I love driving. The pull of g-forces as I accelerate through a curve. The satisfaction of getting my line just absolutely perfect along a technical a stretch of road. The roar of the engine when I downshift to accelerate. The moment the light turns green, and getting that almost-loss-of-traction launch. The strangely smooth sailing over a gravel road.
I enjoy my commute to work. I'm fortunate in that I don't sit in traffic, except for the occasional stoplight, but cover about 18 miles in about 30 minutes. I generally enjoy every chance I get behind the wheel. But, as time goes on, there are fewer and fewer of me. We have automatic transmissions and ABS and GPS and all these luxuries that take the driving out of driving. And people enjoy them.
One day, self-driving cars will be a common sight. And I will have adapted my driving to taking advantage of being able to recognize and anticipate the behavior of self-driving vehicles. And then self-driving cars will become the standard. And just like it's so difficult to find a manual transmission sedan in America today, other things that matter to a "real" driver will become more difficult or time-consuming or frustrating.
And then, sometime after that, it'll be a lost art, relegated to closed courses. And those of us who still care will recall fond memories as we carefully put the SCCA decal on the rear bumper of our self-driving car and look forward to the next weekend getaway where we can take our antique out for a spin.
This is no more than a lamentation - a rarity on /. with its straightforward language - so please take it at face-value. I'm not arguing one way or another. I'm just saying that I think this is how it's going to happen, at least from my perspective, and that it makes me sad.