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Can cars pay attention to planets?

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I recognize this is a somewhat unique, and a radical, expensive proposal, but we just haven't been able to give up cars, and we probably won't, ever. With electric, driverless cars on the horizon, the societal consequences will be profound, not just with the inevitable loss of employment for drivers who need this psychological health, but the loss of our 21st-century culture engrained in all of us. The technology, or the algorithms to readjust to make this technology real, could be close, and with the right models and regulatory oversight, including revenue from virtual-traffic violations, this unique idea could take off. Whilst seemingly far-fetched and counterintuitive, it may materialise in East Asia initially, but the radical constructs we need to address loneliness and isolation almost certainly will be novel concepts. Loneliness directly affects our planet, not just us as individuals, or families, or societies.

Obviously, some susceptible people may become addicted to this technology. So there needs to be legislated rules around time limits, and importantly, real-life financial penalties for breaking normal traffic rules in the environment you are virtually driving in. I think this is much more "healthy" than Westworld, or sex robots -- which are coming, ready or not. Our technology needs to ground us in reality and law, not in encouraging our baser instincts -- perhaps apart from the pan-cultural hunting metaphor many of us could identify with. To succeed, it has to command our attention, with familiarity, and a five senses, immersive, grounded in reality experience.

I don't have the skills to make my own. Can you, Alphabet? C'mon keep up, don't bagarap!

Work with psychologists and anthropologists. These theories are real, and you're the most logical corporation to help with solving them.

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Because, for the moment, I still call Australia home.

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Peter is a medical registrar in Melbourne, Australia, with experience and interests in Infectious Diseases and Addiction Medicine. He is currently completing a Masters of Science (Infectious Diseases) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical (more...)

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