Well, Queen, it's not perfectly relevant, no. But I don't share your visions for this future. Which is to say, I don't back them, and will resist them. It's not to say you don't have some validity in your point. It may be cheaper on all fronts to take out the human element, and to use electric cars exclusively. And it may be safer in the large perspective. But there's a different mentality for those in the hinterlands as compared to the big cities. In places where they actually post a 75 mph speed limit on the freeways they likely will resist such change more than the city dweller who rides the commuter train, subway, or bus every day. Where I'm from they'll probably move from tipping cows to tipping little electric cars. In my occupation selling fireworks I see the encroachment of government more than most and have a chance to ponder it more than many. The old saying, give them an inch and they'll take a mile goes double for the government. So in the end you may actually be right. But there will be lots of resistance along the way. As you have said yourself we have a love affair with the automobile.
I also point out that the Viki / I Robot thing is a real concern for me in your envisaged world. The security issues of transponders that can trace one's every movement in a car are a growing reality. Right now we have these transponders in cars and people who have junk for brains exclaim happily, "I get a half-price deal with the IPass!" They don't remember that the tolls before the IPass explosion were the same as what they were immediately afterwards and only the cash payers (like myself) got a raw deal by the fees being doubled. Since then it's risen for both cash and transponders, but it's still double for the former. The intent of this pricing is obviously to encourage the use of the transponders. The IPass cars get to fly by at highway speed through the toll booths ("Open Road Tolling", they call it) while the poor cash payers have to slow down, stop, wait, and dig for change, as they have for decades. They've even moved the cash pay lanes over to the far right and therefore put them in the most difficult places to get to when one is travelling down the road and one suddenly notices the cash lanes going by and sees the warning signs about missing tolls....Been There, Done That.
All this has only been a few years ago. When the former Governor George Ryan of Illinois began saying in the late 1990's that Illinois could do away with its toll roads (they didn't need the money, can you imagine!), the next thing you know they've got the guy up for racketeering and are sending him off to the Big House. Blagojevich, the next governor not only didn't close the toll roads, he expanded them with a frenzy and the explosion of the electronic tracking devices. People driving on the toll roads pay the same highway taxes as freeway users and also pay the tolls on top of it. Ryan would have really helped the people to have removed them.
Ding, ding, ding. I'm coming out of this tangent I've gone on now. And I'd say that, Queen, you could very well turn out right. But I don't want that future. Won't it be weird one day when kids ask, "What was it like to drive a car?"