Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

In Pittsburgh, they're currently enjoying the sheer uplifting glory of a self-driving Uber.

One suspects that insurance companies might feel a little tightness in hidden regions at the idea of little Priuses being left entirely to their own devices.

You see, no one knows, for example, how a self-driving car might decide -- in the event of a sudden accident looming -- whether to kill you when you're inside it or three people on the street toward whom it might be suddenly hurtling.

So these Ubers still have a driver inside.

You might, though, be able to enjoy the full glory of self-driving machines soon in Walmart.

As Quartz reports, Walmart has applied for a self-driving shopping cart patent.

It had to come, didn't it?

After all, you can't really trust yourself to push a shopping cart down an aisle.

Sometimes, the wheels don't do quite what you'd like them to. Sometimes, you're blocking a whole aisle without realizing it.

And technology is there to protect your back and biceps, isn't it?

This patent, therefore, imagines that your cart will roll along on a sort of Roomba.

If you need it, you simply shout: "OK, carthorse."

Well, not quite.

You have to get your cellphone out -- or your blisteringly useful Apple Watch, of course -- and push a few buttons.

Suddenly, your cart will be there like your obedient puppy.

Of course, the self-driving cart will be more useful than just showing off its self-driving skills.

It can remind you to buy three extra bottles of ketchup. It can direct you to the right aisle to get your ketchup. (I never know whether it's next to the spices, the soups or the olive oils.)

It can even berate you when you buy too many bottles of ketchup or too many tubs of Haagen-Dazs white chocolate raspberry truffle.

I'm sorry, that last one is my twisted dream.

As we enter an age where Apple would like us to wear headphones permanently in our ears so that we can talk to Siri, is it so hard to imagine that soon we'll be summoning shopping carts and talking to them -- while they will be talking to us?

I remain, though, slightly twitchy about a shopping cart that becomes so upset at the unhealthy foods you put into it -- and the fruits and vegetables you choose to ignore -- that it pins you up against an aisle and talks to you like a Dalek.

Buy bananas or be exterminated, you human vermin!

Technology always creates such delicious possibilities, doesn't it?

Published on: Sep 15, 2016
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