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Thread: Self-Driving Cars Can't See Black

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Self-Driving Cars Can't See Black

    I just caught something on Bloomberg TV -- they were staying that the people who are designing self-driving cars are having problems with the sensors on those cars failing to accurately identify cars that are painted with black paint.

    This reminds me of a recent thread in which someone commented that self-driving cars had trouble differentiating trees from roadways, and they ended up driving off of the roads into trees. The common element seems to be trouble with optical sensors accurately recognizing dark objects.

    The proposed solution is to require changes to the dark paint that is used in non-self-driving cars, so that self-driving cars are able to accurately recognize them. A researcher at PPG decided that the solution was to use a solution that somehow comes from the eggplant -- using a translucent color top coat of paint and a reflective metallic base coat underneath, to make the non-self-driving car more visible to the self-driving car.

    What a strange idea. Instead of requiring the people who are making self-driving cars to assume the responsibility on their own to make their product work safely, the solution being suggested by the paint people is to require changes to the paint formulations for everyone else, to make it easy for the self driving cars. If the guy at PPG has his way, black cars aren't going to be made out of primer, black paint and a clear coat any more. The new paradigm will require a candy-apple type of paint job, with a primer, a metallic base, a translucent color coat, and a clear coat on top. Everyone who knows cars knows that kind of finish costs more.

    Somehow I get the impression that we're all going to end up paying in some way to finance the self-driving car thing, even if we don't want to be part of it.

    Sorry, no link. Bloomberg TV says to check Bloomberg magazine.

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    don't forget the joker g1's Avatar
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    This will only be while the transition is being made. Don't kid yourself about a world where there are both self-driving and non self-driving vehicles.

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    Senior Member nevetslab's Avatar
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    I wonder how the optics deal with dirty cars?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevetslab View Post
    I wonder how the optics deal with dirty cars?
    Yea the one thing the engineers won't think of. Leave it to the techs to figure out the real world issues.



    nosaj

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by g1 View Post
    This will only be while the transition is being made. Don't kid yourself about a world where there are both self-driving and non self-driving vehicles.
    Said by the guy who still drives carbureted vehicles!

    I don't see it happening in my lifetime. Afterwards? I don't really care.

    Expecting that everyone will adopt self-driving cars isn't a logical expectation. Sure, there will be a large number of people will just do what they're told to do in exchange for their entitlement check, but the enthusiast demographic views things entirely differently. There are people who like to drive for the fun of it, and they aren't going to be interested in giving up their driving privileges or their Camaro, Corvette or 4x4 pickup in exchange for a ride in a Johnny Cab.



    I particularly liked that segment where Arnold got pissed off at the computerized car and ripped the Johnny out of the Cab... and when the cab decided to try to run over Arnold for not paying.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Learning to drive and gaining independence is part of growing up in America. I hate to think about a time when kids no longer look forward to getting their drivers' license as a rite of passage and as a symbol of growing up. Somehow, replacing cars with autonomous vehicles seems like we're sacrificing part of American culture. Why is this being pushed on us?

    I don't see an exclusive transition happening any time soon. Driving is too much a part of American culture and I don't see people willingly giving it up. For it to happen, people will have to have choice taken away from them.

    Even if autonomous cars become popular, there will still be vintage, antique, and classic cars that get driven on the roadways. Some are garage queens, for sure, but a small number of them do get driven as daily drivers. That may not make sense to some people, but it makes sense to guys who are tired of seeing the price for a new car go up and up and up to absurd levels. Eventually the price of a new car rises to the point that some people consider whether they'd rather spend $30,000 on a classic car and drive it into the ground as a daily driver, or make payments on a $30,000 on a 2018 Honda Accord EX-L. Personally, I'd rather have a lot more fun driving the classic car instead of being just another guy driving around in an Accord or a Minivan, but that's just me.

    The idea that "this will be only while the transition is being made" doesn't make sense to me. People still ride horses on roadways. People still like their 1950 Mercs. Around here people drive golf carts on the streets in the summertime. The local young Hispianic enthusiasts like to cruise the neighborhood streets in little Civics with tiny wide wheels, while the local older Hispanic guys like bigger cars like classic Impalas. And the local Black guys like taking huge old 1970-80s cars to build customized "cribs" that don't look anything like new cars, and they drive them everywhere they go. Some of those cars are 50 years old and are being restored and customized as daily drivers.

    Car guys like their cars. They customize them to fit their personalities. They view them as an expression of their individuality, and many of them aren't going to be willing to be homogenized into owning a Google self-driving car. To take away their car keys you'll have to pry them from their cold dead fingers. They won't be buying Google cars and they won't be painting their cars in the special color that's required to make them more recognizable to self-driving cars. To avoid vehicles on the road, self-driving cars need to be designed to recognize whatever is on the street, without assuming that the entire world is going to get repainted to satisfy the needs of autonomous car designers who can't make things work on their own.

    This brings up the question -- why is there this sudden big push for self driving cars? Who really wants them, and why are all of the car manufacturers suddenly spending lots of money on self-driving cars?

    There's no question that the tech companies are just trying to push tech that they can force into the auto industry to bring them profits. And there's no question that the auto companies would like to cut costs on cars by eliminating the driving interface and the dashboard, which are expensive parts of a car's cost. And there's no doubt that the Big 3 are having trouble meeting the new 2017 EPA Cafe standards, which has prompted a major re-think of car designs in Detroit.

    I can see that it's about making the new cars cheaper to produce, and decreasing weight by eliminating parts to comply with the more rigorous CAFE standards. But are people going to be eager to buy them? I'm not so sure. The car culture is pretty strong in America. I think it's going to take generations of brainwashing to breed the love of cars out of people before autonomous cars will become universally accepted. Only then will we have universal acceptance of self-driving cars as the exclusive means of transportation. I think that the only people who will accept that paradigm are the people who have never known anything else, and don't know what they're missing. I don't see that happening in my lifetime.

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    Learning to drive and gaining independence is part of growing up in America.
    My wife and I have seen the film 'American Graffiti' on TV a couple time in recent months. Yep, we sure loved our cars... what, about 50 years ago? You're showing our age, Bob

    My kids, in love with cars, not so much. A car is nice to have, but it represents responsibility and regulation now more than freedom or individuality. Give me good public transportation any day.* Maybe the self-driving cars are seen as a stepping stone to (or integrated with) clean, efficient mass transit. Now that's a picture of the future that's been around for decades!



    * like someplace like, um... Chicago!

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    We can always find exceptions. We can read about a guy who rode a circus elephant down teh freeway, at least until they stop him. But those are not descriptive of the real world, just odd stories.

    here in Michigan there is serious concern over the ability for these things to even see the lanes. Roads are often snow covered. I often, especially when I lived in rural Michigan, could only tell where my road was by the mailboxes and stuff on the sides. During bad condition, the two lanes of the interstate are often reduced to one pair of tire tracks down the center. These cars need to be able to figure that crap out.

    The tree thing is a fun story, but is hardly the case today.

    I don't like the self driving car thing myself. They scare me. But the idea behind them is they foresee people owning fewer cars. Instead of buying, maintaining, and insuring a car, these things will be around like an automatic Uber. Groups of people could own one and share it too. Think of them as a "people mover" without a fixed route.

    I doubt they will be available to you and me very soon. They want to sell them in fleets.

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    There was an urban legend back when cruise control came out that a guy driving a van set the cruise, got up, and went to the back to make a sandwich or something- thinking the car would drive itself. I have no idea if it's actually true or not, but it wouldn't surprise me and I always thought it was a funny story. Probably not so funny for the rest of the drivers on that road (if true).

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    There is a series of books, starting with the "Vanishing Hitchhiker" by Jan Herald Brunvand. Collections of urban myths. FUll of fun stories like that.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    There was an urban legend back when cruise control came out that a guy driving a van set the cruise, got up, and went to the back to make a sandwich or something- thinking the car would drive itself. I have no idea if it's actually true or not, but it wouldn't surprise me and I always thought it was a funny story. Probably not so funny for the rest of the drivers on that road (if true).
    That reminds me of a joke...

    When I pass on I hope to go like my grandfather. Peacefully in his sleep and not screaming in terror like his passengers.

    And I love those sorts of books Enzo. I'll be looking that up on my Kindle tonight

    The first thing I thought when I saw the thread title was "Robotic cars can be racist?"

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    don't forget the joker g1's Avatar
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    Bob, your age is showing. Was wearing onions on your belt the style at the time? (just kidding, obscure Simpsons reference)
    I hope you don't think what I believe is the way things are is the same as how I would like them to be.
    I'm also big on car culture, but I think that the choice you allude to has already been made. The younger drivers have made the choice and they don't care if they lose the ability to drive as long as they can keep their tech (smart phones, onboard video etc.). We can't have both as it's too dangerous as is borne out by the statistics.
    You think people don't want to give up car culture, I think they already have. The generation that will miss it (us) is almost gone.
    The word 'driving' in an automotive sense will someday sound as quaint as 'horseless carriage'. Maybe not as soon as I think, but it seems inevitable. I'm not saying enthusiasts won't be able to keep their cars, they just won't be allowed on the automated roadways, like horses are not allowed on highways.

    P.S. They don't even have to outlaw anything, they can just raise the insurance to the point everyone quits using them.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I liked the books. Brunvand wrote the Vanishing Hitchiker, The Choking Doberman, and The Mexican Pet. I know he wrote others. There are other urban legend books of course. And the snopes.com web site watches for people who believe them.

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    I have friends who are 'car guys'. Some have vintage autos, some have not-yet-historical but buffed-up rods. Most enjoy the time for cruising, or shows, or amateur night at the local drag strip. All of these activities represent why we like cars. Nobody says "Hey, let's jump in the car and go sit in traffic for the next two hours!". But with the congestion on our roads (US population as a whole has more than doubled since 1950, more in the cities) driving just doesn't have the appeal now as before. Less fresh air and more road rage.

    Even in the future, people will own antique cars for the same reason people own antique anything. For the joy in possession, and the opportunity to occasionally exercise their use.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    "My" car (everyone had one) was a 1970 Firebird. First year F body with the Ram Air hood and the Ram Air III Formula 400 ci engine. 411 gears and a Hurst shifter. All I did was install an Edelbrock high rise manifold with a Holly 4 barrel on top, some headers and a cheater cam. You couldn't beat me dragging. No way.

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    Do young people "cruise" on Friday and Saturday nights where you live? They don't here. Too busy tweeting, texting and gaming I guess.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I think car culture is fading. i think it is a matter of what you looked up to as a kid. Now days kids hang out on their phones. Used to be there was not much else to do but gather somewhere. SO saturday night, cruise downtown, gather at the drive-in burger joint. My generation thinks a 57 Chevy is a real cool car. Stock, or drop a crate motor in it, whatever. Our kids think an Olds 442 is a cool car. Is there any car that is cool from our recent turn of the century?

    We'd gather at a diner or "malt shop" for a double date. Now kids go out together, sit in some place all four staring at their phones. I don;t see parking lots full of cars with kids hanging around them now, haven't for many years. Our area had several drive-in restaurants, but they have all faded or closed.

    I've watched the juke box thing fade away. My generation saw juke boxes at places we hung out at. When we grew up, we got a juke box for the basement. A zillion GM workers here in this area had tons of spare money, and I swear half of them went out, built a four stool wet bar in the basement, got a pool table, a juke box, and a pinball machine. A new song came out, you got it on a 45, stuck it in your juke. Now any jukeboxes in restaurants or bars are all internet connected so you can chose from thousands of tunes. Kids all have an ipod or something anyway. Most places just have a sattelite radio any more. I used to make a living servicing those home entertainment things, the jukes faded away. Homes now have dad's PacMan stand up arcade video game. The kids are not interested. My friends who bought and sold jukes gave up.

    Kids today don't get cars to go cruising or to show off.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    When I pass on I hope to go like my grandfather. Peacefully in his sleep and not screaming in terror like his passengers.
    I laughed like hell at that one, Chuck. I'm wiping coffee off of my monitor now, thanks.

    The reason I thought it was so funny is because I had that happen to me once. I was riding home from the airport after taking the red-eye, coming home in one of those short-bus airport "limousines". We're heading down the interstate in the middle of the night and the driver naps off... and the bus starts gradually edging off of the road onto the shoulder. A couple of people started screaming at him... no response. I was right behind him, so I got up and smacked him on the back of the head. Problem solved.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eschertron View Post
    Even in the future, people will own antique cars for the same reason people own antique anything. For the joy in possession, and the opportunity to occasionally exercise their use.
    When it comes to the car culture, cars are like tube amps.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmartn149 View Post
    Do young people "cruise" on Friday and Saturday nights where you live? They don't here. Too busy tweeting, texting and gaming I guess.
    When I was young cruising was still cool. All the video game arcades closed up at 9:00 or 10:00. We'd even rev motors and drag off the red at intersections. The cops were pretty good about it even though it was was a main street in a suburban shopping district. Good times. Even then there were newer, hip cars with loud sound systems and faux air foils and such. If you had a muscle car (like mine) you were a nerd/motor head.

    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    When it comes to the car culture, cars are like tube amps.
    That's always been my perception too. Of course this evolution has been in progress since Enzo's days as he outlined above. My family had a jukebox because my dad was a tinkerer and liked fixing mechanized things. So he bought a broken one just to fix it. When he was done we took out the 45's we didn't like and replaced them with ones we did. Lot's of fun trips to Tower Records. I was a 70's kid and I really think I got the best of mine and the era's fore and aft. Sometimes I felt progressive and other times I felt like the last of a generation before my time. But it was great.

    Self driving cars? That wouldn't have been any fun at all. That's probably why someone is working on the technology. Another way to take something fun away from the sheeple and turn us all into automatons

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    I think car culture is fading... Is there any car that is cool from our recent turn of the century?
    you've hit the nail on the head, Enzo. Car culture is fading, because there aren't many cool cars any more. Why? Because instead of building cars that people like, the Big 3 are building cars that the government likes.

    Our Federal Government has mandated what kind of cars have to be manufactured, with things like safety standards and fuel economy standards. Gone are those days when you could be riding in the front seat of the wagon as a kid, and when Dad had to hit the brakes he'd stick his right arm out to keep you in the seat. Now the cars have airbags and the kids have to be buckled down in the back seat of the minivan or Dad goes to jail. And cars aren't easy to service any more. Instead of tuning a carb, now there's a computer interface that controls fuel injection, and the days of a kid getting an old junker to hot rod it are fading fast. And the cars that are available just aren't cool any more, so nobody even wants to spend the time hot rodding them. Now cars are designed for the collective good of society rather than the individual good of the owner. As a result there is just no reason to love a car like the ones they're putting out now:

    2018 Smart Fortwo


    And this is what we have to look forward to:

    Google Self-Driving Car



    The reason that car culture is dying is because the government is controlling what kind of cars can be manufactured, and those controls/mandates have rendered affordable cars undesirable and desirable cars unaffordable; if you want a fugly econobox, you can have any car that you like. If you want a full size Suburban, it'll cost you $70,000 now. Not kidding. If Chuck wants a real musclecar, he'll have to pay $70,000 for a Dodge Hellcat. Not kidding about that either.


    Dodge Hellcat: $70,000 for 700 HP


    Why are the prices so damned high? Is it a coincidence that those two cars both cost $70,000?

    It's the CAFE Standards. It's not that a Suburban costs $70,000 to build now -- it's that GM has to price the Suburban so that few people will buy them, so that they can meet the fleet fuel economy standards set by the Feds. Big cars are being legislated out of the market by making them unaffordable by the common man. It's not so much that car culture is dying. It'd be more accurate to say that it's being killed off through legislation.
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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Self driving cars? That wouldn't have been any fun at all. That's probably why someone is working on the technology. Another way to take something fun away from the sheeple and turn us all into automatons
    I blame those evil fuck billionaires at google. They're out to subjugate the world.

    Of course I'm kidding... or am I? Have you heard about some of the mandatory employee training that they push on people at Google? They're out to brainwash the world.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    I blame those evil fuck billionaires at google. They're out to subjugate the world.

    Of course I'm kidding... or am I? Have you heard about some of the mandatory employee training that they push on people at Google? They're out to brainwash the world.
    Driving their smart cars around with that smug look of green planet superiority on their pasty faces

    It's just how it's going down, man. And it's not all bad. In fact most of it is for the best. We can certainly crab about it because we miss familiarity. We'll never fully acclimate like the current generation and that leaves us behind. Worse than because we're disagreed with, we're utterly unconsidered like we don't matter. In that light you have to keep up or get run over.

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    "I'm just going to perform a bit more scientific investigation, turn it up to 11 and rip of the knob." überfuzz

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    It's unfortunate, but when people amass too much wealth they insist on trying to change the world, and they punish people who don't agree with them. Google isn't an exception. Check this out -- I found it when it appeared as one of those irritating youtube ads that gets in the way of watching videos.


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    Last edited by bob p; 01-20-2018 at 02:35 PM.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    It's unfortunate, but when people amass too much wealth they insist on trying to change the world, and they punish people who don't agree with them. Google isn't an exception.
    Well, how else is the world going to change? What worked before is now recognized to be killing the planet. And while I think that modern gender issue perception is utterly foolish I don't expect everyone to agree. And I don't have the power to change anything, but *oogle does. If 80% of what *oogle promotes is good, that's good. I don't expect panacea from circumstance, just something I can work with going in the generally correct direction. In the 20's and 30's if you didn't smoke and drink like a fiend you couldn't get a job in business. A different power and it influenced to the best of it's ability the direction of cultural trends. The world of people is going to change. It always had. It's never been perfect because people are imperfect. *oogle isn't responsible for evil, they are just a part of where we're collectively going. That doesn't mean that anyone should ever stop trying to idealize and make whatever is wrong better. Of course we should. If we didn't every *oogle mogul would be drinking a scotch, smoking a cigarette and blathering some racist, sexist opinions to his receptive co workers. In other words, good on James Damore for making a noise about injustice as he see's it. It's important and should be done. But I don't see it as a revelation and I'm not ready to stand on the corner with a cardboard sign that say's "*oogle is mind control".

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    "I'm just going to perform a bit more scientific investigation, turn it up to 11 and rip of the knob." überfuzz

    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "If you build it, it will hum..." Justin Thomas

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Well, how else is the world going to change? What worked before is now recognized to be killing the planet. And while I think that modern gender issue perception is utterly foolish I don't expect everyone to agree. And I don't have the power to change anything, but *oogle does. If 80% of what *oogle promotes is good, that's good. I don't expect panacea from circumstance, just something I can work with going in the generally correct direction. In the 20's and 30's if you didn't smoke and drink like a fiend you couldn't get a job in business. A different power and it influenced to the best of it's ability the direction of cultural trends. The world of people is going to change. It always had. It's never been perfect because people are imperfect. *oogle isn't responsible for evil, they are just a part of where we're collectively going. That doesn't mean that anyone should ever stop trying to idealize and make whatever is wrong better. Of course we should. If we didn't every *oogle mogul would be drinking a scotch, smoking a cigarette and blathering some racist, sexist opinions to his receptive co workers. In other words, good on James Damore for making a noise about injustice as he see's it. It's important and should be done. But I don't see it as a revelation and I'm not ready to stand on the corner with a cardboard sign that say's "*oogle is mind control".
    What's the matter the tin foil hat doesn't go with your ward robe? just joshin here.

    nosaj

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  28. #28
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    But I don't see it as a revelation and I'm not ready to stand on the corner with a cardboard sign that say's "*oogle is mind control".
    I'm not going to stand out on the streetcorner either. It's friggin' cold here in Chicago and the tin foil hat just can't keep my ears warm.

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

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

  29. #29
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    What's the matter the tin foil hat doesn't go with your ward robe? just joshin here.

    nosaj
    Oh, I'm a nutty conspiracy believer to be sure. I just don't see it in *oogle any more than I see it in pop music or fashion. It's just part of where we're going, for now. Erasing gender bias, even WRT the invented genders, on some levels is a good thing. But, as stated by Mr. Damore, it's probably better done via recognition of differences rather than saying we're all the same. Didn't we learn anything trying to do that with racism!?! It's just more square pegs in round holes. Wait a minute!.. Huh?..

    It just occurred to me that there may be a cultural control mechanism used by the top 1% that racism was facilitating and that since racism is diminishing this new issue of gender roles and bias may be a culturally planted replacement to maintain power!

    Ok, I'm putting the tin foil hat back on.

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    "I'm just going to perform a bit more scientific investigation, turn it up to 11 and rip of the knob." überfuzz

    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "If you build it, it will hum..." Justin Thomas

  30. #30
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    As others have said I will not ride in a self-driving vehicle unless there is a steering wheel and brake pedal that I can use if the computer screws up. And yes, I do wear both a belt and suspenders.

    In answer to the question of why self-driving vehicles are being pushed on the public they will eventually reduce vehicle accidents, injuries and deaths, making it much safer to be on the roadways.

    For visual lane marking I think that a standardized thermoplastic striping could be used to simplify detection by the self-driving computers. Perhaps something could be added to allow it to be detected by non-visual methods to reduce problems due to poor visibility. Thermoplastic striping has an expected life of 3 to 6 years so it would need to be reapplied regularly.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road...#Thermoplastic


    Here is a paragraph I just deleted for reasons listed below the quote:

    However there are many changes to the roadways which will be required. Traditional lane markers will not work. I think that all asphalt roads should have markers embedded in the pavement, perhaps every 12 feet for straight stretches and every 6 feet for curves. I have no idea what material could be used that would require no power but could be accurately detected by the self-driving car. Hey, we could use spent uranium rods from reactors instead of burying them in Nevada! Just kidding...
    I just deleted that because once "geo" markers are inserted into asphalt it could be difficult to remove them if the lanes were changed. I had initially thought of placing them along the lines between lanes but it'd make more sense to place them in the middle of the lane... if there was an easy way to remove them if the lanes changed. I do think that we might eventually switch to a system like that if all of the bugs could be worked out.

    Actually it might not be that difficult to remove the "geo" markers since a machine could locate them exactly and an appropriately sized hole saw could extract them, with the hole filled in immediately with asphalt — all done by machinery so as to not put highway workers in danger.

    In any case, I believe that lane markers will need to be upgraded as necessary to minimum standards which will require a large investment in our roadway infrastructure as was done here after WWII when our military leaders were very impressed by the roadways in Germany.

    During the campaign Trump promised to invest heavily in our infrastructure which would cover the expense of the roadway marking upgrades but whoops! the GOP just gave away $1 trillion to big business and the 1% over the next 10 years so major infrastructure repairs and upgrades will need to wait until 2028.

    To be fair if the massive tax giveaway actually does increase the annual growth of our GDP by 3 to 5% as predicted by experts hand-picked by the GOP then it will not be known as Trump's Boondoggle among future historians. "Hand-picked experts" has a nice ring to it... they obviously must be the best experts for us to listen to — right? NOT!

    Steve A.

    P.S. There is one application for self-driving vehicles that is apparently ready to go once testing has been completed: convoys of, say, 5 or 6 trucks on the freeway with a human driver in the front vehicle called "platooning" in the Engadget article.

    https://www.wired.com/2016/07/armys-...repare-battle/

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/08/25/...ooning-trials/

    P.P.S. As for America's love affair with automobiles and trucks going back almost 100 years, the newer generations seem to be falling out of love. With most of Generation X and Millennials doomed to lower wages than Baby Boomers the necessity of owning two cars (or even one!) is being questioned for those living in metropolitan areas with adequate public transportation. Adding the purchase price and the cost of insurance, fuel, upkeep and repairs of a second car it is often cheaper to just use Uber or public transportation as necessary. For people living in many cities finding a parking spot can be a real challenge and as home delivery services keep getting cheaper and cheaper it cold be cheaper to have purchases too large for public transportation and Uber shipped to your house compared to the costs of owning a second vehicle.

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    Last edited by Steve A.; 01-23-2018 at 05:24 PM.

  31. #31
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how partisan politics plays into self-driving cars not being able to see black, but I'm sure there's some contributing factor that I'd rather not know about.

    The problem of lane identification brings up an important part of the problem -- infrastructure build-out. If self-driving cars require roadways to be modified to allow self-driving cars to navigate, then the condition of roads is going to have to be a lot higher than it is today. Around here there are plenty of roads that have fallen into disrepair, and expecting the roadways to be maintained in a higher state of repair than they are in today would be a very lofty goal. And an expensive one.

    Who should pay for that expense? Not being a guy who ever wants to ride in a self-driving car, I don't want to pay for it. I'd rather see our already crumbling roads get fixed. If there are people who want to own self-driving cars, then let them pay for upgrades needed to make the roadways suitable for their special-needs cars. I don't think it's fair to distribute that cost to everyone. Why not just build a road-compatibility upgrade tax into the price of the self-driving car?

    One thing that will be an important consideration is maintenance of the roadways. If self-driving cars require embedded markers to be placed in the roadways, that'll work just fine on the freeways, but it won't work so well on city streets and country roads that are often neglected and fall into disrepair. There are still a lot of gravel and dirt roads in remote areas of the country that aren't likely to ever get "smart roadway" upgrades. In some respects I think it'd be fair to bill those special-needs costs to the owners of those vehicles that have special needs, rather than forcing everyone to subsidize their vehicle purchase. If those costs get billed to the population at large, then there are going to be rural folks who drive on gravel roads who have to pay for a fancy road somewhere else that they never get to drive on.

    The cost of upgrading all roads to make them self-driving compatible makes it an unrealistic goal. There are just too many miles of roadway in the USA to make all of them compatible. The result I think will be to make selective roadways self-driving compatible, perhaps the interstates in the most densely populated areas. But there are just too many miles of roadway to make all roadways compatible. An in the absense of having all roadways being compatible, we're still going to be faced with relying on a sensor in the self-driving car to collect actionable data. As the Tesla accident has shown us (where the Tesla failed to discriminate a white semi trailer from a bright back lit sky and killed the passenger), optical recognition alone isn't good enough yet.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    As others have said I will not ride in a self-driving vehicle unless there is a steering wheel and brake pedal that I can use if the computer screws up. And yes, I do wear both a belt and suspenders.
    I was watching a BBC special on youtube that addressed some of the ethical dilemmas that they thought would come with self-driving cars. I don't have the link but it's there if anyone is intersted.

    One of the issues that they brought up was the moral dilemma of how does the computer make the decision about who to kill in an unavoidable accident scenario. If the semi ahead of you stops, and you can't stop in time to avoid it, does the self-driving car change lanes to collide with a car on your left, a motorcycle on your right, or a pedestrian? Or what if the computer sensor in your car knows that there's only one passenger in the car, and to avoid killing you in an accident, the computer would have to decide to run into 2 pedestrians?

    Being the selfish jerk that I am, I'll always choose to preserve my life over the life of a stranger, because my life is more valuable to me. I'm not sure that the computer would be programmed to think the same way though. It may not have my best interests in mind, and to me that represents a major problem.

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

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    ...the moral dilemma of how does the computer make the decision about who to kill in an unavoidable accident scenario.
    I saw that movie too!


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  34. #34
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    It's unfortunate, but when people amass too much wealth they insist on trying to change the world, and they punish people who don't agree with them.* Google isn't an exception.* Check this out -- I found it when it appeared as one of those irritating youtube ads that gets in the way of watching videos.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9_o42QaVnA
    Yes, I consider YouTube videos published by an ultra-conservative organization like PragerU*** to be an excellent source of unbiased information... NOT!

    PragerU ("Prager University") is a 501(c)3 non-profit conservative digital media organization. Despite the organization's name, Prager University is not an educational institution.
    • PragerU was founded in 2009 by conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager and radio producer and screenwriter Allen Estrin who wrote "Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World." It is not an academic institution and does not offer certifications or diplomas.
    • Prager created PragerU with Estrin as his business partner in order to present his conservative views and to offset what he regards as the undermining of college education by the left. The videos usually feature a speaker who argues a particular side of a debate for about five minutes.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/PragerU

    *** The same goes for blatantly one-sided videos published by ultra-progressive organizations.

    -=÷=◇=÷=○=÷=◇=÷=-

    Here is a link to the memo itself from the author's website so that we can see exactly what he had to say and followed by a link to the attachment here:

    https://assets.documentcloud.org/doc...ho-Chamber.pdf

    Googles-Ideological-Echo-Chamber.pdf

    From what I've gathered his memo is based on some questionable premises... diversity in employment does NOT suggest that men and women are equal — it says that they should be given equal opportunities.

    -=÷=◇=÷=○=÷=◇=÷=-

    Here is an excerpt from a Washington Post article last August:

    The Google memo is a reminder that we generally don’t have free speech at work
    by Jena McGregor [The Washington Post 08/08/2017]


    >>> ...Legal experts note that there are some workplace protections on speech. A relevant one, in the case of the Google engineer who has been identified in media reports as the memo's author, James Damore, is that the National Labor Relations Act does protect workers who engage in “concerted activities” for their “mutual aid or protection.” In other words, said James McDonald, the managing partner of the Irvine, Calif., office of the employment law firm Fisher Phillips, it “has to be apparent that an employee is speaking for a group of employees, like saying 'I'm a spokesperson,' or at least be an invitation to engage in concerted activity.”
    • Yet the memo, he said, “reads like one person's critique of Google's management philosophy as opposed to a call to action” for co-workers to “rise up and protest.” Damore, according to a report in Reuters, has said that he is exploring his legal remedies and that he submitted a charge to the National Labor Relations Board before his termination.
    • A Google spokesperson said the company does not comment on individual cases or employees but said the company determined that the portion of the post that references gender stereotypes violates its code of conduct and policies against harassment and discrimination. Damore did not respond to a message sent to his LinkedIn profile or a Harvard University Web page with the same name.
    • In a message published Monday, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai opened by saying that “we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it.” But “to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not okay. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct.”
    • Even if Damore established that his memo amounted to “concerted activity,” said William B. Gould, a professor emeritus at Stanford Law School and a former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board, Google may still be able to assert that the speech crosses a line on stereotypes about women and that it was disruptive and could create a hostile work environment. He also noted that if Damore were able to prove that he was fired because he filed a charge with the NLRB, that would be a violation of the law regardless of the charge's merits. <<<
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...peech-at-work/

    -=÷=◇=÷=○=÷=◇=÷=-

    Here is a link to an article from the Washington Post offering details on how Damore's firing was picked up by the Alt-Right, making him their poster child helping his story migrate to the mainstream press...

    Analysis | How James Damore went from Google employee to right-wing Internet hero
    by Abby Ohlheiser [The Washington Post 08/12/2017]
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...internet-hero/

    -=÷=◇=÷=○=÷=◇=÷=-

    BTW California is an "at will" state in regards to employment — unless specifically excluded in an employment contract an employer can fire a worker for any reason at all, at least as long as the reason is not illegal.


    Steve A.

    P.S. I have a long list of complaints about Google, ranging from their search engine to their Android operating system to be compiled and posted at a later date. I have not studied the 16 page PDF file of "Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber" so I have not yet formed my own opinion as to whether his firing was just or unjust but I am certainly not going to base it on a one-sided YouTube video with cute cartoon figures...

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    Last edited by Steve A.; 01-23-2018 at 07:23 PM.

  35. #35
    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    ethical dilemmas that they thought would come with self-driving cars.
    I think this is one of those red herrings you like to point out.

    The only ethical mission a car design could reasonably be expected to have is to save its occupants. It would get impossibly complex expecting the car to be aware of all possible outcomes in every situation. If the choice is to ram a small car to the side to avoid ramming a school bus ahead, how does our car know if the school bus is full of kids or just a driver? Even if it could count the kids, would it be able to determine that hitting the big high-sitting school bus would likely be less threatening to those kids on board than ramming the small car would be to its occupant. I can see a pedestrian and make a judgement, but would the car be able to tell the difference between a young healthy college kid who might leap out of the way versus an old lame person? Can we reasonably expect the car to muse whether it prefers many injured school kids or one dead driver?

    The car cannot be second guessing itself, it has the primary mission of providing safety to its own occupants.

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    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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