Tuesday, October 10, 2017

whispers: they don't exist

But, hey, roll out the ad campaign anyway.

To be human is to fear the unknown. And since only a tiny fraction of people have ever had the experience of riding in a self-driving car, most fear them: the loss of control, the distrust of the technology, the fear of malicious hacking, etc. The companies that hope to eventually make lots of money on autonomous vehicles realize their promised riches will never materialize if they can’t convince ordinary people to go for a ride. Which brings us to LeBron James, who I’m told is a very famous basketball player.

Starting today, James will headline a broadcast and digital ad campaign aimed at building trust in autonomous vehicles. The campaign, which features a trepidatious James getting in the backseat of a driverless sedan, will lead up to the NBA season opener between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics on October 17th. It’s the first time self-driving cars have been marketed to the general public, and it’s airing before this technology is even commercially available.

In a few years you can all dunk on me when you're all riding around in these things, but I do think spending a lot of money (and hiring King James costs a lot of money) to market a product which does not exist and which even its slightly more honest boosters admit won't exist for a few years is hilarious.