab - Tesla Renames The Robotaxi
'A cybercab dogged their heels...' - Michael Swanwick, 1987.

Elon Musk Says Robotaxis Will Be Ready This August, 2024
'The car had no steering wheel, and no one drove!'

Cheap Drunk Driver Detection From UofM
"Look, I can drive... Start, darn it!" - Philip K. Dick, 1963.

More Like A Tumblebug Than A Motorcycle
'It is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel...'- Robert Heinlein, 1940.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

NYC/Dublin Portal Fails To Meet 'Guardian Of Forever' Standards
I am the Guardian of Forever.

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.'

Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

The FLUTE Project - A Huge Liquid Mirror In Space
'It's area, and its consequent light-gathering capacity, was many times greater than any rigid mirror...'

Robot Preachers Found To Undermine Religious Commitment
'Tell me your torments,' the Padre said, in an elderly voice marked with compassion.

CyberCab - Tesla Renames The Robotaxi
'A cybercab dogged their heels...'

SpaceHopper Microgravity Robot Lands On Its Feet
'...a slender-legged tripod surmounted by a spherical body no larger than a football.'

Brin's 1990 Novel Earth Still Full Of Predictions
'... making the point that their likenesses, every move they made, were being transmitted.'

'Whisper Mode' ala Blue Thunder Researched At Bristol
'Forest Lawn.'

Gaia - Why Stop With Just The Earth?
'But the stars are only atoms in larger space, and in that larger space the star-atoms could combine to form living matter, thinking matter, couldn't they?'

Microsoft VASA-1 Creates Personal Video From A Photo
'...to build up a video picture would require, say, ten million decisions every second. Mike, you're so fast I can't even think about it. But you aren't that fast.'

Splendid View Of Eclipse From Orbit Visualized And Repurposed By Arthur C. Clarke
'The area affected was five hundred kilometres across, and perfectly circular.'

Bespoke Environment Music From AIs
'Call 'em Winter Mute," said the other, making it two words.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.