Me, I’m less enthusiastic. The reason is simple: control. When I drive my car, I’m the one who decides where it goes, and how fast, and what route it takes to get there. In a self-driving car, someone else would be making those decisions for me.
The pitch is that ceding this control makes the whole experience more convenient. Who wants to futz with wheels and pedals, Google asks. Wouldn’t it be easier to just sit down and be magically whisked to wherever you want to go? Wouldn’t that be neat?
It actually probably would be neat, at least at first. But I can’t silence the nagging voice in my head that warns me about what would come next, if I give up my right to choose my own route. If Google’s the one planning the trip, how long until I find my trips start taking me consistently past businesses that advertise with Google? Maybe the car will even wave a digital coupon in my face as we approach them, to entice me to stop.
Or take the thought a step further. What if, instead of taking me on a tour of nearby Google advertisers, the car starts plotting routes for me that take me away from businesses that don’t advertise with Google? What if it refuses to take me to one of those at all, or forces me to wade through a long confirmation process before it will deign to take me there? “I know you said McDonald’s, user, but our valued partner, Burger King, has a location nearby as well! Are you sure you wouldn’t prefer a hot and juicy Whopper™? Are you sure?”