Today's Must Read: Google Doesn't Get Us

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
today s must read google doesn t get us

In the absence of While You Were Sleeping, I’d like to open up the floor to discussion on this spectacular piece from Jalopnik‘s Damon Lavrinc, titled Google Co-Founder ​Sergey Brin Doesn’t Understand Us And Never Will.

Lavrinc lays out the case that Brin and his ilk see

not just cars, but car ownership is inefficient, wasteful, and dangerous. They take up too much space, use too many resources, and, listening to Brin, are an unconscionable blight on society…Brin looks at the world through an engineer’s lens. It’s binary: good versus bad, progress versus stagnation. The idea that someone would derive any amount of pleasure from the act of driving is completely antithetical to the society Brin envisions. Add in the fact that he’s also the protagonist in a world of his own creation, worth $30 billion, and nestled safely inside the Silicon Valley hive mind, and – with the right (Google) glasses – you can see where he’s coming from. Until you can’t.

Lavrinc describes this vision as “divorced from reality”, and rightfully so. I personally abhor this mindset for a whole host of reasons, whether it’s because I don’t want an engineer in Silicon Valley deciding to reshape my access to mobility in their pseudo-utopian image, or that Brin stands to profit handsomely from a plan that would engender the obsolescence of one of my favorite hobbys.

Most of all, I resent the mindset that every facet of life must be optimized, engineered or worse “disrupted”. A world like this leaves no room for spontaneity or idiosyncrasy, two of the imperfections that add so much joy to life. But I understand that this is the way the world is going – and if I faced a long, arduous commute, I’d probably have a different opinion.

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3 of 194 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jul 13, 2014

    I envision a perfect future like 30 years later when people like Brin will be replaced by far more powerful artificial intelligence. No surprise here - Sergei Brin came from Russia which whole transportation model during Soviet Era was based on the absence of private property including cars, only chosen few could own personal car. And cars were self-driving from apparatchik perspective who always had personal chauffeur assigned by Government. And US is slowly becoming a new Soviet Union so I agree with Sergei Brin - that is what will happen in US too.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Jul 13, 2014

      You know, ILO, had you left politics out of your rant, your argument might have had some relevancy. But by making it a political argument, it lost all relevance to the story. The article is about Self-driven cars, not "slave driven".

  • Voyager Voyager on Jul 16, 2014

    If Google pulls driverless off, it may well hit a hole in one. Not only the automobile industry may be targeted, yes or no allying itself with a big (car) brand, but also car ownership itself as was stated before, as well as... public transportation. And we haven't even discussed the fact that next to following an individual virtually over the internet, Google will then be able to track you in the flesh, wherever you go. Big Brother watching you, wherever you go. Who would have thought that Joseph Stalin reincarnated in some Silicon Valley engineer?

  • Johnny ringo It's an interesting vehicle, I'd like to see VW offer the two row Buzz in the states also.
  • Chuck Norton And guys are having wide spread issues with the 10 speed transmission with the HP numbers out of the factory......
  • Zerofoo "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.
  • Kwik_Shift There are no new Renegades for sale within my geographic circle of up to 85 kms. Looks like the artificial shortage game. They bring one in, 10 buyers line up for it, $10,000 over MSRP. Yeah. Like with a lot of new cars.
  • Ribbedroof In Oklahoma, no less!