Deep in the Capital & Conflict mailbag

Nick O'Connor

Well, we’re nearly there everyone!

As you read this I’ll be on my way up north to see my family. I’m planning on eating and drinking more than is good for me, catching up with old friends and family, and generally taking it easy. I hope whatever you do this Christmas is relaxing and enjoyable. From everyone here at Southbank Investment Research: merry Christmas!

Normal service will resume next week, although I’ve got one or two special features lined up for you, so if you find yourself with a little spare time make sure you check in. Today I thought I’d share a few notes from the mailbag with you.

I don’t get the chance to publish as many of your letters as I’d like. But I most certainly read them all. It’s one of the best parts of my job: writing to people who write back, often in great detail. So if you’ve written to me this year and didn’t get a response, today’s issue is for you.

There’s a distinct driverless car bias this week, as I must have received more than a hundred notes on the topic. Here’s a selection of the most thought-provoking ones.

I doubt you will want to print this, but there is an urgent need to warn of the goals of the brave new world you envisage.

Does anyone else see why the political elite want driverless cars? Globalists may have a bloody nose in both Europe and USA this year and will suffer more rejection next year. This won’t though, prevent them continuing their admitted goal of a New World Order. They always re-group after a setback and emerge stronger than ever on the way to their Utopia.

Driverless vehicles, along with central banks banning of cash, digitally chipped humans, control of the internet, email monitoring, robotics, climate change scare-mongering and universal erosion of freedom of speech, thought and action are all progressing regardless.

Why do I include driverless cars in this list? Shouldn’t the linkage to central computers and the intended total control of all our lives under United Nations Agendas 21 and 30 alert/alarm us? Dissenters beware – once you are in the d-car on a perfectly innocent journey, with the touch of a screen somewhere in the world your car doors will lock ominously as the vehicle is re-directed to the nearest re-education centre or worse – a FEMA Camp.

Think this is an exaggeration? When the current back-lash against the political elite fizzles out or is mischievously extinguished, certainly well before 2030, the cultural Marxism which is ingrained into every important institution in the world will again be in the ascendancy. What Stalin and Mao could never attain – full control of every individual – will surely be finally achieved.

Scary stuff – but think about it – is this what we really want for us and our children?

I think that’s a stretch. But what do I know? I’m not privy to the inner workings of government. Though driverless cars are mostly being produced by private enterprise. Those firms will be driven (PUN INTENDED) by the profit motive. That’s my guess.

Though I will say this. Most technology is not inherently good or bad. That depends on its application. And it is probably true that for every ten people looking to use a new technology for good, there’ll be someone who wants to use it for less good means.

You mention control of the internet as a threat to freedom. It is. But equally the internet has led to a much freer exchange of information and ideas, and increasing connection between individuals.

Take this conversation we’re having now. I don’t think driverless cars are a tool of conspiracy and control. But I saw a note about it and thought it was worth sharing with thousands of others. If the idea truly has merit and is persuasive, it’ll spread. And it’ll spread more freely than it would have done before the internet.

It’s true that technology will be used in the battle between true freedom and control. But it will be used by both sides. Don’t forget that!

Here’s another note:

Driverless cars sound great. I for one would happily use or even own one. With two provisos –

(1) The car must be fully autonomous so I can read a book go online or do anything other than driving. If I have to supervise there will be no point. I would go further to say that human supervision actually reduces safety. People get bored. Bored people cannot make rapid reactions.

(2) Today’s excessive safety culture will make the cars slow in terms of outright speed and its reactions to traffic signals junctions and other perceived hazards.

Today we have over-cautious drivers causing traffic jams. When every car is over-cautious nobody will be going anywhere.

It’s interesting that you say that. Why? Because when you speak to firms testing driverless cars (with normal people inside to see how they respond), do you know what the biggest compliant is?

They’re too cautious!

People complain that the cars don’t move quick enough, take longer at junctions and are generally more risk averse. Driverless car manufacturers have to remind people that the cars are following the rules of the road. They don’t speed. They don’t take big risks. They’re safety conscious… as we all should be.

Ironically, I think that could be an objection that a lot of people have. Not that a driverless car is dangerous, but that it follows the rules too carefully. Though as I mentioned earlier in the week, if that results in far, far less deaths from car accidents, then attitudes will change.

Here’s another objection to the idea. It’s one that you’ll likely hear more about next year.

Hi Nick,

Interesting article, as were the replies both for and against.

One thing which I didn’t see anyone discuss is the hacking element. I work as a software engineer and know that there is no way to be 100% secure from cyber threats.  

You can catch x percentage of the threats, but for the shortfall the only way to mitigate is to make the item less user friendly/functional (i.e. no live updates possible, have to go to a centrally controlled place to run updates and the less of these locations the better), in fact no possible way to control or update the vehicle via wireless, only ‘where are you’ and ‘go to here to pick up X going to Y’ commands. The relevant companies probably will not like this one little bit.

Imagine a situation where a hacker injects malicious zero day code so all vehicles suddenly makes a right hand turn at a certain time on that day. You could make it difficult for somebody to accomplish, but if you can perform remote updates then somebody will figure it out, imagine the consequences.

Very true. That creates the need (and an opportunity) for higher level cyber security solutions. Expect that to be a big theme for us next year. For every increase in technology we need an even higher level of security.

That said, many cars have computers on board now. It hasn’t yet become a major problem. But perhaps that’s because most of those computers can’t actually drive the car. When they do, the problem will need a solution. A hacked driverless car is the drunk driver of the 21st century.

Right, that’s all from me today. I’m off on a slog up the M6 with approximately 400 million other people. If only driverless cars were already here…

Have a great Christmas!
Nick O'Connor's Signature


Nick O’Connor
Associate Publisher, Capital & Conflict

Category: Investing in Technology

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