(This is a work of satire. Sometimes, satire makes you laugh. Please read it in one sitting for instant therapeutic effects.)
A car is born
Even as congress passed bills to introduce one-way sliding glass halfway through taxicabs in New York to get rid of driver-passenger contact in an effort to decline increasing sexual assault cases on women passengers in taxis, Google decided to splurge its tax money on an alternate solution: getting rid of the driver.
It was most likely how the company’s second most ambitious project came into being. (The first was a backrub.) An alternate story goes thus: a Google employee named Coegi Princeps, in his designated fourteen-hours-a-day leisure time at Mountainview, came up with an idea that he presented to CEO Erikus Schmitdtd. As the story goes, he said the company should improve its car line up with a six-seater sedan. Schmitdtd rightly pointed out to him that Google makes money; GM next door is the one who makes cars.
Princeps then suggested Google should make one as well, just for the fun of it. “A six-seater?” sighed Schmitdtd, as close sources put it. “You’re planning to go with a single, long seat up front to seat two men next to the driver instead of one?”
“No,” said Princeps, who believed he had a much simpler idea, “we get rid of the driver.”
Google hates drivers; both the ones inside computer memories (hence its laptop lookalike, the Chromebook, also a symbol of the company’s obsession with all things chrome) and outside. It is quite surprising, therefore, that the logos of neither the Chrome browser nor the Chromebook are chrome-coloured.
The self-driving car crashed into Google’s own Mountainview campus on its first trial run because the left bumper recognised the right bumper as an obstacle and tried to get away from it.
Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons
That afternoon, it was decided that Google would build a car that would drive itself. It’s design was partly inspired by the self galloping horse-cart built three centuries ago by Arisptolemy. Schmitdtd and his entourage called Princeps home later that day to hear out his simple idea.
“It’s simple.” Princeps said for the third time. “We use laser radar systems mounted on a rangefinder to map the car’s surroundings, beam it up to our servers, create a three-dimensional map, beam it back, then beam it up again to verify using our Google Authenticator Android app, then beam it back to the car’s Velodyne, compare it to existing Google maps and create models representing all three-hundred-and-sixty degrees and feed that into the AI, tricking it into thinking it’s in a computer simulated environment, condition it to prevent collisions with obstacles in the simulated world and drive like the XBox 360.”
“Brilliant!” Schmitdtd cried (they say).
“But what about server costs?” Somebody asked. “Will our servers take it?”
“I have that prepared.” Princeps said, taking out a folder. “Amazon has cut their server prices by half for Christmas.”
TV gone wrong
Some say the Google Glass started as the Google TV project, but since Apple owned copyrights to all television displays sized 2″ and above in rectangular format of standard, high, retina, 2K and 4K definition formats with HDMI in and out ports, TV/AV cables, thunderbolt, USB 3.0, standard 3.5mm and extended jack, built-in extension cords and wall mounts, Google was forced to create a TV a mere half-inch in diagonals and mount it on spectacle frames so people do not sit on it or lose it within their trouser pockets. They were so engrossed with the TV that they marketed the first edition of their Glass without any glass: a grave mistake corrected in forthcoming editions of the product.
Google’s version of the story is less complex: ‘We wanted to be everywhere.’ The company stated in a press release. ‘But, since we could not embed our product into your brain, where’s the next best place to put it?’
Google’s early efforts with Glass included trying out a Ray-Ban polarising aviator lens. But the lens polarised the Glass display making the tiny TV invisible, thereby hindering Google’s progress greatly.
Glass’ second attempt at total customisation was the introduction of a touchpad on the side of the frame, just above the ear. Since many people are uncomfortable with the three-inch touchpads on their laptops, Google was smart enough to figure the quarter-inch touchpad it provided would prove to be inadequate and therefore included an external mouse option. You could now carry a mouse you never wanted to control a computer you never wanted, a mere inch from your eyes.
The second, latest, iteration of Glass runs on Android 4.0.4 and higher and received rave reviews such as, “The navigation bar is so cool it only covers half my vision!” and “When I blink against the sun, the status shade pulls down and covers my eyes!” and “The device fits seamlessly, I soon forgot it was even on my head.” Which, interestingly, is what old people who’ve lost their glasses say as well.
On the field
The first incident involving the driverless car happened on a date whose specifics are now lost. In fact, you’ll find the specifics of this accident cannot be Googled either. On Sunnyvale Blvd., CA, about 3.7 miles northwest of Google’s Mountainview headquarters, when the self-driving car team had taken a few minutes off to view Mountains (a hobby called piedmontology, also not Googleable), a drunk driver rear-ended the Google Car.
The LA Post then reported that the drunken man, a Chinese, Whu Ray Lee Drives, had this to say: “Like, I press the accelerator when the signal turns red, just like you’re supposed to, and this dang thing doesn’t budge. So before I know, I’ve, like, traveled 300 metres and dug into this Prius. Then I get up, like, to talk to the driver and give him a piece o’ my mind, and, like, it’s like the headless horseman all over again. There was no driver. I musta been drunk, or I’d never have imagined it, so I took out my car and tried to run away before I realised it was a cop car and…”
The same day, Cat Silvia Selfieton decided to make history by taking the world’s first Google Glass selfie without a mirror by forcing the lens to twist inward. The result, she said, was stunning:
Image courtesy: Flickr/3X0=3 with no disrespect to the photographer
By November, Google had started looking to produce the driverless car commercially. Needless to say, drivers did not take this well (both the ones inside computers and out). A law was never passed because congress said it had no laws targetted at driverless cars; specifically, congressman D.A.M. Düd Evenstein was quoted as saying, “We need a scapegoat. Every time a car is in an accident, we need to blame somebody. In a driverless car, only the car is to blame. We can put cars behind bars, but cars take too much more space than men, so we cannot put as many cars behind bars at once as we can men, hence self-driving cars cannot be allowed.”
But Glass was a much easier product to market. Since the government could not come up with a suitable alternative for “do not drink and drive”, such as “do not glass and jive”, no objections were placed with regard to its use. Therefore, now, for instance, looking through Glass and texting, voyeuristically photographing, consistent blinking for no good reason and rubbing the sides of your spectacles are all perfectly sane and legal actions to perform in public.
The real fun comes when a person wears Glass and lets his self-driving car take him around, as Jim Weinerbottom did just last week. As the first person to splurge US$100,000 on a car that came without a chauffeur and spectacles that came without glass, Jim enjoys his daily trips to the office where he neither drives to nor looks around at.
“It’s like the perfect day.” Says Jim. “I get up, put on my Glass, I rub my eyes, freshen up and delete the photographs it took when I rubbed my eyes and freshened up, then have breakfast with the recipe Glass gives me, eat as fast as the Glass clock tells me, walk to the car, sit inside, wait as it drives me to my office at Mountainview where our self coding robot (our next project) does my job while I go watch’mountains behind the Mountainview campus, walk to the automatic coffee dispenser, have a cup of coffee, then toss my can to the auto disposal bin, then use the escalators and conveyor belts to zoom around campus, have my self-driving car drop me back home, then go to pick up the groceries Glass tells me, then use Glass to check recipes, cook, eat, delete photographs I accidentally took by blinking while cooking and eating, and sleep when Glass tells me it’s time and my car has driven itself into the garage.
“I’m living the dream!” Jim says. “It’s so great that I’m no longer needed any more. In fact, I sometimes feel like the obstacle myself. I can now sell my limbs and brain on ebay to buy the next versions of Glass and Car for a more fulfilling Jetsons life.
Glass releases to the world in 2014, while the car is still driving around to senators’ offices with nobody inside to get out and negotiate on its behalf.
Cover image: Flickr/giuseppe.constantino
This is a work of satire. Like all works of satire, it should be taken seriously for its humour; but an underlying concern about the performance of these products does exist, although not in this author’s mind. Indeed, this author loves Google. He uses nearly every product Google has created (and buried) except AdWords. Because he was banned from AdWords and nobody knows why. Not even Google.