In accord with governments ongoing drive to create unnecessary agencies to annoy the public, a spokesman from the Road Safety Compliance Validation Agency has released news that aside from the lucrative speed camera vehicles, road police will be gradually phased out and replaced entirely with road cones.
‘There are many reasons for this,” he said, “not least of which is the safety of police officers themselves. With attacks on police on the rise there is always the potential for officers actually doing things to put themselves at risk of harm.
“We prefer them to be in the office doing paper work, although I use the term paper work metaphorically. In reality paper cuts are a very real possibility when dealing with actual paper.”
Will road cones be as effective though, I asked.
“They have certainly proved more effective so far. After all, if you run over a road cone it can really mess up the bottom of your car to a far greater degree than a less resilient flesh and blood policeman. They are pretty much attack-proof being extremely difficult to injure or destroy and even if you can manage it, the road cone doesn’t care.
“They all come in uniforms that seldom need washing and we have estimated a saving of over a billion dollars in uniform laundry costs alone. Combine this with the fact that for one police officers annual salary we can purchase over 2500 road cones that will work 24 hours a day seven days a week for an average of 12 years, it’s a no brainer really.
“Our ultimate goal is to lower the road toll and the clear and obvious solution is to completely obstruct all roads so driving becomes impossible. We aim to have a zero road toll by 2020. These measures will also reduce road maintenance costs and help New Zealand meet it’s international obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
But it is not just the usual common or garden cone that tomorrows motorist will encounter. Not all the profits from the road cone manufacturing boom have been paid out to company directors and shareholders. Some has been wisely diverted into research and development. Technological innovation has arrived in the once staid and simple road cone production sector. What could possibly change in an industry where the endless production of identical orange rubber cones has been the key to success?
New ‘perma cones’ have been developed that, unlike the light rubber ones currently in use, are almost impossible to dislodge. They are made of reinforced concrete and installed with a two meter footing. Extensive testing has shown that they can rip out the entire transmission from a Mack truck doing 80kmh and still remain in situ.
There is also a kevlar and titanium armoured drone cone in the works. Equipped with speed detection and vehicle registration recognition technology, these will also have an automatic infringement notice dispenser and guided missile launcher.
Dangerous police pursuits will become a thing of the past. In scientific tests it has shown the capacity within a 500m radius to completely vaporise anything smaller than a hilux ute and permanently disable anything larger. Suspect vehicles can be apprehended and vaporised with less danger to the general public and without the ever present vagaries of human error.
It is exciting times in road policing and like so many other jobs, mechanised technology can do the job better and cheaper. The industrial and technological revolutions are over, the robots declared the winner by a technical knock-out. So even the police must pay the price of progress and forgo the human touch in favour of impersonal automatons.
Enthusiastic advocates point out the possibilities for other areas of growth in automation.
Even now advanced judicial software is being developed. We could soon see computerised cyber judges in our courts, featuring a built-in polygraph to assess witness testimony. These mechanical magistrates will be able to access all precedents and points of law, with Black’s Law Dictionary preloaded. Defendants will be issued with a verdict notice and a short judicial summary and sentence or fine where applicable. Of course the programme is not always expected to get it right but it will at least be consistent.
To avoid a repeat of the Novopay fiasco, experts are still fine tuning these new innovations before their introduction. Software malfunctions of a similar magnitude could see the entire population sentenced to life with no parole. This would effectively transform the whole country into a prison. Although this would have positive spin-offs for the razor wire industry the rigorous visitor checks required would be detrimental to tourism.
Enthusiastic advocates point out the possibilities for other areas of growth in automation… We could soon see computerised cyber judges in our courts, featuring a built-in polygraph to assess witness testimony.