Autonomes!

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Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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28 Responses

  1. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    I earnestly hope that autonomes/driverless cars become enough of a reality that we have good cause to discuss what to call them.Report

  2. Avatar Tod Kelly
    Ignored
    says:

    Isn’t this just a little too close to “Autobots?”Report

  3. Avatar Glyph
    Ignored
    says:

    While I understand the impulse, this coinage doesn’t work for me. Not only does it call to mind “gnome” (and therefore visions of the Smart car), and appear-to-be-but-is-not the regular Greek suffix -nome, but

    in French it’s already used

    Not in MY America, buddy. Not in MY America.

    “Auto-auto”? Technically works, but sounds too silly.

    “iCar”? Probably Jobs’ last trademarked word before being interred in a gleaming, minimalist white sarcophagus.

    “Autocar” is already used some places in Europe, I believe, for standard cars, but is available for use here (plus, it opens up the possibility of dumb “auto-carotic” puns).Report

  4. Avatar Marchmaine
    Ignored
    says:

    Ahhh… the silent g. = autognome. Makes perfect sense.Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    Why don’t we had the ro from robot to car and call driverless cars, rocars? Large parts of the population are going to be relucant to add a French loan word.Report

  6. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    My car is slowly going insane. There’s something wrong with the computer; though exactly which computer is unclear. It throws up error messages randomly, and does odd things like fail to recognize the key and think I’m trying to steal it. Scanning it returns no error codes and resets everything back to ‘normal.’ It will require a new computer or multiple new computers, though nobody seems sure which one to start out with.

    A recent ride in a tow truck revealed just how common and these odd problems of automobile sanity are.

    I do believe it may be the gnomes, acts of mischief to help protect the earth from whence they sprung. They’ve left their flower gardens and vegetable patches in a war on reclamation. And I wouldn’t trust an autognome so infected. Or potentially infected.Report

  7. “drones”, although they have no human on board, are not self-guided – there are drone pilots, sometimes on the other side of the world, who can receive medals for especially meritorious mass murderReport

  8. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    Second, using the word “autonome” for self-driving cars will cause the carmakers and autophiles of the world to Google-bury a loathsome group of neo-Nazis. Couldn’t happen to a more worthy bunch!

    You know who else took over French stuff to try to wipe the slate clean on the German past?Report

  9. Avatar Chris
    Ignored
    says:

    Since they would presumably take over completely, at some point, I say we just call them cars, and keep using “driverless” to distinguish them from the old, soon to be obsolete cars that require drivers.Report

  10. Avatar morat20
    Ignored
    says:

    I suspect we will call them….”cars”, and not bother renaming them. We’ll just stop referring to them as “driven” or “driverless” unless in the context of collisions, which will slowly shift from “Was the computer driving when you had your accident” to “Where you/they driving when you had your accident” as time moves on.Report

  11. Avatar BlaiseP
    Ignored
    says:

    Automatic transmissions, power steering, cruise control, computerised fuel injection, antilock braking systems, automatic headlights — now a bit of automatic steering. It’s part of a natural progression. Old joke I told here before, last June. Can’t link to the comment, so I’ll quote it entirely.

    There’s an old joke in robotics, I’ve probably told it before around here.

    In the distant future, technology will have advanced to the point where aircraft can fly from here to there without any pilot input. The computers will optimise for fuel consumption, they’ll avoid troublesome weather systems, the works.

    But people won’t trust those systems. They’ll only fly if there’s a human being in the cockpit, a trained pilot who can take over and fly the aircraft manually, should a problem arise. Airline policy will forbid him from touching the controls under normal circumstances.

    Alongside the automagickal guidance systems, another technology will emerge. Border collies will be specially trained to ride along in the cockpit with the pilot. Should the pilot fall asleep, the dog is trained to bite the pilot in the gonadic regions.

    I’ve been around robotics quite a while. Many of the subsystems are meant to keep people from getting damaged by the robot. Here’s a case in point: to operate some of my robots, the user has to simultaneously depress two spring buttons, one on either side of the robot, thus keeping both hands out of the robot’s work field. This is a Collie Dog routine.Report

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