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Finally, a phone that can drive itself

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As the reality of autonomous mobility nears, a recently unveiled innovation has set the tech community abuzz and raised important questions about public safety and corporate responsibility.

It was standing room only this afternoon as billionaire CEO and industry legend Richard Husk unveiled the long-anticipated 1X to audible gasps and thunderous applause, calling it “technology that will save hundreds of lives every day” and declaring: “The world is finally ready for a fully autonomous, self-driving cellphone!”

The subject of endless speculation and intense secrecy, the 1X’s self-driving technology is an instant game-changer for the wireless world.

As rumoured, the 1X will allow users to devote their full attention to the phone while walking (or running!) in any environment. The 1X’s sensitive microphones scan actively to alert the user if someone calls their name repeatedly, while sophisticated sensors use light and sound to monitor traffic cameras and model the environment and alert the user before he or she walks into traffic or collides with any common obstacle – whether it be pole, wall or pedestrian – by pausing on-screen media and displaying a large arrow on the screen until the user adjusts course.

The approximate size of a credit card, the 1X features surround sound, Bluetooth, a projector and a T1 Internet connection. The 1X powers itself by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. In rural areas, it can be adapted to function on methane.

The base model ($8,700, or $9 on a 37-year plan) does not include storage, memory, earbuds or a charger.

Husk dismissed concerns that the 1X might paradoxically encourage more smartphone users to ignore their surroundings, citing research that suggests 93 per cent of cellphone users (under 40) already stare at their phones while walking.

“We didn’t create the problem,” said Husk. “But we are trying to solve it.”

Husk admitted that some obstacles lie ahead. “Our existing laws have never considered the technology behind a self-driving phone. Who’s responsible if an accident does happen? The line between human error and corporate responsibility is blurry – but the bottom line is that 1X will save lives, and the tide of progress cannot be stemmed.

“That’s why we’re working closely with government officials to ensure we write those laws ourselves.”

Husk also unveiled the 1X Deluxe ($21,500, or $22,000 on a 12-leap-year plan), which includes the flagship SocialMode™, created by Husk to solve a classic smartphone dilemma.

“It’s impossible to decide whether to look up without looking up,” says Husk. “At least it used to be.”

But in SocialMode™, users can take full advantage of the 1X Deluxe’s 37 extra cameras, which actively scan every person and product they see. Based on a user’s settings, the 1X Deluxe will alert a user when he or she is passing by any desirable people, clothing, electronics or advertisements that merit active eye engagement.

SocialMode’s™ algorithm can identify and purchase more than a billion products, and attempt to auto-sync users with any compatible partner (once scanned for genetic compatibility by the 1X’s integrated DNA Sniffer).

In auto-adjust mode, SocialMode™ can determine a user’s preferences for them, if synced with their email account, search history and conscience.

(Husk dismissed concerns about the hacking collectives that recently acquired the SocialMode™ source code and optimized it to allow criminals to easily identify the wealthy and vulnerable. Husk insists the issue will be addressed in the next forced software upgrade.)

Husk’s finale was the 1X Health ($29,000), a 1X model with a medical focus, allowing users to monitor blood levels, hydration and caloric intake by syncing the device with their medical records and spine. The 1XHealth does conduct automatic X-ray and fMRI scans, but users can choose to opt out via the company’s website.

Company shares rose 371 per cent during Husk’s speech. Though a release date has not been announced (experts estimate it’s 17 months away), lines were forming outside stores worldwide before Husk finished his address.


Wry Bread is a satire column from A. David Levine. Follow him on Twitter here.