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Monday, March 19, 2018

The machine uprising has begun

I'm still trying to figure out how self-driving cars can possibly be economically viable, considering the ruinous insurance costs that will be involved:
A self-driving Uber car hit and killed a pedestrian as she was crossing the road in the first fatality involving the controversial fleet of autonomous vehicles. Elaine Herzberg, 49, was hit by an SUV around 10pm on Sunday in Tempe, Arizona, when she was walking outside of a crosswalk. She was immediately rushed to the hospital where she died from her injuries, ABC 15 reported. Tempe Police say the SUV was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash.

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97 Comments:

Blogger Azimus March 19, 2018 3:58 PM  

They wouldn't make their move yet. Not til Boston Dynamics gives them laser rifles.

Blogger Looking Glass March 19, 2018 3:59 PM  

They can't be. All they are is advanced cruise control. Liability still needs to stay with the "driver". The cars/trucks that "drive themselves" should never be allowed.

At this point, looking at the companies involved with self-driving and the ones that aren't, one gets the picture the point of these is so the connected no longer have to pay for a driver. And so the elites can assassinate the up-and-coming types without anyone knowing. RIP Michael Hastings.

Blogger Lazarus March 19, 2018 3:59 PM  

Jihadis looking forward to a whole new way of operating.

Blogger Ken Prescott March 19, 2018 4:00 PM  

DUNDUN-DUN-DUNDUN

Blogger Aeroschmidt March 19, 2018 4:01 PM  

The jaywalker is at fault. But future iterations will have to account for these sort of obstacles. Deer also do not obey anti jaywalking laws.

There will always be some breakage of this sort, but less than manual driving eventually.

Blogger Richard Holmes March 19, 2018 4:05 PM  

OK, what do the police do now? Who is charged with hitting this lady? Will they write a ticket to the car or to the programmer(s)? Well, she was jaywalking so I guess she had it coming to her.

I knew I hated where computers were taking us about 15 years ago. (sigh)

Blogger Anno Ruse March 19, 2018 4:07 PM  

It really feels like they're rushing this tech. Three years ago self-driving cars were scifi, now they seem to be running people over every week. And where's the demand, anyway? I like driving my car. You get to listen to tunes, your kids get to ask you dopey questions, you can make a game of who farted. What will be left to us when the car drives itself? Music that picks itself? Farts that are automatically wafted in? And what happens when the AI decides it likes the beach on a day you're supposed to work a double shift? I ain't a fan. I ain't a fan.

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener March 19, 2018 4:07 PM  

Manufacturers of self-driving cars will be lobbying hard for liability limitations when their products kill people. They're probably doing that already. Expect to hear comparisons between proposed liability limitations for autonomous vehicle manufacturers to the protections that firearm and vaccine manufacturers and currently have.

Politicians will support autonomous vehicles because they open up exciting new frontiers for taxation and social control.

Anonymous Anonymous March 19, 2018 4:11 PM  

Suppose they were all linked, like packets over a network...?

Blogger tuberman March 19, 2018 4:12 PM  

E.Musk, a likely converted gray hat, suggests that AI is the greatest threat to humans in it's current form, and he is probably correct. It needs to humanized, and kept non-threatening by human control.

Needs deep concern.

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener March 19, 2018 4:13 PM  

Also, the autonomous vehicles I've read about all require that a driver be ready to override the vehicle's actions if necessary.

What good is that? Having to sit behind the steering wheel, remaining alert and ready to take over but not actually doing anything, sounds more difficult than just driving the car.

Blogger Looking Glass March 19, 2018 4:14 PM  

@7 Anno Ruse

First "drives by itself on the Highway" test was done by BMW in the 90s. First real driverless cars was already operation by 2005.

https://infogalactic.com/info/DARPA_Grand_Challenge

Production level is a different issue, but "drives by itself" needs to be outright banned. A driver should always have to be "at" the wheel for a road-legal car. Leave the self-driving to equipment trucks in the military.

Anonymous Anonymous March 19, 2018 4:14 PM  

I live in the area, actually. Unless something changed, all of those self-driving cars are supposed to have human drivers riding along as a precaution. Tempe, by ASU, is a highly congested traffic area and it’s a shame it didn’t hit one of the shitlib students there!

Blogger eclecticme March 19, 2018 4:22 PM  

In the SW industry SW quality is barely even a marketing concern. There is no legal liability for buggy SW that crashes or has security issues. MS tries to get SW to work on the third release.

Until now. The premiums for this model of car just went up as it does when individual drivers have accidents. The insurance industry does a pretty good job of estimating risk.

Blogger weka March 19, 2018 4:26 PM  

There is a reason most of the automoas car people are testing them in NZ. No fault accident coverage and a population that always jaywalks.

We even have self fly planes on trial.

https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/13/kitty-hawk-begins-certifying-its-self-flying-taxis-for-service-in-new-zealand/

Blogger Carbon Based Greg March 19, 2018 4:34 PM  

The car is fine.

Blogger pyrrhus March 19, 2018 4:36 PM  

@13 The story says that the car DID have a human behind the wheel....

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 19, 2018 4:37 PM  

I'm still trying to figure out how self-driving cars can possibly be economically viable, considering the ruinous insurance costs that will be involved:
Simple, they'll use their money to buy a liability exemption. They've already tried twice, citing the necessity of liability limitation for the development of the tech.

Blogger pyrrhus March 19, 2018 4:39 PM  

I've been pointing to the obvious insurance issues involved for years...No one listens.
Then I point out that all software crashes from time to time...People then say that "it can't happen here."

Blogger pyrrhus March 19, 2018 4:41 PM  

@18 Exactly. If "self-driving" cars, which will actually be Government controlled, can't get special liability protection, they will never be mass produced...

Blogger Johnny March 19, 2018 4:43 PM  

I wonder how many people actually want a self driving car? The only time I would want it would be highway driving on a long road trip. It does look like they are pushing it for some reason beyond product demand.

Blogger Jack Morrow March 19, 2018 4:45 PM  

Hollywood predicted this decades ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoAD3kUmN9s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7TDOWZIVGE

Blogger R Doom March 19, 2018 4:49 PM  

First fatality? I disagree. A beta tester died when his car plowed through a semi (the cameras couldn't resolve the white trailer from the sky background).

The driver of the truck said the beta tester was in the car, watching a video (he was in violation of the guidelines for beta testing).

Blogger Wormwood March 19, 2018 4:51 PM  

You know what they say. You have to break a few eggs. Take a gander at a map that shows the most numerous profession of each state. Truck drivers make an acceptable living and that is all the motivation the elite class needs. Can't have a low skill uneducated deplorable making an acceptable living. That's their money and they intend to find a way to get it back.

Blogger Looking Glass March 19, 2018 4:55 PM  

@15 weka

Things the Airline Industry Doesn't Tell You: large passenger liners can already fly themselves. They'd never get FAA approval for it, but that's how advanced those autopilot systems already are. (Though anyone in the gaming space understands Flight actually isn't that hard of a programming challenge.)

@21 Johnny

There's a lot to be said for "Driving" be no different than Public Transit, but most of this is being pushed by the same people that wouldn't mind wiping out half of humanity. That tells us a lot.

Blogger Dave March 19, 2018 4:57 PM  

Tempe Police say the SUV was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash.

Of course the po-po are going to say that. Can't have the general public aware of the AI's Jaywalker Hunt mode.

Blogger Ransom Smith March 19, 2018 4:58 PM  

The slippery slope started with the automatic transmission
Prove me wrong

Blogger S. Misanthrope March 19, 2018 4:58 PM  

I doubt the insurance costs will be any higher (I work in the field), however it still is a likely reason for the death of the autonomous vehicle dream because the liability will belong to the manufacturer instead of the driver. No reason for manufacturers to take that deal. Plus given how consumers think and how much special protection they have when it comes to liability, they likely won't want to pay the higher price now for the liability-free vehicle versus the cheaper traditional car with monthly insurance bills.

Blogger Looking Glass March 19, 2018 5:02 PM  

@24 Wormwood

Agreed, though commercial adoption is extremely unlikely to ever happen. In trucking, there just isn't much efficiency from replacing a driver. The supposed down-time issues are minimal compared to practically everything else. Upping the highway Truck speed to 60 mph would likely result in far more efficiency than replacing the driver with a computer.

Now, if you want to talk about the value of Electric Trucks for short-haul, that's a very different issue. Diesel-electric or Gas-Electric, or even full electric, trucks for local short-haul or delivery make a massive amount of sense. But, of course, GM has completely botched up a roll out of one of the biggest technology revolutions in automotive in 40 years.

Blogger Ingot9455 March 19, 2018 5:02 PM  

'Driver assist' is nice. I recently rented a car that beeps unpleasantly if you signal a lane change and someone's in your blind spot and it was useful, if not required, in driving rain.

'Driver takeover' is dumb.

Blogger Looking Glass March 19, 2018 5:05 PM  

The place of this technology is like a good autopilot in an airplane. It takes care of the "easy but long & repetitive" aspect, while the driver does the technical stuff. It acts like any other version of computerized automation: removes the repetitive aspects from the need for a human to burn energy doing.

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener March 19, 2018 5:09 PM  

One can also readily anticipate that self-driving cars will not be allowed to intentionally run over pedestrians, which would make self-driving cars easy prey for carjackers and angry mobs.

Blogger One Deplorable DT March 19, 2018 5:10 PM  

@6 - I knew I hated where computers were taking us about 15 years ago. (sigh)

I often wish that Moore's Law had died 15-20 years ago with no easy way to increase transistor density or clock speed.

@27 - The slippery slope started with the automatic transmission

You are not wrong.

To everyone saying there must always be a driver: that's worth very little. How many of you can maintain focus on a monotonous task for hours at a time? Sufficient focus that you can intervene and take the wheel at the very instant it becomes necessary?

Watching an AI driver is not the same as driving. Driving engages you to some degree and forces a minimum level of focus. Watching someone else drive, without some drug in your system, induces sleep.

Blogger Looking Glass March 19, 2018 5:11 PM  

@32 Noah B The Savage Gardener

I've made note before that putting some garbage cans in the road could shut down an entire city using automated driving. Anyone remember the opening to A Bug's Life?

Blogger Looking Glass March 19, 2018 5:13 PM  

@33 One Deplorable DT

The driver is there for liability. 1-2 Ton vehicle doesn't go driving around without someone at fault *when* somethings wrong.

Blogger Ken Prescott March 19, 2018 5:32 PM  

Deplorablemobiles will be locked out from driving over pedestrians. Trustafarian-preferred vehicles will have a cheat code to enable Deathrace 2000 mode if necessary.

Blogger Looking Glass March 19, 2018 5:33 PM  

@36 Ken Prescott

We all know the malware from the CIA to kill people by taking over cars has to have a Death Race 2000 associated name.

Blogger Brick Hardslab March 19, 2018 5:35 PM  

The only way around liability is the same way they get around all the other laws, ignore them.

Uber should be sued until they never try this again.

Blogger Tatooine Sharpshooters' Club March 19, 2018 5:38 PM  

Also, the autonomous vehicles I've read about all require that a driver be ready to override the vehicle's actions if necessary.

Many of the drivers 'round here can't manage to maintain the proper focus and make the right decisions when driving the "old fashioned" way. What chance would they have in a split-second crisis situation when they're essentially a passenger?

It's difficult to see what the actual purpose of self-driving cars is. What existing problem is solved by self-driving cars, or more accurately, what issue would they address without creating ever more intractable problems?

Blogger The Observer March 19, 2018 5:42 PM  

What existing problem is solved by self-driving cars, or more accurately, what issue would they address without creating ever more intractable problems?

Why, those pusillanimous peasants thinking they ought to be able to go anywhere without their lord' leave, of course.

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener March 19, 2018 5:43 PM  

"It's difficult to see what the actual purpose of self-driving cars is."

Increase profits for car manufacturers
Eliminate trucking jobs and lower transportation costs
Track us everywhere we go
Put kill switches in cars
Put surveillance platforms in all cars
Give the government an easy way to assassinate anyone at any time
Tax people by the mile
Tax people for driving too fast/slow
Tax people for driving during heavy traffic
Tax people for driving in environmentally sensitive areas

Let me know if I left anything out.

Blogger OneWingedShark March 19, 2018 5:50 PM  

Wormwood wrote:You know what they say. You have to break a few eggs. Take a gander at a map that shows the most numerous profession of each state. Truck drivers make an acceptable living and that is all the motivation the elite class needs. Can't have a low skill uneducated deplorable making an acceptable living. That's their money and they intend to find a way to get it back.
You know, I hadn't thought of it in these terms exactly, but there is a certain [warped] sense/logic here. You may be on to something.

Looking Glass wrote:There's a lot to be said for "Driving" be no different than Public Transit, but most of this is being pushed by the same people that wouldn't mind wiping out half of humanity. That tells us a lot.
When I think about the strange push for automated driving, especially with the relative lack of demand, I'm tempted to think that the only way it would at all work is if manual driving were illegalized and, in turn, that leads to some uncomfortable realizations -- just how much control over everyday life do these types want? (Answer: All of it.)

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales March 19, 2018 5:57 PM  

@10

Nigga, the only way AI doom mongers are correct is if a bunch of assholes, coincidentally enough, like AI doom mongers, got master control of AI somehow and started going on a killing spree. Even then, however, what every AI doom monger always fails to mention is that logistics are just as big a threat to any potential 'AI uprising,' as it is to any human uprising, if not more so because of the sophisticated infrastructure needed. If tomorrow, the entire US drone fleet went on a wild killing spree because, say, those commies at anonymous hacked them all, yes, it'd be bad, but how in the world are they going to going to secure enough resources and manufacturing centers to keep themselves armed, functional, and to be build more of them when they inevitably start eating losses sine, newsflash, drones aren't exactly known for being particularly durable? That was always my problem with Skynet as well: even considering that the US put it in control of a substantial portion of its nukes and it used this for an alphastrike on humanity, where in the fuck did they get the means to be a threat to the remaining human populace quickly enough and substantially enough? What? Did Cyberdyne build dozens if not the hundreds of factories and mines necessary for all that?

Blogger YIH March 19, 2018 6:01 PM  

In the past I said ''what's going to happen when a 'self driving' vehicle kills (mulitple) someone(s)?'' Looks like we'll get to see. 'Cause you know this is going to a ''wrongful death'' suit. Now the question is who's insurance company going to take the hit? The human ''driver''? Uber? Volvo? (the carmaker) The company who retrofitted the 'self driving' equipment? The company that built the 'self driving' equipment? The programmers who wrote the software? All of them? Any of them?
Who hasn't seen or heard those ''Have you been injured in an accident? Call 1-800-LETS-SUE'' ads? You know some lawfirm is salivating over this. In court, all the insurance companies involved are all going to play 'pass the buck': ''No it's the human's fault'', "No it's Uber's'' and so on. Can you say 'cluster'?

Blogger Jed Mask March 19, 2018 6:04 PM  

This is bad.

Them "machines" have to be controlled by *HUMAN-BEINGS*!

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener March 19, 2018 6:06 PM  

@43 Spoken like someone who has never seen Maximum Overdrive.

Blogger One Deplorable DT March 19, 2018 6:09 PM  

@43 - Nigga, the only way AI doom mongers are correct is if a bunch of assholes, coincidentally enough, like AI doom mongers, got master control of AI somehow and started going on a killing spree.

Lucky for us there aren't any organized religions on the planet with the goal of killing the unfaithful by doing things like crashing self driving cars into each other, or crashing planes into buildings.

Also, dude, "Nigga" is not the preferred nomenclature. African American, please.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 19, 2018 6:11 PM  

"Three years ago self-driving cars were scifi"

Quite a bit off there, Anno.

There's been an annual race of self-driving vehicles through complex terrain (to see who would be able to make a relatively capable one first) for upward of a decade now, IIRC.

IMO, "AI" capable of responsibly operating a vehicle is about the limit of what will ever be possible on the AI front, if even that.

"Suppose they were all linked, like packets over a network...?"

They already are, if they're from the same or cooperating manufacturers.

"E.Musk, a likely converted gray hat, suggests that AI is the greatest threat to humans in it's current form, and he is probably correct."

He's absolutely right. In order to operate autonomously, AI need to have set goals. The next step after that (once people figure out that trying to set precise goals for an AI is like wishing to a malicious Genii -- either nothing happens at all or things go fantastically poorly) is setting up adaptive impetus to drive AI operation. I'm talking literal emotions and lusts for a machine.

At that point, if machines are significantly more capable than people overall (I honestly don't think they ever will be, personally, but for the sake of argument...), we're straight screwed. There really is no way around it.

"Truck drivers make an acceptable living and that is all the motivation the elite class needs. Can't have a low skill uneducated deplorable making an acceptable living."

Ding! Greed in a nutshell. Like any type of malice, it will always find a way to get itself slaughtered eventually.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 19, 2018 6:13 PM  

" I'm tempted to think that the only way it would at all work is if manual driving were illegalized"

Oh, and make no mistake. If these things EVER get significantly better at driving than a human, that's EXACTLY where it will be going.

Blogger dvdivx March 19, 2018 6:13 PM  

Clearly American AI cars are behind the Chinese. In China it would have run over the pedestrian more than once to make sure they are dead. Clearly more work is needed.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 19, 2018 6:15 PM  

And by "human" I mean a third-worlder with a preferential license, and omnicidal passion, and a giant raging hate-on for any sort of crowd.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 19, 2018 6:16 PM  

"what every AI doom monger always fails to mention is that logistics are just as big a threat to any potential 'AI uprising,' as it is to any human uprising, if not more so because of the sophisticated infrastructure needed."

Good job overlooking my existence.

Blogger Tatooine Sharpshooters' Club March 19, 2018 6:17 PM  

Sorry, Noah, I should have been more clear: what potential positives are there for the drivers?

Besides, much of your list only requires an active GPS link for implementation.

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales March 19, 2018 6:18 PM  

@46

More like someone who understands that if MUD, simple MUD, and lack of proper maintenance and repair can still mission kill tanks, even modern MBTs, like this was Operation Barbarossa in present day, then it's gonna wreak havoc even on hypothetical purely robotic super foot soldiers who have to make any kind of long march through harsh, difficult terrain for extended periods.

Blogger Emmanuel Mateo-Morales March 19, 2018 6:18 PM  

@52

Wait, what?

Blogger HoosierHillbilly March 19, 2018 6:22 PM  

I'll make the counter bet. The helpless-without-my-phone zombies that surround us will DEMAND driverless cars. People are just too untrustworthy. Same thought pattern that brought you big government. Economic? Nope. Probable? Distinctly.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 19, 2018 6:26 PM  

"Wait, what?"

I am 110% strong-AI doom-monger, but I'm also of the opinion that strong AI isn't possible, to say the least.

Blogger Looking Glass March 19, 2018 6:38 PM  

@57 Azure Amaranthine

There's some complex arguments that actual AI isn't possible in the human-like sense, but that doesn't mean Runaway Machines aren't an issue. We'll have a real problem if we give them guns, as the FOF functions just aren't going to ever be good.

As to AI Attack Vectors, there are these things called Drones and Critical Infrastructure. They can easily be programmed to attack them, which is something stupid the DARPA would do.

We also have the issue that "Killer AI" are going to be programmed by Soyboys. Same bunch of genocidal leftists are working in the field of AI. That's an issue.

Blogger mobius wolf March 19, 2018 6:47 PM  

Just another way to make sure the rabbits stay in the lines.

Blogger Bob Loblaw March 19, 2018 6:47 PM  

Self-driving cars don't have to be perfect to be viable. They just have to be as good as or better than human drivers, statistically. The real question is whether the public will accept the possibility of being killed by a computer even if that possibility is lower than that of being killed by a drunk teenager.

Blogger Matthew March 19, 2018 6:51 PM  

Computers have no self. "Self-driven" cars do not exist. Thus the responsibility falls on the fictitious person "Uber". This was bound to happen, so it's not just negligent manslaughter.

Blogger YIH March 19, 2018 6:57 PM  

Aeroschmidt wrote:The jaywalker is at fault. But future iterations will have to account for these sort of obstacles. Deer also do not obey anti jaywalking laws.

There will always be some breakage of this sort, but less than manual driving eventually.

https://infogalactic.com/info/Deer%E2%80%93vehicle_collisions.
Ever seen the result of hitting Bambi? Not only is Bambi turned into venison, the human(s) in the vehicle have a significant chance of being seriously injured or killed too.
The scenario that brought me to Earth on self-driving is that area in a 40 mile radius of Disney World. Ever seen those roads (I-4, US 192, ect.)? You've got confused tourists, confused elderly, short-tempered and aggressive locals and crowded roads. Now add 'self-driving' cars, at any given moment a half-dozen random events could occur. Computers don't do random very well. Suddenly someone in the left lane decides they want McDonald's and swerves across 3 or 4 lanes. A Disney employee is running late due to backed-up traffic and will bend if not break traffic laws to try to shave some time. And so on. Been there, done that, it's a nightmare.

Blogger Looking Glass March 19, 2018 7:09 PM  

@62 YIH

Most accidents with self-driving cars will be them getting rear-ended, as they'll react faster than normal traffic. It's the unexpected actions in front of a normally driven car that'll cause more accidents, though one of them is eventually going to plow through a group of children crossing a street.

The biggest thing will be that the autonomous aspects won't drive "normal" in non-normal situations, so everyone will predict their actions wrong. Which will end up with people and cars badly damaged or dead.

However, from an utterly practical stand point, I don't think the special radar the cars need will hold up. Those sensor packages are going to be really questionable for surviving for 5+ years of heavy use. Then there is hardening the computer systems to survive the years. Is the functional life of one of these news cars only 5 years?

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 19, 2018 7:50 PM  

"that doesn't mean Runaway Machines aren't an issue"

Runaway machines have been an issue since the invention of the wheel (or before even).

The thing is, the more complex and powerful the machine, the more "vivid" and "interesting" the results when Murphy arrives, and the more often he'll arrive. Limiting factors...

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 19, 2018 7:55 PM  

Complexity = potential magnitude of divergence from expected + likeliness to diverge from expected.

This is just common sense in engineering.

Blogger Hammerli280 March 19, 2018 7:59 PM  

I think the software will be THE issue. The aerospace industry has software problems, but at least they understand the software has to work - the Blue Screen of Death, on an airplane, means Death. Literally. Smoking hole in the ground.

These Silicon Valley companies? Hell, they're accustomed to fobbing off late-beta test software off onto paying consumers. Safety-related software is a far greater challenge.

Useful as a safety backup IF they can get it to work reliably...but that's going to be a challenge.

Blogger S. Misanthrope March 19, 2018 8:16 PM  

@53 Obvious value is obvious: you can do other shit while you drive. No one in the industry envisions a future where you just sit at the wheel observing the car drive itself, ready to intervene if needed. You'd be able to have a 1, 2, 3 hour commute that's practical because you can work while you commute, enabling more people to take those high-paying city jobs while living in affordable suburban and rural areas.

Another use promoted within the industry in the case of fully autonomous cars (cars that can self-drive with no driver in the vehicle at all) is ride-sharing. You can drive yourself to work and then set your car to "Uber" mode so that other people can ride in your car all day long, making you money while you don't need your car. You can also reduce the cost of parking enormously by having the car drop you off and then drive to an area with affordable, out-of-the-way parking.

From what I hear in the industry, I agree with an earlier commenter who said that actual human drivers would end up banned if self-driving cars became a thing. Which naturally does not terribly concern the folks at Google and Uber, although it does greatly disturb the insurance industry.

Blogger Avalanche March 19, 2018 8:19 PM  

Raising a trembling hand... uh, one impetus or 'self-driving' cars if that people, in the mass, are TRULY DEEPLY PISS-POOR DRIVERS! When you've spent a few years scraping people up off the highway into an ambulance (or baggie!) with a teaspoon, because they fell asleep or they were puttin' on their makeup or it was rainy or traffic was heavy or they didn't see how close the guy ahead was, and and and and....

AN original impetus was: make driving SAFER for the vast army of MPAIs! No long-haul drivers falling asleep after too many hours and running over a family with kids. No drunk idiots driving the wrong way up the highway cause they missed the entrance.

The biggest impetus, as I remember it, was the 1984 gas embargo/gas lines/$5 a gallon gas! "Automating" (to mostly remove) the stops and go's in heavy traffic, and allowing for cars to follow closer, at speed, AND never hit the one ahead were all good things.

That written: auto-driving cars? Oh HELL NO! My new car beeps at me if I stray too close to the lane markers. Annoying but acceptable; I haven't turned it off yet. It beeps a bit hysterically if the car in front 'suddenly' get too close (managed to keep me from smashing into an idiot who couldn't figure out the traffic rerouting at highway speed). Those kinds of 'helps' are fine. But if they want take the wheel of MY car, they'll have to pry it from my cold dead hands! (And NOT cause of an accident!)

Blogger Avalanche March 19, 2018 8:20 PM  

Oh, and my other answer is always: Ever heard of the Blue Screen of Death? Could be real death!

Anonymous Anonymous March 19, 2018 8:34 PM  

The only question that matter is will autonomous vehicles kill more people than human-controlled vehicles.

That's the number the insurance companies will care about.

Blogger Crush Limbraw March 19, 2018 8:42 PM  

Eric reveals all the other gizmos now in your brand new Guvmint designed, 4-wheeler - https://www.ericpetersautos.com/2018/03/18/cars-parent-us/ - cars that parent us.

Blogger Thucydides March 19, 2018 8:47 PM  

You might find this article enlightening. Super complex programs having unexpected "emergent properties" will have some "interesting" and "exciting" consequences downrange (for various values of interesting and exciting, YMMV): https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/robots/a19445627/the-hilarious-and-terrifying-ways-algorithms-have-outsmarted-their-creators/

Blogger tz March 19, 2018 9:01 PM  

There is a problem the more the car gets smarter and controls things.

Humans are good at always concentrating and focusing, so someone with a sports car going fast is safe because he is processing everything. The problem is when they are effectively asleep at the wheel - not paying attention even if holding it - and suddenly the Carbot decides it can't handle things, the human must suddenly acquire situational awareness in a fraction of a second. That won't work. And the more things like cruise control, lane maintenance, auto-braking dull the senses, the less real people can take over when needed.

One thing claimed is that self driving cars have a better safety record, but this is because the problem has been constrained - yes, in a place where everything is mapped, where there is not rain or snow or bugs that will cover everything optical and much of the rest. If you look at rural roads that usually don't have any traffic, it is also "safer".

But the SDCs also drive like assholes. Because they "know" the speed limit, they will merge right in front of you and slow down, so they are often rear ended.

Worse, and this is what frightens me the most, is no one has tried active hacking attacks. Cut off cell or GPS (I'm not sure any SDV would work out here at the zero bar ranch, even worse, "google maps" has some cowpaths that I wouldn't attempt going down in my offroad pickup as real roads). Sprinkle glitter in front of the Lidar. Can the lidar see someone in dark black? Do the cameras work in low light?

Turning old amazon boxes into traffic cones to punk the carbot...

Blogger James Dixon March 19, 2018 9:45 PM  

> ...even if that possibility is lower than that of being killed by a drunk teenager.

At this point it's more likely to be a drunk illegal immigrant.

As I've pointed out before, what we want is a car that's as smart as a horse.

Blogger SirHamster March 19, 2018 10:18 PM  

RambleAround wrote:Suppose they were all linked, like packets over a network...?

Is that supposed to be an improvement?

Packets on a network are lost and discarded all the time. Bits are cheaper than dirt, and are expended as such.

A flesh and blood human being carried in a high speed metal box carries a tad more value and danger than a bunch of electrons.


Azure Amaranthine wrote:Complexity = potential magnitude of divergence from expected + likeliness to diverge from expected.

This is just common sense in engineering.


Adding on to that thought, complexity is proportional to number of parts.

The number of interactions between parts grows exponentially with the number of parts.

The more complex the system, the more and the greater the Unintended Consequences.

Who knew the software patch for your AppleCar's Internet browser would affect the Pedestrian Identification performance? Ooops, surprise!

No worries, we'll just throw self-learning algorithms and more AI at the problem, to create even less deterministic outcomes.

Blogger Bobiojimbo March 19, 2018 10:18 PM  

I'm not too surprised. Mill Ave (where the incident happened) is the main road into downtown Tempe. Arizona State University's main campus is located there. Being a downtown area and so close to the school, the street is lined with bars, students, and vagrants - this area, the pedestrians "own the streets." It'll be interesting to learn if the pedestrian was jay-walking, what her social status was, and whether or not she was high/intoxicated.

One of the reasons why Uber is testing their vehicles there is because of the heat. Heat creates heat shimmers which can mess with the vehicles' sensors. It's been a cool, early spring here, and as the report stated, Sunday was a clear night.

Blogger Jack Amok March 19, 2018 10:28 PM  

Computers don't do random very well.

They probably thought about pedestrians jaywalking. They probably thought about bikes in the lane. They probably didn't think about a drug-addled bag lady walking her bike in the road. The software probably had absolutely no idea what it was seeing or what to do about it.

Blogger Jack Amok March 19, 2018 10:31 PM  

It'll be interesting to learn if the pedestrian was jay-walking, what her social status was, and whether or not she was high/intoxicated.

Multiple drug arrests and probation violations.

Blogger Stephen March 19, 2018 10:40 PM  

If you follow at a safe following distance you will never rear end a car in front of you. There is virtually no excuse for rear ending a car in front of you.

Blogger James Dixon March 19, 2018 10:46 PM  

> There is virtually no excuse for rear ending a car in front of you.

Really? Even when a car going 20 mph slower than you are changes lanes less than 20 feet in front of you? Yes, that's happened, several times.

Blogger Bobiojimbo March 19, 2018 10:51 PM  

@77 Thanks, Jack. Found it. Yeah, not surprised. This doesn't get Uber completely off the hook, not at all, it just adds context.

Blogger justaguy March 20, 2018 12:22 AM  

The liability problem is huge. It is with human drivers also, and every year there are lots of multi-million dollar verdicts. Unless somehow a state severely limits liability of computer-driven cars much more limited than with human drivers, I do not see getting around the liability issue. Insurance takes care of small accidents, but the big accidents or any severe accident where one party has deep pockets, and the awards exceed insurance amounts. With computer-driven cars there will always be someone with big pockets to go after. 30K+ fatalities a year and some large percentage are going to become big cases against “the company that didn’t program the car right to prevent killing my ____ .”

Take the pedestrian fatality—the family has a big claim against the company, not the driver. . Imagine depositions with the nerd programmer against big time liability lawyers... I think that finding a hole in the programming would not be hard in the depositions and contrasting the situation to human interactions. Hell, Toyota didn't have a programming issue on the stuck accelerator and still lost in court and certainly lost in the media

On the idea of computer-driven cars-- I guess in ideal conditions, well maintained roads, clear recently painted lines, etc. etc. then maybe the computer can do the simple job of driving. We continually forget how our brains absorb a huge amount of information in any situation and see problems developing and both interpolate and extrapolate in the environment and then act-- very hard to get a computer to do the same. In planes we still have two pilots even though the computer driving issue is easier—why do we think it will be easier with cars.

Anonymous Anonymous March 20, 2018 12:32 AM  

Herzberg? Every. Damn. Ti... oh wait.

Anonymous Anonymous March 20, 2018 12:35 AM  

If self driving cars go mainstream, expect human driven cars to be banned in short order. It doesn't make sense to have mixed roadways.

I come from a family of truck drivers, and they are under enormous government pressure about all the mundane details of how drivers spend their time. Running 10 minutes late? Sorry, you have to pull over and take your mandated 8 hours of rest or get fined. The required GPS tracking systems will know if you don't comply. It's putting trucking companies out of business.

Sooner or later automated trucking fleets will be the only option. And we can't have mixed roadways for safety reasons, so guess what? Human driven cars will be banned. Then the traffic will be managed by software and vehicle to vehicle communications.

It might actually be safer, but not better.

Blogger Silly but True March 20, 2018 1:16 AM  

Think console wars but amped up a bit on the hardware and complexity.

The money won’t be in the car: people won’t own a car but have a monthly rental with a coop car provider.

The money will be in the one who successfully implements monopoly in communications protocols the cars use to speak with each other and the legal framework to force this system on society.

Blogger Bubba March 20, 2018 1:19 AM  

"I'm still trying to figure out how self-driving cars can possibly be economically viable, considering the ruinous insurance costs that will be involved."

Simple. Study history. In the space of 15-20 years, just over a century ago, automobile enthusiasts, car manufacturers, and other progressive types changed the default rules for roadways. They effectively banned pedestrians from ambling down the street wherever they wanted. Speeds were increased. Cars were permitted to go WAY faster than a horse trot. Pedestrians were banned from crossing in the middle of the block. If you hit a kid who darted out in front of you it was the kid's fault, not yours.

The new laws of liability will be sorted out over a couple of decades and in 2038 people will be amazed that folks just crossed the street whenever the felt like it.

Go watch some of those old ca. 1905 movies of Boston, New York or San Francisco and truly marvel at how chaotic the city streets were back then. No lane markers, horses ambling along, people strolling in the middle of the street, kids playing kickball, it was crazy! Twenty years later it was all changed.

Blogger Jack Amok March 20, 2018 1:30 AM  

Self-driving cars are the epitome of a solution in search of a problem.

Blogger Dirk Manly March 20, 2018 3:31 AM  

I think the drive is that the auto execs see two huge markets:

1. Baby boomers who are about to be medically disqualified from driving (vision or other health issues)

2. Chinese peasants, who will be happy as hell to just have a car, and won't miss any loss of freedom to drive the thing where they want to, because right now they are all full-time pedestrians.

Anonymous Anonymous March 20, 2018 5:20 AM  

'm still trying to figure out how self-driving cars can possibly be economically viable,
...........
This bit of automation is being driven by the folks who own large fleets of commercial vehicles and you wouldnt have to wonder if you ever owned a small fleet of 18wheelers. Like maybe 3 out of every 20 drivers or so are worth a damn. The rest cause you more problems then they make you money. And the churn rate is insane. Class A Cdl drivers are the worst employees imaginable. Worse then the single moms you hire when you own a bar.

So liability costs will be offset by saving on fuel, salary of the driver, wear and tear on your vehicle, a truck that can run 24/7 which will ultimately give you more miles per day = more loads per week, month, year, what has to be an improvement on delivery times, no trucks being left on the side of tge road when a driver abandons a load, no drivers getting dui's in your truck, no drivers getting caught buying bookers in your true k, a huge reduction in employee theft and the trucks themselves will cost less money when you don't have to factor driver comfort into the cabs constructions.

It's going to happen because of who's behind it ( wealthy dudes) and it's going to suck for the decent men doing the owner operator thing but the large fleets owners have the money to push it through and fleets worth of shit drivers causing them all manners of problems

Blogger B.J. March 20, 2018 9:15 AM  

That was quick. I figured they'd be banned after the first big accident.

Blogger justaguy March 20, 2018 2:41 PM  

Quality of truck drivers is a function of their pay and quality of life while working. Pushing against pay is the cost of using alternative means such as trains. Add in pressure from our unlimited immigration and maybe you get the above "only 3 out of 20 truckers" worth anything. I do not know for sure. Normally if something is screwed up and doesn't fix itself, the government is involved. Here immigration is a government issue as well as the trucking rules that pretty much define the field of trucking.

Just remember big trucking firms are only big targets and don't have much influence or votes so I can't say that they will win once computer driven trucks kill a few people driving their cars.

Lastly remember that engineering takes decades to develop and the lessons are often costly in $ and life. It will be the same with this engineering development-- what we have 50 years after it starts will dwarf what we have now, just like cars. The exception is that we have relatively safe cars now compared to 1950 and are used to them. Going back in safety because some company wants to make $ doesn't sound very appealing to a jury or voters.

Blogger michimartini March 20, 2018 5:54 PM  

Regarding that skynet topic:
I am sure some of you have read "That Hideous Strength" (at least a certain "Elwin Ransom"). What CS Lewis proposed in it was that an AI could become actually demon possessed. And that is actually a real danger because: Our human brain is "just" a neuronal network - a complex matter based machine. And it has on the one hand the capability to process sensory input and do mundane things like steer our car away from jaywalkers - but on the other hand, it also links up to, or hosts, our human spirit. With our spirit we produce philosophy and other advanced things bonobos can't pull off. But our brains can also be hacked and taken over by malicious spirits which are not human. I've seen it happen, and it is not pretty. Now whatever kind of functionality that is that can be subverted like that could in theory be replicated by man made computers.
So what I am saying is: AI can not become sentient by being more advanced. But it could theoretically do something else that would seem functionally equivalent, but all the more deadly.

Yeah, I know. Not an immediate concern. But this just seemed an appropriate context to get this off my chest.

Blogger Cloudswrest March 20, 2018 7:13 PM  

They haven't released video yet, but the rumor is the victim is at fault. She darted out in front of the car. https://gabfiles.blob.core.windows.net/image/5ab18e6fe9168.png

Blogger Cloudswrest March 20, 2018 7:28 PM  

michimartini wrote:Regarding that skynet topic:

So what I am saying is: AI can not become sentient by being more advanced. But it could theoretically do something else that would seem functionally equivalent, but all the more deadly.


I speculate that eventually AI could out perform humans in all possible ways, including combat, and still not be sentient. By this I mean they are still just a glorified thermostat. They will be able to sense and process green wavelengths of light, but they won't experience "green" as a quale.

Blogger Daniel March 20, 2018 8:59 PM  

Just call Saul!

Blogger justaguy March 21, 2018 11:11 AM  

Lots of push for the accepted narrative that the pedestrian "darted out" and "no one could have prevented" spewing forth from all sources. The problem is the video hasn't been released and the reports say the bag lady was pushing a bicycled laden with plastic shopping bags. Doesn't seem like darting out in front if pushing a bike. I can see the plaintiff's lawyers saying faulty programming that ignored the person in shadows where a human would have noted her.

Blogger Rick March 21, 2018 1:29 PM  

Unfortunately this reminds me of a joke. To paraphrase Norm MacDonald re the AIDS cure, the day they invented the driverless car they simultaneously invented the riderless car.

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