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Thread: Self-Driving Cars Can't See Black

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    It takes guts to make that stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    And I'm old enough to have caught the Prisoner reference.
    I've been to "The Village". It's not far from here, it's Portmeirion in North Wales. No 6's house is tiny, much smaller than it looks on film. The boat in the harbour is made of concrete. There was no sign of Rover on the beach (but I wasn't trying to make a run for it).

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  3. #73
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    It takes guts to make that stuff.
    It takes more guts to EAT it.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Apology in advance for the tangent...

    There is a show on Food Network called CHopped. The contestants are given a basket with four mystery ingredients they have to include in an entree they create. usually one of the ingredients is not really well suited, thus a challenge. For example: squab, shallots, green beans, and peppermint candy.

    One episode included prunes, and canned haggis. (really, they can the stuff too?) A panel of judges then critique the various dishes created. As I walked by the TV, I heard one judge say "The haggis to prune ratio is way off here..." Not a phrase I would ever expect to hear anywhere.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    One episode included prunes, and canned haggis. (really, they can the stuff too?) A panel of judges then critique the various dishes created. As I walked by the TV, I heard one judge say "The haggis to prune ratio is way off here..." Not a phrase I would ever expect to hear anywhere.
    I can see where the prunes come in handy. Haggis, you might want to send that awful offal through ya fast as possible...

    But on a slightly more serious note, all haggis amounts to is sausage meat or scrapple made out of sheep instead of swine. Everybody I know that's tried it has survived just fine, some even said "I don't see what the fuss is about, it was actually pretty good." All depends how you spice it up I guess. As a final line of defense, keep a bottle of Frank's hot sauce ready to hand - hey I put that stuff on everything! As the offspring of generations of Scots, I have to credit them for carrying on long enough to produce me - likely most of them had to consume some haggis to survive.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Everyone has heard of haggis, even if not seen it. Scrapple is usually only known to people from the middle eastern seaboard. I love scrapple. But haggis is more fun to make fun of.

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    Since this thread's taken us deep in the weeds off the side of the road
    I sometimes stop by the freezer section of the local supermarket just to spy the tubs of chitterlings. Nobody's ever heard of chitterlings, but many folks would recognize 'chitlins' by name, if not by sight.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eschertron View Post
    Since this thread's taken us deep in the weeds off the side of the road
    Entirely befitting, as self-driving cars aren't all they're cracked up to be.

    I sometimes stop by the freezer section of the local supermarket just to spy the tubs of chitterlings. Nobody's ever heard of chitterlings, but many folks would recognize 'chitlins' by name, if not by sight.
    Buy 'em in bulk!




    So were you just cruising by the freezer section to look at the tubs of chitlins or were you actually there to buy one?

    I have to admit, I haven't ever made them, though I have eaten them at friends' houses more times than I could count.

    And it's a coincidence that I'm listening to this right now ... the same record was spinning when I was eating chitlins in the late 70s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g1 View Post
    They do need to be significantly safer than human driven. That doesn't seem so unreachable.
    I know we hear from Google and other rich corporations that this has already been achieved.

    Let's think about this for a second. Let's start with a rough ballpark calculation of the computational ability of a human brain.

    The human brain is estimated to have a hundred billion neurons (that's 10^11). Each neuron can fire up to about ten times per second (that's 10^1). Each neuron can also wire itself up to maybe a hundred or thousand other neurons (10^3). Multiply those together, and you get 10^15: our rough estimate of the number of operations per second that the human brain can process.

    I have seen other estimates of up to 10^18 operations per second, which is a thousand times faster than 10^15. I don't know if anyone knows for sure which of these numbers is more accurate; but, to be conservative, let's go with the lower estimate, only 10^15 operations per second.

    Now let's look at a typical powerful computer CPU of today. You typically have four cores each operating at around 3 GHz (that's 3 x 10^9 times per second). Some operations take several clock cycles, but let's be generous, and overestimate the CPU's capability; let's pretend it can do one operation per core per clock cycle.

    So now we multiply those two numbers, and we get 1.2 x 10^10 operations per second.

    Here is the point to note: 10^10 is a hundred thousand times smaller than 10^15. The fast modern computer is a hundred thousand times less capable than the human brain.

    We may not know exactly what intelligence is, but it is definitely connected to the brains computational ability.

    Clearly, we can't expect a modern PC CPU to have human intelligence, or anything near it.

    So what animal(s) on earth are a hundred thousand times stupider than a human? Insects, apparently. Maybe worms.

    So our expensive desktop CPU has - maybe - the smarts of an earthworm. Maybe, just maybe, the smarts of a cockroach. And the CPUs in self-driving cars are probably less capable than your powerhouse $400 Intel gamer CPU - economics will see to that. So your self-driving car is probably stupider than a cockroach, as I've said on this forum a few times. This is not an exaggeration, this is a plausible estimate of the truth.

    Those of us who've driven for many years know that, a lot of the time, driving may not actually require a lot more intelligence than a cockroach has. Keep in the center of the lane, keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front. A cockroach brain could probably handle that - which is why Google, Tesla, et cetera have successfully demonstrated autonomous cars.

    But those of us who've driven for many years also know that every so often, a situation comes along that requires human-level smarts. Like the time in the early 1990's when the little girl on her new bicycle pedalled down her driveway, all the way into the roadway, and straight into the path of my car (she came from the right side of the road.)

    There was no time to stop, the little girl obviously couldn't control her bike so my horn was useless, there was no oncoming traffic, so I made an emergency double lane change over to the *wrong* side of the road. The extra distance gave me time to stop completely - with my left-side wheels almost touching the left curb of the street. A fraction of a second after I had fully stopped the car, the little girl bicycled into the side of my car, still out of control, still at full speed.

    She fell over and started to cry - but because of the actions I'd taken, she only made contact with a completely stationary object (my car), instead of being mowed over by a tonne and a half of metal moving at 35 mph. She had a few little scratches on her hands and legs, but that was all.

    Her parents didn't even notice what was happening until their child was already in the street. Then they rushed to her, picked her up, glared at me blackly for a few minutes, and left without so much as a "Thank you!"

    Part of what made it possible for me to avoid running over that little girl, was the fact that as I rounded the corner onto that residential street, I'd spotted the little girl standing by her bicycle near the end of the driveway. Her parents were nearby, talking to each other, distracted, not noticing. Since I'm a human being, I know kids are unpredictable, and make mistakes. So I was instantly on the alert, before she started rolling down the driveway, headed for the street and my car.

    Would a cockroach have known any of this? Of course not. Would one of Google's cars? Of course not. Would a self-driving car know that this was a situation when driving over to the wrong side of the road was the right thing to do? Of course not.

    No problem, Google has billions of dollars in cash, and rooms full of lawyers, so the courts would give them a pass. It was the little girls fault, or maybe her parents. Too bad she was killed by the self-driving car, but of course, it wasn't the car's fault. No siree.

    I've been driving for quite a few years, and I have other stories like this, of accidents I narrowly averted by thinking my way out of a tough situation, or anticipating an incipient human failure; I'm sure you, and probably everyone who's driven for a decade or two, has similar stories.

    So no, I do NOT believe that self-driving cars will be safer than human drivers. There is a crap-load propaganda that says so, but it is all coming from the people who want to sell us self-driving cars, not from independent studies. I think cockroach-stupid cars will, at best, cope with cockroach-stupid driving situations, but that is all; when the emergency situation requiring actual intelligence comes along, it will fail utterly. And the courts will give the manufacturer a pass. (Ask the ghost of Joshua Brown, RIP).

    Don't drink the Kool-aid, until we have at least a decade or two of real-world statistics to draw from, and it stops being Kool-aid, and becomes actual data. Until then, be very, very very sceptical. (Ever seen *any* computer software that doesn't fail spectacularly from time to time? Me neither.)

    -Gnobuddy

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Your perspective seems a little extreme. As certainly cockroaches know how to not run into each other and make safe, forward progress. g1's point is that if ALL vehicles were driverless then EVERY CAR is following the same rules. And THAT'S how you make it safer than human drivers. It could absolutely work. No doubt in my mind, BUT!!!... It's your argument about autonomy that supports my position. I would honestly rather be accountable for my own risk than EVER subject myself to becoming an autonomous death statistic. And I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. Still, there's no doubting that g1 is right about the likelihood of traffic fatalities decreasing with complete automation. People are VERY inconsistent and will never manage the road as well as computers could IF all vehicles on the road were working with the same format. No doubt at all.

    So let's walk another path for a second. How about natural selection. Since traffic fatalities account for a large percentage of human culling, and we are currently responsible for handling our own problems on the road, be it our own level of prowess or attentiveness or awareness and avoidance of dangerous drivers and circumstances, this still amounts to natural selection. So what happens to our capabilities as a species if we allow ourselves to be utterly autonomous in this!?! I don't think that's a strictly contrary position to take. If, indeed there are fewer traffic fatalities AND, due to autonomy there is a higher ratio of those who wouldn't (I might argue shouldn't) survive that are spared the potentially fatal responsibility of their own capabilities, well, I think you see where I'm going with this. Even more people and a higher ratio of those less capable of surviving on their own accord. Can that end well? I know this is the modern age where every kid gets a ribbon. I think that direction is going to end our species.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Actually, smoking kills ten times the number each year of traffic fatalities.


    Gno, I think I agree with a lot of what you said, but the human brain is busy, pumping the heart and breathing the lungs, thinking about its day at work, reliving an argument from the night before, and so on. it is maintaining a memory of all its passed life, and accumulated knowledge. When I drive, I have not forgotten all I know about amplifiers, or how to make meatballs, or Woodstock. My brain is remembering 70 years of stuff, the auto-car only needs to remember the program in its ROM. I don't think comparing the car to the brain is a valid comparison. After all your cell phone has way more computing power than the computer that flew crews to the moon. Yet that little computer got us a quarter million miles away and back multiple times.


    Auto-cars scare me, but I have to admit, they will likely wind up safer. Like a lot of people are afraid of flying, but are not afraid of driving down the highway to get to the airport. And that drive is far more likely to kill you.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    ... the likelihood of traffic fatalities decreasing with complete automation. People are VERY inconsistent and will never manage the road as well as computers could IF all vehicles on the road were working with the same format. No doubt at all.
    The person who imagines that selfdriving cars are going to provide us with a new era of safety is putting a lot of faith in a population of vehicles that are acting independently, asynchronously, in a chaotic fashion, without any common goal and without any common means of oversight. If driverless cars are going to be safe, they're going to have to be synchronously controlled by a master computer that coordinates the activity of each independent vehicle so that they work together to optimize the flow of traffic as they communicate with one another to avoid accidents -- there will need to be oversight and control of the vehicles by a master application that functions along the lines of an Air Traffic Controller.

    Unfortunately none of the cars on the road today are even close to that sort of implementation. Right now the car manufacturers are boasting about their ability to steer a car while keeping it between two while lines. They seriously overestimate the car's ability in the minds of the car buying public by mis-using terms to inspire a false sense of confidence in the buyer. An example of this would be equating basic lane-confinement with autopilot, while the reality is that the two aren't even close to one another.

    The need for synchronized behavior is obvious -- when the wheel falls off of his car as he's driving down the highway, he needs to stop. His car needs to recognize the condition and bring the car to a stop. But the other traffic needs to slow down and stop as well so he doesn't get rear-ended. Having another car that's independently guiding itself down the roadway with a camera isn't good enough. When one car suffers a critical failure, it needs to signal that condition to the other cars so that all of the cars on the roadway will act with a common goal to slow down and stop to avoid a multiple car pileup. The current paradigm of relying upon optical sensors and sounding an alarm inside of the cabin isn't going to cut it -- handing control over to a driver who hasn't been paying attention just doesn't provide a fast enough response.

    Right now we have a situation where independently driven cars are being driven with an asynchronous plan. At most, they are synchronized in that they are travelling int he same direction on the same road, and that's about it. The drivers typically aren't working together. The current driverless paradigm replaces a population of humans that are driving without a coordinated plan with computers that are driving without a coordinated plan. Where's the safety in that? There's just no reason to assume that driverless cars will be any safer than independently driven cars until the driverless cars communicate with each other to make their actions on the road more safe.



    How about natural selection. Since traffic fatalities account for a large percentage of human culling, and we are currently responsible for handling our own problems on the road, be it our own level of prowess or attentiveness or awareness and avoidance of dangerous drivers and circumstances, this still amounts to natural selection. So what happens to our capabilities as a species if we allow ourselves to be utterly autonomous in this!?! I
    Natural selection begins the moment you board the Johnny Cab.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Why do they need to be controlled globally from a central facility? The driven cars of today certainly function and have no such control. If I am driving to the mall, and you are driving home from work, we have different goals and intentions, yet a set of rules allows us all to function together.

    One thing I see every day is the guy turning left from the second lane (or right). I see the guy racing up on my left to cut across two lanes in front of me to get to the exit ramp 5 seconds faster than getting behind me. I see guys decide to make it through the yellow light even when it has turned red. I see cars wandering in and out of their lane while the operator is gawking at his smart phone. Or even a book. I see cars going around flashing lowered gates at railroad crossings. On a country road yesterday, some nitwit screamed past me crossing the double yellow line on a blind hill, then passed the next car also on a hill that curved, again crossing the dual yellow line. The list goes on. I suspect very few auto-cars will do those things. The particular technology is advancing very fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Your perspective seems a little extreme.
    Maybe, time will tell. Certainly we need a counterbalancing perspective other than the idiotic rah-rah cheering we're hearing from manufacturers, legislative authorities, advertisers, and talking heads on TV.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    As certainly cockroaches know how to not run into each other and make safe, forward progress.
    They do run into each other, also over each other - I have had the disgusting experience of witnessing a roach infestation in a neighbour's barn once.

    Have you ever seen a cockroach or beetle that was accidentally flipped over onto its back? Beetles die that way, of exhaustion and starvation, because they are too stupid to do anything more than wave their legs helplessly in the air for hours on end. With no comprehension of the world around them, they can't adapt to an unexpected situation. Why would we expect a cockroach-stupid self driving car to do any better?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    g1's point is that if ALL vehicles were driverless then EVERY CAR is following the same rules.
    That's not how AI systems work. Researchers tried to create rule-based AI systems in the fifties, sixties, and maybe seventies. They quickly found that this approach only worked for extremely simple problems - beyond that, the number of required rules multiplied so fast that you could never have enough rules.

    I'm by no means an expert in AI, but from what I understand, today's AI systems are "taught" with reward and punishment. As an analogy, you take your cockroach, and hook it up to a driving simulator, so that every twitch of the cockroach's legs or antenna causes the car to turn left, right, brake, or accelerate.

    Now, you let the cockroach move. If the car does something it shouldn't (runs into a tree, say), you drip dilute acid on the poor cockroach (Bad cockroach! Bad, bad cockroach!) If the car stays in the lane and moves forwards, you give the cockroach a grain of sugar (Good boy! Good, good cockroach!).

    Now you repeat this a few hundred thousand times, and then proudly call all the TV reporters you can, and announce that you have just created a fantastic self-driving artificial intelligence system and put it in the greatest car ever made.

    Notice that the humans torturing the cockroach actually have no idea what, if any, "rules" the cockroach is following. The cockroach has no idea what it's doing, either - it's just trying to avoid being burned with acid.

    In case you think I'm exaggerating - consider that in 2004, a petri dish containing about 25,000 neurons from a rat brain was taught to fly a (simulated) aircraft using exactly this reward / punishment approach (except they used an applied voltage rather than acid and sugar):

    1) https://www.newscientist.com/article...fighter-plane/

    2) Extracts - "Brain" In A Dish Acts As Autopilot Living Computer

    3) https://news.nationalgeographic.com/...etri_dish.html


    The first of those links contains the sentence "The cells could one day become a more sophisticated replacement for the computers that control uncrewed aerial vehicles", exactly the kind of stupid response I've come to expect from half-educated reporters without a clue. Seriously, what moron would trust a drop of gloppy rat brain cells with the intelligence of a flatworm to fly a lethal amount of weight around humans or human property?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Still, there's no doubting that g1 is right about the likelihood of traffic fatalities decreasing with complete automation.
    This comes down to asking "Can a cockroach do a better job than the worst human drivers?" And will the lives saved by doing better than the worst human drivers compensate for all the people who die at the hands of self-driving cockroach-cars, because the good human drivers are no longer in control of their cars?

    I honestly don't know the answer to that one.

    But why, exactly, are we so thrilled about the possibility that our vehicles might soon all be controlled by a cockroach-level intelligence that is just barely more functional than a drop-dead drunk human being?

    By the way, I think your comments about natural selection are dead-on. We humans have been collectively subjected to less and less danger for some centuries now, and as a result, have had less and less unavoidable reasons to sharpen our wits. The village idiot no longer gets eaten by the lion he tried to pet, removing his genes from the pool.

    In recent decades, I think something else is going on: large-scale arrested development, a psychological condition in which human bodies mature to adulthood, but their brains remain child-like, arrested at an earlier, pre-adult stage of development. Look around you, there are symptoms of this everywhere you look. (One of my early clues, some twenty-plus years ago, was seeing adult women paying for and proudly wearing teddy-bear shaped backpacks, something that would be entirely normal for a seven-year old child fifty years ago, but which is quite disturbing in a 25-year old adult.)

    -Gnobuddy

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  15. #85
    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    If you flip a beetle on its back, it kicks its legs in the air until it dies. Not because it is stupid, even though it is, but because it lacks the body parts to upright itself. Now flip a driverless car on its back - it will lie there spinning its wheels until it runs out of fuel. (Or some safety inversion detector shuts it off). But wait, put a driver car on its roof, and it too is unable to right itself. What have we learned? That the example is not instructive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    My brain is remembering 70 years of stuff, the auto-car only needs to remember the program in its ROM.
    Remember, your brain is an estimated hundred thousand times smarter than the self-driving car's computer(s). If you were somehow using 90% of your brain on tasks other than driving (which would make you the world's most unfocussed driver!), the remaining 10% of your intelligence is still ten thousand times smarter than the car.

    I agree with your point that the car software is tuned for driving, and only driving. But, starting out a hundred thousand times stupider than you, this alone won't make the car anywhere near as capable as you are, if the situation gets complex and requires actual intelligence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    I don't think comparing the car to the brain is a valid comparison. After all your cell phone has way more computing power than the computer that flew crews to the moon.
    This is a classic case of how human abilities blind us to reality. Which is harder, computing a path to the moon, or being able to tell a mail-box from a trash can?

    To a human brain, there's no contest. It takes years of study to get to the point where you understand the second-order differential equation that describes motion through space, and even then it takes a smart person to do it. But any dummy can tell a mailbox from a trash can!

    The thing is, computationally, the difficulty of these two problems is exactly the opposite. A second-order differential equation is actually computationally easy - you can give any reasonably smart person a copy of Numerical Recipes ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numerical_Recipes ), an introductory book on computer programming, and Newton's laws in differential equation form, and she will, within a week or two, be able to write a program to predict the path of a lunar launch vehicle between earth and moon.

    But writing a program to tell the difference between a mailbox and a trash can? That's computationally impossibly difficult. Google's super-smart AI systems, running on tens of thousands of PCs clustered together into a super computer, still can't do it with any reliability.

    This is why a very stupid computer (programmed by very smart human beings) got us to the moon and back. But that doesn't mean that same computer can tell a road from a tree-trunk, or a mailbox from a pedestrian.

    There are aspects of driving that require very little intelligence. Like cruise control - we've had mechanical cruise-control for decades. It follows a super-simple algorithm:

    Code:
           if (wheel rpm < desired value)
              increase throttle
           else
              decrease throttle
    With a microprocessor, it is pretty straightforward to extend that crude cruise control algorithm to maintain a safe distance from the car in front:

    Code:
           if ((wheel rpm < desired value) AND (following distance > minimum safe distance))
              increase throttle
           else
              decrease throttle
    And you could again easily extend that to apply brakes if the closing velocity exceeds some safe threshold, for example.

    All this is pretty simple (even when you include some Newtonian mechanics so the cruise control has a better understanding of how hard to apply the gas or not, etc).

    But telling a roadway from a plowed field? Telling a parked car from a moving one? Detecting one car among the dozens in the field of view? Recognizing the presence of a pedestrian? All these are almost impossibly hard computational programs. A cockroach probably couldn't successfully do any of them. A targeted AI program, as we have seen, can do a little better than a cockroach. But only a little: a bright sky is (was?) no different than a white truck to Tesla's oh-so-smart AI software...

    Cockroaches don't get drunk, neither do self-driving cars. Cockroaches probably don't get enraged, neither do self-driving cars. Yes, they do have those things in common! But is that adequate qualification for putting the cockroach in charge of your life - and the lives of those around you?

    Computer code is fundamentally stupid. That's not about to change.

    And for those who have already forgotten: bad code in Toyota's car computers has already cost many lives:
    1) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/toyota-...has-killed-89/
    2) Toyota recall: Last words of father before he and his family died in Lexus crash | Daily Mail Online
    3) Toyota Recall 'My Car Just Wouldn't Stop' | PEOPLE.com
    4) Toyota Settles Over Death of Family in High-Speed Crash - The New York Times

    -Gnobuddy

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    FWIW I never said that cockroaches don't run into each other (or crawl on top of each other). I said they know how not to. I'm sure if bumping into or crawling on top of one another were a problem for cockroaches they wouldn't do it!?! Besides... Who said we're going to program these cars to behave like cockroaches. I would think that an sedan sized cock roach would be bad for any driver (and I'm not considering traffic safety )

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I didn't intend to bog down on details, I just find the cockroach argument to be simplistic - it wants to put all its begs in one ask-it.

    As a human I may have more brain power, but I also have to use some of it to FOCUS on my driving. The car has no choice but to be totally focused and at all times. We can always find examples of multimillion line code having some loophole or glitch that was unforeseen, some combination of circumstances that become lethal. Just as a wet highway that is safe to drive on drops half a degree in one area and freezes, and the unaware driver now is spinning on ice he never suspected would be there. That is why they put those "bridge freezes before roadway" or similar signs up. How many of us actually slow down whenever we see those signs? Focus.

    Wanna bet that Tesla if faced with the same white truck today would have a different response? That event was a long time ago in the world of AI development. Widen the field of view some and the outline of the truck resolves.

    Realistic complaints from me? I see cross traffic, and I always worry if he is going to run the red light. If he is 10 yards from the corner, pretty easy to tell. But I drive country roads, The guy is 100 yards or 200 yards from the stop sign, Does he look like he intends to stop? Does an auto car look that far away? A "parked car" on the side, I see the driver looking back over his shoulder and the brake lights go off. I immediately think, he might pull into traffic. I doubt the car can anticipate that without some motion. I move over preemptively.

    "90% of my brain" lumps the brain into one big smart pool, but the brain isn't organized that simply. The car never worries that I will get there before Aunt Ethel has to leave for the airport. The car is not arguing with its wife over how I took too long in the bathroom. The car is not still pissed off about the scolding the boss gave it during the day.

    All I am saying is that the numbers do not tell the story. IS there need for a ton more develpoment? Of course. To me saying the car is dumber than a cockroach is like saying a Fender is louder than a sandwich.

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    Ok... This is really good. Enzo's post made me think of this (probably obvious, but I'm about to say it out loud ). Cars, as driven by people and the roadways and traffic rules we use to navigate them have been products of evolution toward PEOPLE THAT DRIVE CARS! In this light I'm not sure it makes sense to try and design any automated system to do it in any similar way. Unfortunately the existing system is, to some degree, setting the stage for the working format. In other words, rather than trying to design self driving cars to do what people do, we might have better success redesigning the transportation method to accommodate what computers do.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Gnobuddy;481321]
    Have you ever seen a cockroach or beetle that was accidentally flipped over onto its back? Beetles die that way, of exhaustion and starvation, because they are too stupid to do anything more than wave their legs helplessly in the air for hours on end. With no comprehension of the world around them, they can't adapt to an unexpected situation.
    I'm not sure that the Beetles' problem is that they're too stupid to flip over, I think that the problem is that they're just not designed to be capable of flipping themselves over. There are species of snails that have the same problem -- they're not able to flip themselves over, no matter how hard they try. OTOH, there are many species of snails that are able to flip themselves over. I think it's more related to the species' evolutionary design that goes along with the niche that they ended up filling in the environment. Realistically speaking, you can't really compare the intellect of one invertebrate to another... when they're both attempting to self-right, it doesn't matter that one succeeds when the other does not. It's not as if one is smarter than the other -- they're still both invertebrates.

    Why would we expect a cockroach-stupid self driving car to do any better?
    I'm missing out on why we'd even expect a self-driving car to try right itself if it ends up on it's back. If it ends up on it's back, then it failed at what it was doing and I'd prefer that it not try to do anything else.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I'm tired of typing self-driving car and autonomous vehicle. I'm going to use SDC from now on.
    .
    .

    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    Why do they need to be controlled globally from a central facility? The driven cars of today certainly function and have no such control. If I am driving to the mall, and you are driving home from work, we have different goals and intentions, yet a set of rules allows us all to function together.
    There doesn't need to be a centralized facility, there just needs to be centralized control. There are several reasons that coordinated synchronous control will always outperform autonomous asynchronous control. I'm sure that you can think of a few if you think hard enough. The most basic example of coordinated synchronous control involves training drivers to stay on the right. That's what allows you to drive to the mall without hitting me while I drive to work. Now extrapolate from that.

    I don't think that two SDC headed in opposite directions have as much need to communicate (at least not until one realizes that it's left it's lane, then it had better broadcast an alert signal to the other SDC on the road.) But the world is a more complex place than the scenario of you driving to the mall while I'm driving home from work.

    Part of the problem is that the people who are designing SDC are operating from a really stupid design perspective. They imagine that an SDC will become a viable mode of transportation with a computer that's designed to be accident avoidant as it drives around like a half-blind grandmother. The problem is that when grandmothers hit the road, they don't drive like the Little Old Lady from Pasadena, they tend to act like a rolling chicane. That's what you'll get with SDC that are designed to operate at a safe distance from one another when you drop them into a hostile operating environment. The harsh reality is that the SDC will only have the luxury of driving like a grandma in rural locations. You simply can't drive that way in a big city. If you get on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago and you drive like that, chances are that you'll get several bullets in your head because you've pissed off everyone around you.

    Imagine a SDC is going to get on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago during rush hour, where people drive 90 miles an hour while hanging onto each others' bumper. People around here drive their cars like they're jet fighter pilots flying in formation. It's a competitive environment. Intensely competitive. SDC aren't designed to be competitive. They're designed to be safe. When an SDC encounters a "crazy" competitor, it's going to slow down to avoid an accident. Imagine that happening in an environment where everyone is intent on getting somewhere fast. A SDC that refuses to keep the pace will become an obstacle, and a SDC that uses autonomous control to try to keep the pace won't be as safe as one that communicates with other cars on the network and synchronizes it's behavior with those of it's neighbors. By definition, SDC are going to have to be aware of other cars on the road and work together, otherwise the paradigm just won't work.

    When people drive along at 90 bumper to bumper, they're not looking at the bumper of the other car to gauge distance, as an SDC does. They're looking at the driver in front of them, not his car, to determine when a braking event or a lane change might happen. (People don't use turn signals here, so you have to watch the driver to know if he's going to change lanes. An SDC looking for a blinking light just isn't going to fare well. ) And Chicago drivers aren't just looking at the driver in the car ahead of them -- they're looking through the car ahead of them, to see the next driver in the car ahead of the car in front of them, to determine when they may have to brake. Because reaction time matters.

    In the real world you can't rely on the visual interpreter that's connected to a camera that's covered in road dirt. In the real world you have to account for latency in braking, and latency is exactly what you'll get when you wait for a SDC to figure out that the car in front of it has already started slowing down. To avoid accidents you'll need to eliminate braking latency, and that means one car will have to broadcast it's intent-to-brake information to the cars around it as it engages the brakes. Then the cars behind around it will have to listen for the signal and act accordingly.

    Do SDC have to be coordinated by a centrallized computer somewhere else? No. But do they need to work together in a dense traffic situation? Absolutely.

    Imagine what would happen if an SDC that was trained to drive across rural Canada on Highway 1 was dropped into Chicago traffic. Not liking the traffic density, it slows to try to increase the space between it and the car in front of it to a safe distance. That's going to create a traffic jam, not to mention annoying the hell out of every driver behind him. People in the lane to his sides will immediately recognize that a space in the roadway has been opened and they will guttersnipe into the space that he's just created, because guttersniping gets you ahead of where you were before. So now the SDC sees another obstacle that's too close and further reduces it's speed. Then another driver guttersnipes into the space and causes the SDC to repeat it's behavior. The SDC ends up causing a menace to navigation as it keeps braking slower and slower and slower, continuously reducing it's speed until it eventually stops in the middle of the Expressway and creates a traffic jam. In Chicago, chances are that someone will set it on fire.

    In those situations where optical sensors are dirty, something better is required. In those cases where traffic is dense, something better is required. Granted, today's SDC aren't even trying to be designed to handle the Dan Ryan commute, there's just no way they could succeed. They'd continually be trying to operate safely in an intensely competitive environment that they weren't designed for. It's obvious to me that car-to-car communication is going to be helpful, and synchronized control is going to be even more helpful. Driverless systems that work in dense urban environments are going to have to have better guidance systems than cars that mozy along Route 66 in the middle of Arizona.


    Numerical Recipes used to be a free download. Sadly, it looks like they now charge for the downloadable code libraries. Glad I've got mine.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    IMO this SDC business has nothing to do with the intellect of an SDC. It has more to do with the competitive and predatory behavior of human drivers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Ok... This is really good. Enzo's post made me think of this (probably obvious, but I'm about to say it out loud ). Cars, as driven by people and the roadways and traffic rules we use to navigate them have been products of evolution toward PEOPLE THAT DRIVE CARS! In this light I'm not sure it makes sense to try and design any automated system to do it in any similar way. Unfortunately the existing system is, to some degree, setting the stage for the working format. In other words, rather than trying to design self driving cars to do what people do, we might have better success redesigning the transportation method to accommodate what computers do.
    There's no doubt that redesigning the transportation system will have to happen. The problem is that you have the situation where people drive cars, and SDC aren't all that good in that situation, and at the other extreme there's the alternate paradigm where the roadways are all designed for SDC operation, where SDC will do quite well.

    It's the situation where human drivers with unpredictable behavior that can be changed at will are mixed with SDC that have predictable / unchangeable behavior that will cause a problem. Proponents of the SDC are naive if they don't believe that human drivers will learn how SDC behave, and then use that knowledge against SDC obstacles on the roadway. They will use that knowledge to one-up the SDC in traffic. I know I will. I know people in Chicago will do it too. The end result is going to be human drivers marginalizing SDC on the side of the roadway like a pack of wolves hunting down a sheep. That won't stop until people are no longer behind the wheel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    The car has no choice but to be totally focused and at all times.
    I think you have to have awareness to be focused. Without awareness, self-driving cars can have no focus.

    There can be no distractions, either - that also requires focus.

    But we are still operating on the assumption that a stupid thing with absolutely no understanding of the world is going to be a better driver than a human being - does that not seem more than a little odd? Would we give the same credibility to someone who proposed teaching grasshoppers to drive our cars? Or field-mice, which are thousands of times smarter than our best computer CPUs?

    To me the big "ask" is being asked to believe that an insect-level intelligence can successfully take on the complex ethical and social issues that surround driving. Life and death, pain and suffering, financial loss, our legal system - these are weighty things that all human drivers are expected to consider when they drive (which is why most of us don't just ram the jerk who's cut you off for the fifth time). A dumb AI system trained by repetition has no understanding of any of these concepts; killing a human is no different than running into a lamp-post, and the vehicle understands neither "human" nor "lamp-post" nor "kill" nor "running into".

    I think we have perhaps collectively grown up watching too many melodramatic science fiction TV shows, in which the robots are not only exceedingly capable, but usually more capable than the hapless humans around it. As a result, we are perhaps unable to see how incredibly limited today's crop of robots are (even though they are vast improvements over the even less capable machines of yesteryear.)

    At any rate, I think this thread has reached the point of diminishing returns. Nobody has changed their previous opinions, and nobody seems likely to, so we're all now just re-iterating our thoughts and beliefs on the subject. Humanity does spend a lot of time doing that, but it's not particularly constructive time, so I think I'll go do something else.

    -Gnobuddy

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    People who want to indulge in sci-fi fantasies are going to indulge in sci-fi fantasies. It's what they do.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnobuddy View Post
    I think you have to have awareness to be focused. Without awareness, self-driving cars can have no focus.

    There can be no distractions, either - that also requires focus.
    Semantics. This statement is designed specifically to be contrary without qualifying itself. Humans don't follow programs when they drive and computers don't have to focus when they drive. So, when discussing an analog between the two the words "focus" and "program" are usefully close in meaning as they apply to humans and computers respectively. Please don't confound debates or premise your position with trite nitpicking like this. It dilutes the quality of your arguments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Semantics. This statement is designed specifically to be contrary without qualifying itself.
    Absolutely not. Enzo used the word focus, I pointed out that you cannot have focus without awareness. What's the beef with that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Humans don't follow programs when they drive
    We don't follow line-by-line instructions like a computer, but we do have patterns of neural connections that we've created as we were taught to drive, and strengthened as we continued to drive. Our brains mostly follow those pre-wired "programs", which is why an experienced driver can drive almost without mental effort - until some sort of unexpected situation comes up. We may be chatting with our passengers as we drive, but when we see the orange cones and the waving warning flag up ahead, or a string of red tail-lights, or a tractor-trailor big rig wiggling from side to side on the brink of jack-knifing, we stop talking and put more thought into the driving process.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Please don't confound debates or premise your position with trite nitpicking like this. It dilutes the quality of your arguments.
    I'm sorry you see it that way; I don't. My point all along has been that self-driving cars are too STUPID for any human analogy to apply to them. That includes the concept of "focus". And that's what I said in my post.

    -Gnobuddy

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnobuddy View Post
    Absolutely not. Enzo used the word focus, I pointed out that you cannot have focus without awareness. What's the beef with that?
    My beef is that Enzo used it (appropriately) as an analogy to indicate that computers are not distracted. Calling him out on the specifics of the word borders on being a grammar douche. But to play it your way, computers don't focus because they aren't capable of distraction. In fact your outline of the word clearly illustrates that humans focus because they must in order to achieve. Awareness being the only reason for the NEED to focus. Ergo, no awareness, no focus. And you based a long post on this to point out that computers/cockroaches are dumb. Even your comparison between computers and cockroaches is obtuse to the issue because you can't program a cockroach. Suggesting that computers can't drive because they're not as smart as people is also obtuse. Your arguments of stupidity, cockroaches and the superior human intellect would then imply that humans must be better at everything than computers and computers aren't better at anything than cockroaches. I think you see where this is going. Then again, maybe not, since you were unable to process Enzo's appropriate analogy using the word "focus" to indicate a computers inability to be distracted when the previous sentence clearly prefaced that the word was an analogy.

    The roads and traffic laws are designed around humans driving cars. There's a lot to account for there. I don't know if driverless cars are possible. But if not, it won't be because cockroaches can't drive. It's not even because computers aren't aware or lack processor power. It'll be because an appropriate program can't be created by people trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    You guys are starting to sound like me and Enzo, lol. For once, I can be glad that it's someone else.

    FWIW, I agree with both of you. Semantics and analogies tend to be a necessary component of a discussion like this when you attempt to use personnification to attribute decisive qualities to non-people. Suffiice it to say that I don't think either one of you is wrong.

    FWIW, I also think that it is possible for computers to lose focus and become distracted. In bit nerd parlance it's called a wait-state. In the worst case scenario, you get a lockup. Hopefully your SDC will never display the Blue Screen of Death immediately before it drives you into oncoming traffic because it's waiting for an image update to come from the mud-covered optical sensor...



    On the subject of not being able to program a cockroach, what many people refer to as "programming" does occur in animals. In animals "programming" is achieved through a combination of classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Pavlov showed us a long time ago that you can program a dog to salivate by ringing a bell (classical), just like you can program a person to step on the brake when they see a brake light ahead of them (operant), typically acting first and doing the conscious decision making after the initial reflex takes place.

    What's odd about this is that neither one of you like the idea of SDC. You have the same outlook, but you're disputing one another anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Your arguments ... then imply that humans must be better at everything than computers
    Computers can add, subtract, and store numbers a lot faster than people can. That's the one thing they do better than people, and billions of times faster.

    So, given appropriate programming, computers can be better than humans at a task that requires only addition, subtraction, and storage of numbers.

    People have managed to program computers to add, subtract, and store numbers in ways that are useful to us - to represent letters on a screen, to calculate our pay check, to simulate the atmospheric conditions over North America on a given day, to calculate the airflow around a rocket in flight. The computer adds, subtracts, and stores numbers; the intelligence always came from humans, never from the stupid computers.

    One of the still unsolved problems in AI is recognizing, for example, one bolt in a tray full of identical bolts. A three year old human child can be taught to do this, and so can a chimpanzee, or a dog. But computers, crunching (literally) billions of numbers per second, are absolutely terrible at this task.

    The child, dog, or chimp has the ability to understand that one bolt is one "thing", and a pile of them is a collection of many similar "things". Cockroach-stupid computers, so far, are incapable of doing this. So are real cockroaches. The task requires a level of intelligence beyond what a cockroach - or a computer - has.

    A computer doesn't know what a bolt is. It doesn't know what a road is. It doesn't know what a car is. It doesn't know what life is. It doesn't know what death is. It has no clue what pain means, or ethics, or responsibility. Why are we even considering putting such a thing in charge of a deadly weapon (a moving vehicle with enough mass and velocity to kill)?

    Semi-autonomous cars will surely happen. Cruise control? It's been here for decades. Traction control? Most of today's supercars would be undriveable without it. Cruise control with safe-distance following? It'll probably work much of the time, but will probably fail now and then (like Tesla, the white truck, and the bright sky). Cruise control with lane-following? Ditto; there are times when human intelligence can barely tell where the lane edges are (after a snowfall, for example), and the cockroach-car certainly won't do any better.

    But the supposed fully autonomous car that will drive you safely through urban streets and residential neighbourhoods while you play "flappy bird" on your shiny overpriced fondle-slab-phone-thing? I think that's a ridiculous, unrealistic dream that won't be coming true any time in the near future.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    ...and computers aren't better at anything than cockroaches.
    I never said "anything"; computers certainly add and subtract numbers faster than cockroaches, though they have no more awareness of what they're doing than the cockroach does.

    Let's look at this self-driving-car thing one more time, from a slightly different perspective. Of all the routine human activities that large numbers of people participate in daily, driving is the one that carries the most risk to other people, and other people's property. As far as society at large is concerned, driving is probably the single largest ethical and legal responsibility that most people carry. A car is a lethal weapon, and if you do not operate it according to society's rules, you can be charged with use of a deadly weapon.

    This is why we don't let children drive (and they are a hundred thousand times smarter than a self-driving car). We don't let people with lowered mental acuity drive. We don't let people drive if their ability to function is impaired due to alcohol, or various diseases, or various medical drugs. We don't let trained chimpanzees drive (and studies have suggested they are better drivers than humans, with faster reflexes and better eyesight.)

    So why are we even considering handing over such a loaded and complex responsibility to something with the intelligence of a cockroach? On the face of it, it makes no sense at all.

    As to the supposed intelligence of computers (and with no intention of malice towards you at all), I've gotta ask: I wonder if you've ever written a computer program, Chuck? If not, you may not be aware just how incredibly stupid computers actually are. The art of computer programming mostly consists of learning how to make a very fast - but incredibly stupid - tool actually accomplish anything useful.

    Anyhew - as I said before, I think the goodness has gone out of this thread, and I'm certainly not here to stir up anger or annoyance, so I'd rather divert my energy to other, more positive, threads.

    Have a nice day, everyone (and you particularly, Chuck!) And I mean that quite sincerely!

    -Gnobuddy

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    I've been following this thread for a while, but being painfully slow at typing I haven't weighed in. I think the important question outside of whether the technology is capable, is who asked for self-driving cars in the first place? It seems to have been forced on us by the 'tech' companies while our governments have stood aside and allowed this to move closer and closer to to becoming a certainty. Contrary to what some might have us believe, it IS the role of governments to regulate industry and to keep citizens safe. Governments have been shown to be far too late to respond to technological change in vehicle safety. As an example, cell phone use while driving was allowed to become an ingrained habit long before laws prohibiting it were passed, and still there is so little attention paid to distracted driving of this sort which is in reality a far bigger problem than impaired driving. Why are you allowed to put a GPS display in the middle of your windshield? And of course all the new cars have giant touch screens in the middle of the dashboard, so that instead of reaching over to turn down the heat, you now have to take your eyes off the road and focus on a screen. This could have been stopped before it started, but for the manufacturers it is cheaper to produce, and provides another flashy geegaw to boost sales.

    Self-driving cars are being pushed on us under the guise of being safer. Whether or not they are is yet to be determined, but there are any number of other ways that we could make roads safer without committing ourselves to this route. I have definitely noticed that driving standards have declined steadily in recent years. In addition to problems like texting while driving, new cars (and pickups especially) have been getting bigger and bigger and more powerful, while simultaneously having worse and worse outward visibility. Maybe the key to safer roads lies not in self-driving cars, but in better cars, better driver training and testing, and most of all fewer cars. Instead of investing all this money in self-driving car technology, we could be improving public transport and creating incentives to put freight transport back on the railways where it belongs.

    I'm curious to see where all this leads, but I suspect we will have very little say in the matter. I have no doubt that self driving cars can work, but like many of you I am not convinced that they can work in concert with human-driven vehicles, and it seems to be heading in the direction of humans eventually being pushed out. As for myself I like driving and consider myself to be quite good at it. I grew up as a car nut, but the cars and trucks that interest me are getting older and older. I can't think of a single new vehicle in the last ten years that I'd want anything to do with. As we have seen, if people are offered bad choices they tend to go for them, so unless we demand better choices were kind of stuck.

    What any of that has to do with not being able to see black, I don't know. I just think we might need to ask different questions.

    Andy

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  31. #101
    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    So far they haven't discussed requiring us to get them. Many people WANT them. If you count the number of people driving their cars today who are looking at their phones or even reading a book or newspaper sitting on their steering wheel, I'd see plenty of potential buyers.

    I think the intent of the industry - and by intent I mean where they think the market will go - is that the idea of car ownership and driving everywhere will change. Millennials are not interested in owning cars already. I think they foresee a grand Uber-like thing going on, where pools of cars will arrive by summoning them, and take you to your destination and leave you there. Or people sharing ownership. people pay for their car by use rather than full ownership.

    Without going all through it again, I just don't buy the roach comparison. As to the bolts in a tray, computer controlled robots routinely pick out bolts from random bulk stock in assembly machines. In all this AI and related stuff, something that was a problem a year ago is past history now. Even if AI doesn;t learn well, the people creating it do.

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  32. #102
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Bloomfield, I'm wrinkling up an extra foil hat for you (I'm already wearing mine).

    Yes the self driving cars are an inevitability. That's if it comes to pass before we exterminate ourselves in some other way. Of course we won't have humans and computers driving on the same lanes like we are attempting now!!! It's pretty clear THAT isn't working out. How long it takes the people involved in the creative process to recognize this is the only holdup to forward progress. People do what people do. Computers do what computers do. People use computers for what they do. Attempting to integrate them in an AI capacity WRT an activity with safety caveats is a good source for grants, but probably not the answer. In the end I predict the solutions will involve some separation between humans and computers rather than integration. Though integration seems to be the focus of many new technologies. The bottom line is that you can't take a system that has evolved for over a hundred years in a uniquely human way for human use and arbitrarily apply a peripheral human development from the last twenty years to it. Both systems need to be integrated with each other.

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    Jeez I didn't mean to sound all tinfoil or anything. You're right though, a lot depends on how the two are integrated, and that depends on a lot of things that aren't related to computer engineering; things like urban planning, highway engineering, etc. that are all a part of the equation that maybe aren't all being thought of together. Certainly on major highways you could have that separation, but in rural and remote areas there will necessarily be interaction between the two. Of course there is likely less traffic involved.

    I like the idea of this robot that can sort out bins of random hardware; I could go for that. Does it do resistors? A friend gave me a big box recently. I spent a couple hours and made a dent. If anyone needs 12M, 15M and 18M 2W, you know where to look. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope,

    Andy

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  34. #104
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Great post, Andy.

    I'll preface what I have to say by paraphrasing Jay Leno: "Cars have changed more between 1994 and today than they changed between 1914 and 1994."

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloomfield View Post
    I've been following this thread for a while, but being painfully slow at typing I haven't weighed in. I think the important question outside of whether the technology is capable, is who asked for self-driving cars in the first place? It seems to have been forced on us by the 'tech' companies while our governments have stood aside and allowed this to move closer and closer to to becoming a certainty.
    I have a friend who's been working at one of the major tech companies that's working on SDC, ever since that company was a start-up. The reason for the push for SDC by the tech industry is simple -- greed. They see the automobile market as their next area for growth, and they want in on it. It's not enough for them to sell you the parts in your computer. Now they have their target set on selling you the hardware and software that goes into every part of your life: your PC, your phone, your refrigerator, your thermostat, your watch and your car.

    The CPU companies figured out a long time ago that the race for processor speed according to Moore's law was a dead end. Why? Because faster clock speeds require higher voltage, and power requirements go up with the square of the voltage. Every incremental increase in voltage resulted in a squared increase in power.
    Computers were getting so fast that the thermal design profile was becoming the problem. Heat put an effective limit on how fast a PC could become. So instead of working on clock speed, CPU manufacturers started working on multi-core processors.

    The PC isn't particularly a growth industry any more. Everyone in Silicon Valley knows that. That's why companies like nVidia have spent so much R&D on low voltage, low power processor development over the past 10 years. They saw the light that there was no real future in high end graphics computing for PC gaming, so they diversified into low-voltage GUI chips, and targeted the automotive industry and machine learning.

    Why did the automotive industry become interested in high-tech solutions for simple HVAC knobs and sliders? Because the tech companies offered them integrated systems that eliminiated some of their major liabilities. Like the keyless ignition that's radio controlled. Ever wonder why keys got eliminated and all cars have keyless ignitions now? It was because of the wrongful death lawsuits related to failing ignition switches. Instead of making the ignition switches safer (which was impossible becuase of the wad of keys that people would hang off of them) the industry just decided to get rid of them altogether. Now you have the keyless ignition.

    Once the chip companies got the car makers to agree to use their chips, it was only a matter of time until cars received ridiculous GUI displays. It used to be that you could change the channel on your radio, or adjust the heat by feeling a knob or a slider without ever taking your eyes off of the road. You can't do that anymore. Now everything has to be done via a computer interface.

    For people like you and me this isn't good. We have to be inattentive to the road in order to serve the needs of a GUI display just to adjust the heat or the radio, at a time when it's illegal to have a TV screen in the front seat of your car. To me it makes no sense that the car would be allowed to have a GUI when a TV screen is illegal.

    To answer the question of why we have all of this computerized crap in cars today -- it's because the electronics companies can make money -- lots of money -- by selling a solution to the automakers that lowers the liability of building their products. The electronics people got their foot in the door with the electronic ignition and electronic computer engine monitoring, Very soon you'll see door mounted mirrors do the way of the dodo. They'll be replaced with cameras and TV screens because eliminating the mirrors will add 0.1 MPG to the vehicle's fuel efficiency (nvidia statistic). Me? I'd rather have a rear view mirror than an expensive video system that's going to break and require an expensive repair. I don't want any of this stuff. That's why I drive old cars.

    Contrary to what some might have us believe, it IS the role of governments to regulate industry and to keep citizens safe. Governments have been shown to be far too late to respond to technological change in vehicle safety. As an example, cell phone use while driving was allowed to become an ingrained habit long before laws prohibiting it were passed, and still there is so little attention paid to distracted driving of this sort which is in reality a far bigger problem than impaired driving.
    I have to admit, I don't understand why we pass ineffective laws that tell people not to text and drive, without any means of enforcement. Instead of passing a law that we know will be ignored, why don't we mandate that auto manufacturers build short-range cell phone jammers into their cars so that any cell phone signal within the car is jammed when the transmission is engaged? If we're at that point where we're willing to turn authority for our lives over to car-based computers, then why not let the car-based computer enforce the no-texting laws?

    I guess that's never going to happen -- Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile would have a shit fit.


    Self-driving cars are being pushed on us under the guise of being safer. Whether or not they are is yet to be determined, but there are any number of other ways that we could make roads safer without committing ourselves to this route.
    It amazes me that people are so willing to accept them, based solely upon the faith that someday people will be able to make them work the way that people today imagine they should be able to work. I find blind faith to be dangerous.

    It was raining tonight when I came home from shopping today. My tin foil hat doesn't keep me very warm when it's snowing and cold, but it sure works GREAT when it's warm and raining.

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    Last edited by bob p; 03-01-2018 at 04:55 AM.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

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  35. #105
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    Millennials are not interested in owning cars already. I think they foresee a grand Uber-like thing going on, where pools of cars will arrive by summoning them, and take you to your destination and leave you there. Or people sharing ownership. people pay for their car by use rather than full ownership.
    Tin foil hat rant:

    Millennials are an interesting crowd.

    They've been brainwashed in school that they should not worry about being competitive, and they should not worry about learning a valuable skill that will result in a high-paying job. Instead, they've been led to believe that they should do whatever they enjoy doing in life, and not worry about money, because that will take care of itself. That's a horrible lie. Unfortunately it's going to adversely effect the life of anyone who believes it.

    They've been raised to value experiences, rather than physical goods, at a time when the standard of living in America is in a continuous gradual decline. They don't want to own homes, which is good because they can't afford them. They don't want to own material possessions, which is also good, because their standard of living will be lower than that of the generation that preceded them. And they don't want cars either. Again, that's good, because they won't be able to afford outright ownership. Cars are becoming so expensive that partial ownership and ride sharing is likely to be their only option.

    The good news, I guess, is that since they've been trained from childhood not to want these things, they won't miss those things that they'll never be able to have.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

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