The New York Times and a false equivalency that's holding us back

The New York Times recently ran a lead editorial expressing a fairly strong skepticism about the future of self-driving automobiles.

 C'mon, you know I had to jump in. But even I was surprised to get over 70 upvotes and a Times' Pick from the editors I'd just taken to task.

C'mon, you know I had to jump in. But even I was surprised to get over 70 upvotes and a Times' Pick from the editors I'd just taken to task.

Although the Times editors made a number of good points, they fell into a false equivalency that's unfortunately common in mainstream media, as evidenced by this passage...

While companies like Alphabet, General Motors and Tesla are investing billions of dollars to turn lofty goals for driverless cars into reality, the Pew Research Center found that most people surveyed did not want to ride in them and were not sure whether the vehicles would make roads safer or more dangerous (39 percent vs. 30 percent). And 87 percent favored requiring that a person always be behind the wheel, ready to take control if something goes wrong.

I'm a big fan of the Pew Research Center and I'm sure that from a purely statistical perspective, that 39% vs. 30% statistic holds up. But the Times cites it as if those people hold informed positions – something that's certainly not the case.

Motorcyclists are, if anything, even more skeptical of HAV/ITS than the people Pew surveyed. One risk is that the motorcycle manufacturers, aftermarket suppliers, and the tiers supplying us with systems and technology, will base product decisions – or decide not to take products to market at all – on the opinions of uninformed consumers.