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LeBron James wants you to trust self-driving cars

Commentary: A new Intel ad campaign shows the NBA superstar being reluctant to get into an autonomous vehicle. At first.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


He's not sure about this at all.

Intel/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When people aren't sure whether to try something or not, what do corporations do?

They pay a famous person to reassure the populace that they have nothing to worry about.

Here, then, is Intel's attempted masterstroke at getting people to relax about self-driving cars. 

You don't just need Intel inside your self-driving car. You need LeBron James.

The Cleveland Cavaliers star seems reluctant at first, when he notices that his chauffeur-driven car is missing, well, a chauffeur.

All it takes for James to relax a little is for someone to tell him that the car sees 80 times better than he does. 

I'd like to see that car anticipate the moves of the Golden State Warriors' star defender Andre Iguodala.

And then James is told to get in, so he does.

Which, Golden State Warriors fans might muse, doesn't say all that much for James' strength of mind. 

It also, more objective observers might muse, reflects the way the tech industry increasingly dictates how humans should behave.

Stunningly, the minute James is in the backseat he has to pull out his phone in order to take excited pictures. Meanwhile, a voice-over explains that with Intel's bits inside an autonomous car, you can feel safe.

The campaign launches on broadcast TV Monday.

Among Intel's self-driving investments, earlier this year it bought autonomous vehicle tech company Mobileye for $15 billion.

Still, who's going to tell James that engineers haven't necessarily yet worked out whether to kill their passengers or some innocent bystanders, in the event of an accident?

There remain hearty debates about such things. 

I'll leave it to the man who can happily tell James "get in" to break the news.

Technically Incorrect: Bringing you a fresh and irreverent take on tech.

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