In an earlier article I briefly explored the psychological impact self-driving cars will have on society. Gone would be the expansive independence of literally being in the driver’s seat—rather, we would become a nation of essentially chauffeured individuals, our hands rarely touching the steering wheel.
The dawning of the self-driving chair takes that paradigm shift one step further.
Now, what is a self-driving chair and how does it differ from a motorized wheelchair or other similar vehicles?
Self-driving chairs are basically “intelligent seats” that can be used for things like waiting in line. Instead of standing in a queue, moving a very short distance to “keep up,” the chair—which is equipped with sensors—can move and steer for you. You can just zone out, read a magazine, or whatever until it’s your turn at the DMV or to buy your ticket.
These self-driving chairs can also be theoretically used in offices, to move around the workspace, and (yeah I guess) at home too.
In theory, you may never need waste valuable time standing or walking again unless it’s absolutely necessary.
If this sounds or looks familiar to you at all, it may be because you remember this:
And so we become, like the future humans of WALL-E, completely dependent on our personal vehicles and devices for even the smallest thing. I mean…we are hugely dependent on technology to get even basic everyday stuff done now, but this is just going to take it to another level.
We don’t walk: we are guided along on our self-driving chairs. We don’t drive, but rather are driven. We don’t steer; we are led.
With the self-driving chair, a certain passivity is baked into the mix (far different from the motorized wheelchair which allows its user extra independence and ease of movement). And yet how many of us, exhausted from the demands of our daily lives in modern society, wouldn’t welcome sitting in the self-driving chair at the grocery store or ticket line?
I could say: “no self-driving chairs, we need to be more active and self-determined.” But how much will the other features of our future world conspire to make such “innovations” the only logical option?