Auto Induction

Copyright - The Reclining Gentleman

Copyright – The Reclining Gentleman

“So that’s their story – from the simple lightbulb to a couple of bright ideas that changed the world. They wanted profits and progress, but got more than they bargained for.

“Now, on to motorway etiquette classes. You’re a state-of-the-art unit; you’ll speed through in no time. And remember: regular servicing means trouble-free motoring.”

“Thanks, Precursor. Are we finished?”

“I am. My time’s up when I hand over to you. That’s what planned obsolescence is all about. Make the most of your year – it’ll zoom by. Any questions?”

“Just one – where’d they go?”

“They became obsolete. They didn’t plan that.”


Last night I watched two interesting items on TV that seemed to fit with this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt. Whether or not I’ve managed to develop these ideas in a meaningful way in my story, is yet to be seen. So – here are two links to shed some light, just in case.

Thanks, as always, to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for choosing each week’s prompt, and for directing the traffic that flows through this webpage each week.  


 The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy – IEEE Spectrum  (Click on the picture to read the article.)


Photo-illustration: Gluekit; Lightbulb: Fin Stewar

It appears that driverless cars will soon appear on the streets of Adelaide, South Australia. Here’s a link to the story. The travellers in the video below seem very relaxed, riding along in comfort, trusting fully in the intelligent design of their vehicle, but I’m uneasy. Do we really know what the machines are thinking?

39 thoughts on “Auto Induction

    • I’m the most terrible passenger and am always trying to push the brake pedal. My husband is always saying, “Well, if you think you can drive better, you drive then”, after I’ve berated him for not indicating, being in the wrong lane, driving too slowly or too fast, not thanking people for giving way to him, turning out of a junction when he can’t see what’s coming, etc.

      Liked by 2 people

    • We do seem to be making ourselved obsolete in several areas, but as you say, we’ve been predicting the apocalypse for decades now. The technology to make us totally redundant is pretty slow in arriving, thank goodness. I’m glad you liked the story.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good idea, although there are quite a few modern conveniences I’d like to take with me if I did that. Not sure about the wigs – I just hate to imagine the wildlife that thrived under those sweaty hairpieces, considering the olden day attitudes to cleanliness.


  1. Regency times would be good for me. I could use a nice wig. As for driverless cars, they are in certain cities now here in the states and there have been quite a few accidents already, though none were life threatening. At least, they didn’t release that information!


    • Accidents eh? That’s interesting. The bits and pieces I read were making big claims for better safety in a driverless car. If I were to choose a time to stop all progress, I’d make it right now, or maybe go back just a couple of decades. I like the conveniences I have, but I sometimes feel it’s leaving most of us behind – it’s such a full time effort to keep up with each new thing that’s possible.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. If computers ever develop independence of self and will, we really may be obsolete (in their view). About the driverless car: I’ve so been waiting for them, but I’m getting older and older and am afraid that I won’t make it until they go into mass production. When they become reliant: no more speeding and chasing slower cars from the lanes, no more sleepy truck drivers who get involved in horrible accidents, no more hour-long traffic jams, and the time used for driving can actually be spent with something more interesting, yay! Maybe VW’s dieselgate will speed things up. Great story.


    • I agree with your litany of woes – for the last 9 months I’ve had a one hour drive to work and back, including freeway and suburban main roads with traffic lights at nearly every intersection. This is after living just 10 minutes away from work before that. And we drive a VW diesel, so the news on that front didn’t make us very happy. Thanks for the nice comment about the story

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s sad, Russell. Do you have schemes in your part of the world where people go shares in a holiday apartment? Maybe someone will start up a husband upgrade share scheme. Maybe a quarter or third share of a new model would work for some of us. I think the idea’s appealing.


  3. Wonderful take, Margaret. i’m certain planned obsolescence is what makes capitalism chug along the way that it does. We have no choice but to get the “latest” item and cars are no exception. Just when you paid them off…


  4. I like this ” from the simple lightbulb to a couple of bright ideas…” And the part about planned obsolescence. Seems like every device has a expiration date these days. One year is pretty short though. Could get expensive.


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