cs492 - Spring 2017

Societal Implications with Computer Science

rpe02 -- Neophiles and Neophobes


Increasingly, automobile companies are promising early dates at which they will be offering fully self-driving cars. Furthermore, current high-end cars already contins many of the features that will comprise the fully self-driving vehicle. It is doubtful that the driving skills, social customs and laws of Ontario are ready for the challenges posed by the self-driving car. In this scenario, a committee of the Ontario legislature has called a meeting with stakeholders to define the issues that must be resolved during the process of admitting self-driving cars to the roads of Ontario.

Team A. Neophiles.

You are an enthusiastic driver, and an eager adopter of new technology. Your grand-parents had the first Macintosh (now classic!) in your hometown; you have an Amazon Echo in your kitchen and a Google Home in your bedroom. While you will regret losing the thrill of driving the ability to work while your car drives you to the office is irresistible. You are confident that a newly developed car will be better in all respects than the ones we have now: trying to hold it off the road is like trying to hold back the tide. A few fenders may be bent in the process, but that's the price of progress.

Team B. Neophobes.

You like to think before acting and are cautious about adopting new ideas. You wait for the first service pack to be shipped before upgrading to a new version of Windows. You don't like to fix things that are not broken. You think that when it comes to technology as pervasive and dangerous as the automobile, letting others find the bugs is the prudent choice. Second adopters often surpass the first mover, as Google surpassed Yahoo in search. A slow, considered path to adoption is likely to be best for all.

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