When Discipline comes from Machines

As humans give into the temptations of distraction and attention fragmentation, intelligent machines will discipline our behavior.

Today more than ever, we fall for distractions delivered by our smartphones in the never ending quest for %100 availability in our online lives. Work emails, social media posts, messages from friends. All this content saps our ability to be truly in the moment, especially when it counts the most: operating a motor vehicle.

With the emergence of intelligent technologies, machines are beginning to play an interesting role in our lives. They are becoming the disciplinarians of our behavior, because we as humans, are weakening in our abilities to responsibly operate in society.

Don't believe me? Take a look at this latest Subaru Commercial:


The message is packaged as an interesting view on the role technology plays as an extension of the parent in a family unit. Essentially, Subaru is marketing their distraction-focused technology that ensures drivers keep their eyes on the road at all times for situational awareness. The car can sense when a driver is distracted and corrects the behavior, and if necessary, engages the car's breaks if there is need to intervene in the situation.

We can no longer trust ourselves to be responsible and the technology will discipline us for this endangerment towards other drivers on the road. But what is worse, is that we are beginning to no longer trust each other.

When cars pass each other on a two lane, appreciate the massive amount of trust you put into a stranger's ability to abide by societal constructs of traffic etiquette. You pass each other with the goal of self-preservation. Both drivers follow the laws and stay in the lanes. But, as driver attention is sapped and relocated into cell phones, providing distractions, we signal to companies and technology start-ups that our will power as a society is dwindling, and we welcome technologies that will discipline our behavior.

A transfer of trust is moving from humans to the technologies that companies are implementing for safety. As Machines become more Autonomous, We become Less