There is no doubt in my mind that airbag technology can save lives when properly used. With the new side-curtain airbags and who knows what's coming out next, airbags will continue to make our lives safer.
What about outside the car? Could airbag technology help in other places? It would be nice. Imagine the sensor at the bottom of the stairs sensing something large and 98 degrees headed toward it at high speed. In an instant it deploys the airbag and you are saved from a nasty fall. Of course, this would only be great till the kids discovered it and started "falling" down the stairs in turns. Still, you get the idea.
A combination of a tilt sensor and a motion sensor would be nice if you're riding your bike. Soon as you go over the handlebars, the airbags pops out around your helmet. Some bicycle related falls are still better defended against with a good cup.
Why limit airbags to the inside of the car? If the car hits a pedestrian or cyclist, a wall of inflated balloons could help minimize the damage to the walker. Either that or launch the unfortunate victim into a nearby tree. In each case, the driver benefits in the long run.
My favorite alternate use for airbag technology is in the field of superheroing. This is best illustrated in the following scene. Imagine our scrawny hero in an alley. He's being menaced by a couple of thugs. Hero reaches behind his back and grabs a hollow tube. The tube was pretty much invisible because it was hidden in his nondescript costume. As he swings the tube around to thump one of the thugs on the head, he thumbs a switch. An airbag in the shape of a giant, cartoon style hammerhead erupts out of the business end of the tube. He hammers the confused thug with the still exploding bag.
The other thug, stunned from witnessing the Warneresque scene, stops for a moment and then demands, "What the?" Our hero has moved the hammerhead end back over his shoulder and turns to look more directly at thug number two. With the flick of the second switch on the tube, the handle end launches an airbag technology giant boxing glove directly into the face of the remaining thug.
The hero runs.
After a moment, the shock turns to anger and the bad guys give chase. They see him run around a corner into an alley. They turn the same corner only to find a brick wall covered with graffiti. Thug number one doesn't stop in time. He runs into the wall, knocking it down and crushing some of the gas out it. They see the hero up ahead, getting into an elevator of the parking ramp.
Fast as they can, they take the next elevator all the way to the top. They step out and see the hero standing on the edge of the roof. Gently, he falls forward and off the building. They rush to the edge and look over to see him drift slowly to street level where he is run over by a bus and crushed flat.
They have no idea where the real hero is.
In a later scene, they are chasing the hero's Whatevermobile down a deserted highway. They turn a corner to find a big black and white cow flying into their windshield. Sure, the cow bounces off harmlessly, but is that before or after the driver panics and steers the car into a nearby tree?
Yep, airbags sure do save a lot of lives.