The Parable of the Smart Accelerator

Published on April 16, 2011 by

One day in the not too distant future, a computerized car rolled off the robotic assembly line. A person bought the car because of the huge advantage that came from its smart parts: the human could sit back and leave the driving to the car. The car had lots of smart sensors that could detect road hazards and traffic signs. It also had smart controls that could drive smoothly and with great fuel efficiency, while obeying traffic laws and avoiding accidents.

The key component of the whole car, at least in its own estimation, was the accelerator. After all, without the accelerator, the car would just sit in the same place. And being a smart accelerator, it continually searched for better, faster routes in order to get the car’s passengers where they wanted to go as efficiently as possible.

There was one main obstacle to the smart accelerator’s plans: the smart brake. (The accelerator was convinced that the brake was not really all that smart, particularly in comparison to the accelerator’s intellect.) The only function of the brake seemed to be to slow the progress of the car, sometimes stopping it altogether.

That did not please the accelerator. Getting to the destination was the most important thing, the accelerator believed, and anything that slowed or stopped the car was therefore ignorant or even evil.

What a wonderful car this would be if only the stupid brake weren’t able to spoil things, thought the smart accelerator. And it began turning all the other parts of the car against the brake. Eventually it succeeded, and the brake had no more power to interfere with the smart accelerator’s plans.

And the smart accelerator drove the car faster and more efficiently than ever before, and was very happy until the car smashed into a rather dumb dump truck.

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One comment on “The Parable of the Smart Accelerator”

  1. Audrey Stone says:

    Wish the idiots on Capitol Hill would read this!