Here's the thing about cruise control: it's fine as long as the weather is nice and the roads are straight and dry and there's little traffic or none. It also helps if you're set no more than 10% above the legal speed limit, the vehicle is running smoothly, and there are no breakdowns, flat tires, etc. while you're disengaged if not actually asleep at the wheel. It's actually pretty nice, comfortable, even reassuring and relaxing ... unless and until.
The subtle but crucial fact is that cruise control is out of control. The urgency of that fact can explode into reality far more quickly than you can react and act to regain control, escape danger, and emerge unscathed, or at least alive. All it takes is an oily patch, a spring shower, a scampering creature, or any of countless other immediately spontaneous events that suddenly bring the truth of 'too late' into the terror of helpless awareness right there and then.
"It's only acceleration and braking," you say, "I'm still in control, navigating, piloting, deciding, planning, and I can instantly seize full control back anytime." Perhaps so. At least unless and until your late-model vehicle's antilock braking and traction control systems lose their minds and put you into spinout the very moment your path crosses that oily patch, which neither you nor your cruise control saw coming.
The root problem is that, even at our very cognitive best, actual and potential causal chains of events always exceed our awareness and knowledge in the here and now. The more we convince ourselves we're in control -- and especially when we deregulate, delegate, and relegate control over to others (including machines) -- the less we're actually in control and the more vulnerable we are, the more risk we take, and the more dire the consequences of wrong action or inaction become.
Until an automatic sensor lights up a dashboard signal for us, we drivers rarely or never think about internal combustion, engines and drive trains, hydraulics and mechanics, and all the rest that places our vehicular domicile and transport in our hands at the pushes of all sorts of buttons. If that light happens to switch off as spontaneously as it switched on, we're relieved and content to convince ourselves the signal was the problem and it corrected itself.
21st century existence is life in the cognitive fast lane and at least 99% of all 7 billion (and counting) of us have our sentient and sapient cruise controls active and set for max velocity (plus at least 10%) by default. We abdicate the design and engineering of our experience and our understanding, thus relinquishing control of our own identities and self-control. We no more think about nurturing the well-being of our bodies and minds -- the viability and reliability of our experiences and the clarity and rationality of our thoughts -- than we do about the workings of internal combustion, engines and drive trains, hydraulics and mechanics, and all the rest that keeps our vehicles rolling on. If it feels good we consume, imbibe, and indulge. If it feels right, we strongly believe, firmly commit, and reject every otherwise. As long as we feel fine and right in the here and now it's all good.
Unless and until. If and when our existence implodes or our lives coast or crawl to a dissonant halt, we're suddenly so, like, totally astonished, and like, so completely shocked that everything could go so, like, uh, awful bad and wrong when we thought it was all, like, just so awesome. Did I miss an upgrade? What new apps for this do I need? Where's the system reboot button? How do I instantly restore who I am and what it all means and what it's all about and get it all back on track to awesome?
How do we get back to cognitive cruise control? Where's my personal pod and cocoon in the matrix of irreality where we abdicate all responsibility and control over everything having to do with philosophy, logic, and analytic, reflective, introspective awareness, knowledge, and understanding? You know, all that hard stuff that's too much trouble to bother with, and none of it really matters anyway!
Whew! What a relief! For a second there, I so thought I was, like, really in, like, trouble, y'know?
Go Away! I don't need you! Just give me my blue pill and leave me alone!
Don't worry! Be happy! Pill and chill! Artificially superintelligent machine cognition is right around the technomagical corner, everywhere always all ways in total control for everyone, just dead ahead.