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

I'm sensitive to the pain of others.

I never enjoy seeing my fellow humans suffer because life is short, so why should it be brutal?

I confess, though, that there are one or two tech companies that force me to suspend my compassion.

Indeed, I'm struggling to muster any on hearing of the suffering currently being experienced at Uber.

You see, this infamously charming company is being beset by bullies.

No, not the greasy, feeling-free types on Wall Street.

Instead, these bullies are apparently just ordinary humans who don't quite appreciate what Uber stands for.

As the Telegraph reports, Uber is pained because random humans are bullying its self-driving cars.

Eric Meyhofer, head of the Uber's Advanced Technologies Group, told the company's Elevate conference in Washington D.C.: 

We've seen people bully these cars. They feel like they can be more aggressive because we won't take a position on it, or we'll allow it. 

Uber will allow it?

You see, it's found a new graciousness after its boisterous, crush-everything beginnings.

It'll actually allow free expression -- however distasteful -- from others.

Meyhofer claims that human drivers won't give way to self-driving cars. He says human drivers taunt the lonesome machines into braking.

Naturally, I wouldn't condone either of these activities. 

But we're all weak.

I'll admit that I'm less likely to give way to anyone driving a Toyota Prius and those in a Tesla with a sanctimonious license plate.

Meyhofer, though, says the bullying takes even more painful forms.

He claims that people -- pedestrians, even -- curse and make rude gestures toward these perfectly innocent self-driving cars.

Some, apparently even raise their middle fingers in greeting. 

And the cars can't answer back.

It must be awful for Uber executives to observe the camera footage from the company's self-driving cars and see real human feelings in action.

Those (who claim to be) of progressive bent will insist these gesticulators are Luddites, sniveling has-beens who should just get with the program.

Others will sniff that Uber's self-driving program is designed to put its own drivers -- who are, of course self-employed -- out of work.

Perhaps this is just a period of inevitably friction-filled transition. 

Technology, after all, always wins in the end.

I wonder, though, whether people's reactions ever give tech executives any pause for thought as to whether they really are making the world a better place.

Probably not. 

Who'd be surprised if Uber's executives observe the footage of middle finger-brandishing humans, raise their own middle fingers and mutter: "Heh, my pretties, we'll get you in the end"?

Published on: Jun 13, 2019
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