Commentary by Ward Degler
There are a couple of reasons why I will not buy a new car. The price is one. The other is AI.
In 1968, I bought a house in Minneapolis, a two-story stucco with fine woodwork and hardwood floors. It cost $15,000. Also, in 1968, I bought a new car, a ‘67 Pontiac LeMans, for $2,900.
I understand that prices for everything have increased since 1968. A dozen eggs back then cost 49 cents. Today, a dozen costs $2.49.
Still, I shudder at the knowledge that my $15,000 house today would have a price tag of $200,000 or more. And a $2,900 car now costs about 30 grand.
Then there’s AI. According to reliable news sources, newer cars – I don’t know when it started – have microphones and sensors that record every word you utter.
AI would be especially problematic for me. I talk to myself, a trait I inherited from my mother, who endlessly talked her way through the day with utterances such as, “OK, it’s time to fold the laundry. I think I’ll do the shirts first.”
My chatter is much the same: “All right, let’s see if I can back out of the driveway without causing a five-car wreck in front of my house.”
As I drive, I comment on the view: “When will they finish that blasted roundabout?” “What are they doing with our tax money? They sure aren’t fixing the potholes.” “One of these days, that tree will come crashing down on the road.” “Darn, I just missed my turn.”
And, of course, my favorite, “Where does all this traffic come from? Don’t these people have homes?”
Naturally, I also blather about going to the post office, the store and various medical appointments. I cross my fingers with the latter.
What would anyone do with such utterances if they were recorded?
“Hmm, this is his third trip to the grocery store this week. And every time, he forgets to get the cottage cheese.”
Maybe the Dairy Council would be advised of my forgetfulness, and someone would be waiting for me the next time I went to the store.
“Cottage cheese,” they would whisper hoarsely in my ear. “You will remember the cottage cheese.”