Don, we don't need to slow down

Posted on March 26, 2018 in
2 min read

I'm a fan of Don Norman. I consider his "The Design of Everyday Things" book a milestone for every designer.

But this cannot stop me to disagree with him and, more precisely, with his latest essay about driverless car in the context of the recent accident that occurred some days ago.

So, Don: why that caution? You begin even with the obvious question:

Imperfect automation, continually getting better? Or distracted drivers, continually getting worse? Choose.

If this means 1 vs 40 deaths, the former choice, of course.

If you had a magic wand to swap the system overnight, wouldn't you do it? I would.

In technology (and science) there is a main rule: the more the tests the better the knowledge, thus, refinements and fixes.

The comparison with the medical industry and the approval process doesn't really make sense to me.
Putting chemical substance into bodies is not like experimenting with a technology such as the autonomous driving car. Medicine can have impacts and bad (unexpected) consequences even after 10/15 years. Wrongly designed drug can increase deaths while the actual self-driving technology is able to reduce (not eliminate) the accidents.

There are technologies, much more potentially dangerous than the self-driving one, that have been added in our lives without any caution nor questioning (I'm referring to any tech based on frequencies such as wifi, mobile cells, etc).

I'm not a technology-first guy but I think that we should use much care in other fields than the autonomous driving idea, though.