I’m apalled, but it appears I haven’t done an Automotive Would You Rather since June! June! How have you people been going on? I have no idea how you’ve managed so well, all AWYR-less. It’s miserable. Well, I’m here to turn on your headlights rather than curse your darkness, so let’s just get into it, shall we? These are likely the most important ethical, philosophical, eschatological and, um, scatalogical questions you’ll encounter all week, so we’re not in a position to waste time. Off we go!
You know how this works: I give you two automotive-related, highly plausible scenarios, and you have to pick which one You’d Rather go with. You get it.
SCENARIO ONE: The Gargoyle’s Teleporter
So you’re out one weekend doing some maintenance on your house, which, for the sake of this discussion, is an extremely old building with a number of gargoyles carved into it. Maybe onto it? That sounds better. There’s a bunch of gargoyles. Of all kinds. And you need to clean them and make them presentable, because the neighbors are complaining. So, your climbing all over the building, scrubbing down gargoyles, and ending up straddling the lap of the largest one, a hideous brute of a gargoyle that looks like what would happen if Gérard Depardieu mated with a goblin. You’re finishing up brushing the gargoyle’s teeth when you start to feel the stone beast stir.
The gargoyle’s eyes begin to swivel, noisily, and the stone of his body somehow becomes pliant, cold but skin-like, as the gargoyle moves around. You’re shocked, and yank the toothbrush out of his mouth, almost falling from the action until the gargoyle’s strong hands grab you, and hold you tight. His face turns to face you, and he locks eyes with you.
“I am the Gargoyle Head Alderman!” he bellows at you. “You have performed a great service for me, wiping away the grime of over a century and getting my molars nice and clean! Plus, that rubdown felt great, and I won’t lie, I’ve been a little affection-starved, so this was just what I needed.”
He then pulls you into a slightly painful, cold embrace, one that lasts a bit too long.
“I am in your debt! And, as you know, a gargoyle always pays their debts! Now, let me see how best to repay you!” And with that he jammed a hard pinky finger deep into your ear. Your vision blurred, you felt a bit nauseous, and then, as shockingly as it started, the pinky was pulled out, with an audible pop.
“Ah ha!” The Gargoyle Head Alderman yelled. “You like cars! A lot. A weird amount, really. Okay. I have one power up my sleeve that should work well here: when I touch you, the first type of car that you think of will become your own personal teleportation chamber. You can get into that make and model of car anywhere on Earth, and be instantly transported to that same make and model, wherever else it exists on Earth! Just think of the location you want, and you’ll be teleported into the driver’s seat of the closest matching car to that location!”
And then he touched your forehead with his big stony finger, and you felt a surge of energy through your body.
“Oh, I should have mentioned one side effect of this: you can no longer drive a car anymore. If you try, your junk will explode. I guess I should have mentioned that before? Oh well.”
I sure hope you picked a car that’s well-distributed around the world! And something not too rare! The gargoyle then flung you back through a window into the building, leaving you laying on the floor hoping like hell the car that you were thinking of was a good choice. Also, what if the car you picked that’s closest to the destination you want is like hundreds of miles away?
I guess you better test this out?
SCENARIO TWO: Over-The-Brain-Updates
You ordered a new pair of wireless airbuds from one of those sites like Temu or Wish or one of those places that has vast electronics factories in countries like Upper Melurinia or the Republic of Ankothimarizicratia, and they just arrived. The airbuds look impressive, and are a bit smaller than the sort you’re used to. You pair them with your phone, and place them into your ears, but they’re a bit uncomfortable, and feel like they may fall out.
When you play some music to test them out, they activate more than you expected, burrowing into your ears deeper, corkscrew-style. You begin to panic, because everything about this feels wrong wrong wrong until, all of a sudden, it doesn’t. You feel more aware and connected, somehow than you have ever before, but you’re not sure how, or to what. At some point, your wondering about this must have sent some signal to your phone which displays this message:
Congratulations on your purchase of the Nostriltech OTA2100 Earbud Data Transmission System. While these earbuds are not suitable for streaming audio from any of your devices, and will cause severe inner ear pain if attempted, the OTA2100 is the premier system for sending over-the-air software updates to any car capable of receiving such software.
To use, simply think of the make and models of cars you’d like to update, then think of the parameters of the new software. Our cloud-based AI will transform your requests into executable code which will then be broadcast to every vehicle in question. The functions performed by the code must be only what the car is actually capable of doing with their existing hardware.
This product is not removable. Enjoy!
Oh boy. So, if you decide that you want all Tesla Model 3s to have a top speed of 22 mph and honk their horns every six minutes for a 30 second burst, you can do that! You can make all modern Volvos set their radios to XM’s First Wave station and play that full volume, always, forever. You can make every Ford Mach-e lock its right rear wheel whenever the glove box is opened. Want to make Tesla Model X open their falcon doors whenever their cameras see a cyclist? Sure! The possibilities are limitless, and nearly all terrible!
Would you want this kind of power? It’s possible these companies could find out its you doing it, at some point, but you’re not sure. Is it too much power?
Sounds kinda fun, though.
Okay! Two miserable-wonderful scenarios! Which of these more-terrible-the-more-you-think-about-them abilities will you choose?