Never Stop Driving #17: My private Mustang
While on the road last week, I listened to a portion of Joe Rogan’s Mark Zuckerberg interview. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Facebook—sorry, Meta—is one of the most powerful organizations in the world, and I was curious what its founder and CEO had to say.
To my ears, Zuckerberg’s main focus is the Metaverse, a digital world accessed by a virtual reality headset that can detect eye and body movements. You exist in this world as something called an avatar, which interacts with other people in it.
The technology is improving, and Zuckerberg claims that he just wants to make digital experiences better and not replace real ones. There is no difference, he suggests, between one’s digital world and physical world. Considering that his company makes more money from the more time we spend with it, I find Zuckerberg less than genuine even if he is probably right. Mostly, however, I keep thinking that Hagerty’s last update on autonomous cars is even more on point than I thought.
In it, Aaron Robinson made the case that as kind-of-crummy Zoom meetings evolve into an experience that is closer to real life, something like Zuckerberg is working toward, people will increasingly prefer to work, socialize, and shop without ever leaving home. The need for personal-use autonomous vehicles may be minimal and perhaps that’s why much of the industry seems focused on long-haul autonomous trucking and less on personal use. Google, via its Waymo subsidiary, announced expanded truck testing. Flying J truck stops plan to evolve to serve AV trucks.
Zuckerberg also talked about Meta’s “smart” glasses. These eyeglasses are made by Ray-Ban and look like the classic Wayfarer frame except they are slightly thicker to accommodate a small camera, speaker, and microphone. Rogan brought up the privacy challenges this product presents. How would you know if someone wearing these specs are filming you? The Meta CEO replied that there is no potential problem because a small light shines when the camera is on. Umm, what would stop someone from simply covering that tiny light? Duh, right?
Of course, we’re already being watched and autonomous cars present even more opportunities for surveillance, as detailed in this old Atlantic article. Just think of all the cameras those cars employ and what they record without us knowing it. I hate that aspect of our digital devices.
After thinking about how much I’m being tracked (I haven’t read but have heard good things about the book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism), I needed to escape in my favorite personal privacy chamber, a 1986 Mustang GT. My son and I shut off our phones and went cruising in this poorly built but charismatic muscle car (I loaned it to Cameron Neveu who wrote this story about his cross-country journey in our ’Stang). Next week, we’ll drive in a massive Mustang parade called the Stampede, one of many events leading to the Detroit Concours. If you make it to the Concours the weekend of September 16-18, please say hello.
In heartwarming news, check out this piece about a never-say-die Audi sedan that’s being used to ferry people away from the Ukrainian front lines. Did you know that Toyota makes an off-road minivan? It does, and here’s a terrific long read about what you could do with it.
One of the biggest boons to U.S. motorsports appreciation has been Drive to Survive, the Netflix series about Formula 1. In 2020 Motor Trend tried a similar docuseries called NASCAR ALL IN that left me cold. There’s a terrific new NASCAR-based series, however, on the USA Network called Race for the Championship. Give it a shot.
Did you know Hagerty now has several podcasts? Check out the Viva Bastardo ’cast hosted by artist and weird-car fan Phil Toledano. On this episode he interviews Tom Gale, designer of the Plymouth Prowler and Dodge Viper.
I’m definitely driving this weekend, are you?
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