November 9th, 2015
Can you imagine the characters in Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, tooling about town in driverless cars? Such a premise would have been laughable and lame.
The car, as personality marker and sex symbol, was central to this 1978 iconic movie.
Fast-forward to 2015. The premise still is laughable and lame. But, all the car companies — and Google and Apple — are in various stages of designing and making them. Why? Who wants to own one?
Want and need don’t matter. Evidently, you’ll have no choice.
Sergey Brin, Google cofounder, thinks that people should welcome driverless cars and not fight them. Fight them? Apparently, Brin prefers to dominate supine, passive customers.
Disturbing is this latest Utopian desire, in a long series of Utopian desires, to perfect and/or bypass imperfect humans. Driving a car is a sign of independence, freedom, and individuality — all of which Utopians hate. Worry not: perfect Utopian dictators know what’s best for us.
Free from Freedom
Instead of building companies and products to solve real problems, many technologists are bent to change the world — as they wish it to be. Alas, they don’t meet much resistance. In “The End of Self,” I observed: Reliably, technology — socialism’s barometer — symbolizes the populace’s willingness to be monitored and controlled.”
Willingness to be monitored and controlled? In his 1951 masterpiece, The True Believer, Eric Hoffer articulated that many eschew freedom, finding it burdensome. As the member of a mass-movement, one can blame his personal failures on the movement instead of himself:
|Unless a man has the talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden. Of what avail is freedom to choose if the self be ineffectual? We join a mass movement to escape from individual responsibility, or, in the words of an ardent young Nazi, “to be free from freedom.”|
Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple, gleefully made three troubling statements at a recent Gartner Group symposium in Australia, revealing an agenda of control:
No human drivers allowed? You want government to limit freedom more than it already does? You want a submissive society of wimps on wheels? This is tyranny, Mr. Wozniak. Your car for the cowardly is an affront to the individual and individualism.
Wozniak’s assertion that self-driving cars will avoid problems humans make is both absurd and devious. First, fallible humans write, debug, and update the cars’ software. Second, car computers, like all computers, are hackable. Third, the electronic components enabling the software will malfunction at some point — from heat, age, or manufacturing flaws.
So fervent are its proponents, they blame humans when driverless cars crash. Is it also the fault of humans when Apple’s iPhones crash? Yes, the humans who write the software.
Detachment from Reality
The driverless car is but more evidence, in a long-growing trend, of detachment from reality — and each other — with a concomitant rise in emotional immaturity and precipitous decline in emotional intelligence, which assesses one’s abilities to:
What permeates instead is what I call artificial emotional intelligence, or AEI, which causes the afflicted to believe, falsely, that they behave maturely and can both detect and inspire mature behavior in others. They don’t and can’t, respectively.
Tapping into human emotions is the bedrock of branding. But, these emotions must be real.
Newsflash: real emotions don’t exist on social media, and they don’t exist in childish adults.
As individualism and maturity die, branding’s impact is waning. People, increasingly, have become juvenile, amorphous clouds. Consequently, TV spots often aim for the least mature, resembling Mike Judge’s 2006 hit, Idiocracy.
Scary Ideas and Offensive Words
Brown University typifies the academic AEI pit. It offers safe spaces — replete with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets, and videos of frolicking puppies — to protect infantilized students from scary ideas and offensive words.
At Yale University, a student screamed at the headmaster of Silliman College: he refused to create a safe space to protect her from offensive Halloween costumes. She’s received a few too many participation trophies.
Dan Jones, past president of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, corroborated the astounding AEI trend: “Students haven’t developed skills in how to soothe themselves, because their parents have solved all their problems and removed the obstacles. They don’t seem to have as much grit as previous generations.”
What Dan Jones doesn’t admit is that universities are just as guilty as the parents. All over America, these so-called bastions of free expression are censoring speech, dictating what words students can and cannot use — and worse.
Administrators at Yale, Cornell, Syracuse, Vassar, and Oberlin agreed to rip up copies of the Constitution, handed out off-campus, after an impostor student described the document as “triggering” and “oppressive.” Coddling in the extreme!
Today’s university tolerates and graduates emotionally stunted babies, unfamiliar with adult behavior. Because their parents, teachers, and coaches have shielded them from pain, they know only ranting and demanding. Scores of books tell CEOs that these Millennials are our future. Silver lining: we’ve found customers for driverless cars.
In December 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami wrought horrible devastation, death (250K people in 14 countries), and disease. In stark contrast to the human deaths, there were few animal casualties: they “sensed” the tremors of the tsunami and ran for cover.
Some Sri Lankans, on the other hand, saw the tide mysteriously ebb 1,000 feet from the shore (the temporary vacuum created by the tsunami-causing earthquake) and chose to frolic in the “extended” beach. The returning 30-foot-high tidal wave crushed them.
How could people not know what the animals know?
Animals in the wild never detach from reality. As humans become more affluent, coddled, and technology-dependent, they detach from reality; their survival skills and maturity atrophy.
Parting Advice to CEOs
If your branders have artificial emotional intelligence, and they’re targeting AEI-afflicted customers, you will maximize your company’s costs of sales, capital, and media.
Can you guess the solution?
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2015 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.