DESPITE self-driving cars getting a strong endorsement by US President Barack Obama and the introduction of a six self-driving “robo-taxis” for a two-month trial in Singapore, some of us here in Bangkok get the heebie jeebies at the very thought of cruising around the city in a vehicle with on one at the wheel.
Yes the more forward-looking folk might well say we should time-travel back to stone age if we don’t welcome these brilliant innovations but what bothers us is who is going to be responsible if something goes wrong. For example if the self-driving vehicle hits and injures someone crossing the road, is it the passenger who is going to be hauled in or are the police going to put the offending vehicle in a pound?
Of course the rationale sounds good, for example the American President said: “Automated vehicles have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives each year. And right now, for too many senior citizens and Americans with disabilities, driving isn’t an option. Automated vehicles could change their lives.”
But who, pray, who is going to be responsible for the lives that these self-driving cars and robo-taxis take in accidents that are bound to occur. After all machines are not infallible.
Pretty baby, you’re for me
WE just don’t understand the uproar over a small, purple car for women which Seat and lifestyle publication Cosmopolitan collaborated in producing and which was unveiled at Cosmopolitan’s FashFest event in London on Friday.
We always wanted to drive a car that comes with jewel-effect rims, a handbag hook and “eyeliner headlights” that the manufacturer said emphasized in the same way as make-up emphasizes the eye.
Seat Mii by Cosmopolitan is available on pre-order in two colors, a deep purple Violetto or Candy White and there are three versions available: a 60 horsepower, a 68 horsepower and a 75 horsepower.
To us being feminine does not undermine our support for greater gender equality in anyway; certainly a car does not do so. Going on about gender stereotyping won’t wash with us because this car is so cool.
ALL roads now lead to China with this again amplified by an interesting piece of news early last week that the number of British students choosing to study in China has soared in the past year with experts now predict that China could overtake UK as top university destination within the next couple of years.
The Independent quoted Student.com as forecasting that China will overtake UK’s position in world for international study by 2020 and would eventually be competing with US for the first place.
This newspaper also said that more than 397,000 international students went to China in 2015 – an increase of more than double within the past ten years – making it the third most popular destination for overseas students ahead of Canada, Germany and France.
Thai parents should take note of this trend and perhaps if the children find it difficult to learn English enroll them for Mandarin classes instead because it’s quite possible the latter could be more helpful when they grow up.
If wishes were horses…
WHILE we applaud former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra for saying in her Facebook post that she hoped to be the last Thai prime minister to be ousted in a military coup, we really have to point out that this is wishful thinking.
Let us not forget these facts: since 1932 there have been 19 coups d’état, 12 of them successful, and 20 constitutions which is an average of one roughly every four years. Thailand has also had 25 general elections so far.
But of course the former prime minister knows that full well because she also said that this cycle will never disappear from the Thai society and added that every time there is a coup, Thailand will lose an opportunity to stand in the world’s arena in grace, be deprived of development, lose economic and trade cooperation and investment from other countries while rights and liberties are curtailed.
TOP: Google’s self-driving car on the on the road recently. Photo: Smoothgroover22 (CC-BY-2.0)
INSET: The Spanish auto-maker’s Seat Mii by Cosmopolitan at the FashFest event in London lon Friday. Photo: CNN
By Nina Suebsukcharoen