1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

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ruurdjan
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1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby ruurdjan » Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:28 am UTC

Image

Alt: "The real loser in an argument about the meaning of the word 'hoverboard' is anyone who leaves that argument on foot."

I'd expected: It's 2016, where's my gender balance? Note: Gender clarification.

edit: fixed the number in the title - it's interesting to see that the number remains 1632 in the reply below...
Last edited by ruurdjan on Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:36 am UTC, edited 4 times in total.

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San Fran Sam
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Re: 1632: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby San Fran Sam » Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:30 am UTC

About this "hoverboard"-like thing... isn't just a Segway without the handles?

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keithl
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Re: 1632: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby keithl » Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:36 am UTC

Self-driving cars coming soon: no.

Read David A. Mindell's recent "Our Robots, Ourselves". Mindell has worked on semiautonomous ocean exploration robots since the beginning, and is also a private pilot with considerable "electronic cockpit" experience. In spite of the ignorant presumptuousness of some programmers, successful all-situation self-driving cars will not happen soon, though computer-assisted driving is happening now, and will improve incrementally. Self-flying airplanes have racked up an impressive death toll - they fail in extremes, and the failover to human control is too sudden for pilots to cope. HUD displays with pilot guidance, on the other hand, have improved safety, by distributing the piloting according to competencies.

Some programmers may disagree - unfortunately including the types who do not read books, and do not learn from past failures.

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rhomboidal
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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:55 am UTC

I think I'd settle for a moon sand castle at this point.

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da Doctah
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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby da Doctah » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:13 am UTC

Where's my six-course meal in a pill?

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby beojan » Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:08 am UTC

Self-flying planes do exist, in that passenger airliners are on autopilot for almost the complete route.

On the other hand, self driving cars are going to take a very long time, because it turns out it is hard to make a self driving car that human driven cars can coexist with, so self driving cars will only really be possible if human drivers were banned.
I find it hard to believe that people would be really interested in fully automated cars (with all the privacy issues that entails) once the automation has reached the point of intelligent cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

Where fully automated transport would be popular is in mass transit and good transit, but it's hard to see why you would want to go through the trouble of building self driving buses and trucks instead of using trains, which run in a far more controlled environment.

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Re: 1632: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby puppysized » Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:55 pm UTC

San Fran Sam wrote:About this "hoverboard"-like thing... isn't just a Segway without the handles?

I have no idea, but very time they come up in conversation, my friend insists that is true, so I suppose so.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:29 pm UTC

beojan wrote:self driving cars will only really be possible if human drivers were banned.
Also pedestrians. And pets. And wildlife.

And passengers, if they're allowed to do things like open the doors while the vehicle is operating (a kidnapping victim, or a passenger in a car that has suddenly caught fire.)

We probably have to ban a number of environmental effects, too. Washouts, sinkholes, landslides, heat-related highway buckling... anything that's going to change the roadway significantly in real time.

Also, debris of any significant size. Trucks (lorries) can't be allowed to throw a tire at highway speeds, anymore.

If "unpredictable human drivers" make self-driven cars impossible, then anything else that could cause as much disruption as an unpredictable human driver does, as well. (And I'm just thinking about external problems, now, not stuff that can happen to the self-driving car itself. I won't point out that the radar on the front of my car has been triggered by mud/ice/snow picked up while driving... oops, I just did point that out.)

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Garnasha » Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:51 pm UTC

True self-driving is probably AI-hard; understanding the world enough to be safe on the road might effectively require/imply being a true artificial intelligence (though not necessarily self-aware). We're not there yet.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Showsni » Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:06 pm UTC

How about just remotely driven cars? Outsource all your driving to a car driving professional in India.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Flumble » Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:40 pm UTC

The problem with that is the lag.
If you can manage a direct stable high-speed connection through the Earth, be my guest. But you probably need an antenna array the size of a house and a second engine on your car.

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Re: 1632: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:03 pm UTC

keithl wrote:Self-driving cars coming soon: no.

Read David A. Mindell's recent "Our Robots, Ourselves". Mindell has worked on semiautonomous ocean exploration robots since the beginning, and is also a private pilot with considerable "electronic cockpit" experience. In spite of the ignorant presumptuousness of some programmers, successful all-situation self-driving cars will not happen soon, though computer-assisted driving is happening now, and will improve incrementally. Self-flying airplanes have racked up an impressive death toll - they fail in extremes, and the failover to human control is too sudden for pilots to cope. HUD displays with pilot guidance, on the other hand, have improved safety, by distributing the piloting according to competencies.

Some programmers may disagree - unfortunately including the types who do not read books, and do not learn from past failures.

Dude, self-driving cars already exist and have been extensively tested. Limitations in this case are not technological.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby sonar1313 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:14 pm UTC

I wish I could find it again, but recently I read an article that figured, if today the US government mandated a technology appear on all new cars (and that technology wasn't already on a lot of them), then 20 years from now, 50% of the cars on the road would have that technology. This article also didn't take into account market resistance to the technology, which is to say, there are a lot of people out there who will put up a fuss and buy used cars before they buy a self-driving car.

Right now, self-driving cars have a lot of obstacles to overcome, one huge one being that the only extensive testing done on them is in always-70-degrees Silicon Valley. When lots of cars drive on a snowy freeway, they make tracks - what happens when a self-driving car mistakes the snow between the tracks for a lane divider? Certain vehicles will never be self-driving, like ambulances.

I think the moral is that self-driving cars aren't coming surprisingly soon. Some of the technology involved will start (has started) to worm its way into higher-end luxury vehicles. You have lane-keeping technology and smart cruise control, things like that. (And some of the technology irritates the hell out of drivers, who just want to change lanes on a near-empty freeway without making the choice between uselessly putting on the turn signal or getting beeped at - or maybe even having the wheel jerk them back into the lane. And they just turn off the "helpful" technology.) But self-driving cars have to learn not how to drive in a world of other well-behaved self-driving cars. They have to learn to drive in a world of human drivers, which is much more difficult to program. The result so far has been a lot of crashes technically caused by the human driver but in reality caused by a self-driving car behaving in a totally unexpected way. A lot of people say they want a self-driving car, but the technological obstacles and real-life social pressures are working against it.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby JJCalem » Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:17 pm UTC

Ya, Tesla has produced a self driving car. The brother of my dad's boss has one. All he need to do is hit the blinker when he wants it to change lanes.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:57 pm UTC

I just think you're massively overestimating the technical challenge and massively underestimating the social one.

And I know I've said this before, but I don't really see self-driving cars as personal cars. If they start anywhere, it'll be as cheaper cabs.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Heimhenge » Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:00 pm UTC

Self-driving cars are easy to do if you're on a freeway with clearly marked lanes, all the cars going in the same direction (most of the time), barriers to exclude wildlife, and fair weather. In that case, I'd be happy to turn over control to the autopilot and catch some z's, read, or watch a movie.

Bring a self-driving car into the city, where most people do most of their driving, and the problem becomes far more complex. Not sure I'd want to trust the existing software in that case. But I have no doubt the AI will rise to that challenge at some point ... probably just not as soon as Google thinks.

Which raises an interesting question: What happens to the taxi industry when self-driving cars become a reality? Will I be able to summon an autonomous taxi 24/7, tell it (in spoken language) the address of my destination, swipe my card/phone/whatever, and be on my way? Again, most taxi service is intra-city, so they have to solve the AI problem first before I'd get into one. As it is, I barely trust taxis with human drivers.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:13 pm UTC

Heimhenge wrote:Which raises an interesting question: What happens to the taxi industry when self-driving cars become a reality? Will I be able to summon an autonomous taxi 24/7, tell it (in spoken language) the address of my destination, swipe my card/phone/whatever, and be on my way?

Let's be real here. If that's not the reality within the next fifty years or so, we've failed as a species.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby sonar1313 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:09 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:I just think you're massively overestimating the technical challenge and massively underestimating the social one.

And I know I've said this before, but I don't really see self-driving cars as personal cars. If they start anywhere, it'll be as cheaper cabs.


I don't underestimate the social challenge, I just figured a full rundown would make everyone's eyes glaze over. It'd be a very long list of reasons.

I could definitely see a future where self-driving cars are like Uber without drivers. Punch a few buttons on your app and a car shows up. The question is, who owns 'em?

I do think the technological challenge is much greater than the Silicon Valley rose-colored glasses outlook. Tech engineers and companies tend to way underestimate the amount of time it takes the country to adopt a fancy new technology. Witness Microsoft's Windows 8 bungle, because they figured nobody was using PCs anymore. It turned out, once you left the West Coast and got away from the bubble, millions of people still did. People were supposed to be cutting the cord by the millions four years ago - but so far, they haven't yet, not in the kinds of numbers that make a huge dent in the way cable companies operate. Lots of questions left to be answered, like: Does a camera or sensor with rain on it get confused by what it sees? Will it work at all, covered in snow? What does it do when the roads and signs are covered in snow? What if it misses a sign because there's a truck between it and the sign? What does it do when it's required to break a traffic law in order to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle? What if you tell it to go somewhere that isn't in its GPS database, like a brand-new subdivision? It took Google engineers quite a while to figure out something as simple as a four-way stop - because the car wanted all the other drivers to stop before it went, and human drivers tend to creep forward or just go if somebody appears to be sitting there and letting them go. Most technological obstacles aren't completely impossible to overcome, but it takes a while, and let's face it - the snow thing is going to be a bitch.

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Re: 1632: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Geekoid » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:11 pm UTC

keithl wrote:Self-driving cars coming soon: no.

Read David A. Mindell's recent "Our Robots, Ourselves". Mindell has worked on semiautonomous ocean exploration robots since the beginning, and is also a private pilot with considerable "electronic cockpit" experience. In spite of the ignorant presumptuousness of some programmers, successful all-situation self-driving cars will not happen soon, though computer-assisted driving is happening now, and will improve incrementally. Self-flying airplanes have racked up an impressive death toll - they fail in extremes, and the failover to human control is too sudden for pilots to cope. HUD displays with pilot guidance, on the other hand, have improved safety, by distributing the piloting according to competencies.

Some programmers may disagree - unfortunately including the types who do not read books, and do not learn from past failures.


Yes. self driving cars will be here soon.

Automated Airline systems have avoid thousands of instance of disaster before they can escalate from an adjustment or change to disaster. Simply look at how little drift airplanes ave that use these systems.

It's nice that you read A book on the topic from one person full of anecdote, but I suggest you read engineering books the topic.

" Self-flying airplanes have racked up an impressive death toll "

If you aren't trolling, then you are ignorant in the extreme on this topic.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Geekoid » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:17 pm UTC

beojan wrote:Self-flying planes do exist, in that passenger airliners are on autopilot for almost the complete route.

On the other hand, self driving cars are going to take a very long time, because it turns out it is hard to make a self driving car that human driven cars can coexist with, so self driving cars will only really be possible if human drivers were banned.
I find it hard to believe that people would be really interested in fully automated cars (with all the privacy issues that entails) once the automation has reached the point of intelligent cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

Where fully automated transport would be popular is in mass transit and good transit, but it's hard to see why you would want to go through the trouble of building self driving buses and trucks instead of using trains, which run in a far more controlled environment.


It's hard, but it's done. Watch what these systems see as the move down the road. Faster than you, they see more than you, don't ave the visual blind spots you have, and aren't distracted.

A lot of people are interested in fly autonomous vehicles. They will changes how people live.


A fallacy people in this thread seem to be falling for is the idea that autonomous cars need to be perfect. They do not. They just need to be better than people.

Other people seem to be using laughblly extreme examples to prove their 'point'; which should cause them to evaluate the critical thinking they put into the issue.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby cellocgw » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:19 pm UTC

Everyone's got an opinion, so here's one more:

I'd go for tripling or quadrupling the amount of public transit available, to minimize wait time and to minimize travel time (e.g., in the Boston area there are lots of radial trains and bus routes but very few circumferential).

But if we really wanna go the self-driving personal vehicle route, I would far rather see guide wires embedded in every street, and all cars locked onto a wire-to-wire route. Constant location updates from all vehicles will guarantee safe separation, and so on.
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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Geekoid » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:20 pm UTC

Helicopter are not flying cars. Please stop saying that. It uses wings for crying out loud.

When people say flying cars, they are talking about the 1940/50's flying cars on the cover of magazines. For an example see 5th Element. THOSE are flying cars.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:23 pm UTC

It has a car. It flies. Flying car.

sonar1313 wrote:I do think the technological challenge is much greater than the Silicon Valley rose-colored glasses outlook. Tech engineers and companies tend to way underestimate the amount of time it takes the country to adopt a fancy new technology. Witness Microsoft's Windows 8 bungle, because they figured nobody was using PCs anymore. It turned out, once you left the West Coast and got away from the bubble, millions of people still did. People were supposed to be cutting the cord by the millions four years ago - but so far, they haven't yet, not in the kinds of numbers that make a huge dent in the way cable companies operate.

Those are also social, not technological, limitations (aside from, say, people who live in regions where broadband isn't available in the case of cable, or if you want to configure ease of use as a technology rather than an education problem.)

Windows 8's bungled launch had nothing to do with whether or not people were "using PCs anymore" - it's a perfectly fine desktop OS (with some minor concessions to tablets rather inelegantly shoved in). The biggest problem spots were 1) people who resist every change to their habits and 2) a confused launch presentation and confused expectations, like the half-baked convergence that led to people who can't be expected to know what a chip architecture is buying a Surface, finding out it couldn't run any of the Windows software they already had, and returning it.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: 1632: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby beojan » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:28 pm UTC

Geekoid wrote:Yes. self driving cars will be here soon.

Automated Airline systems have avoid thousands of instance of disaster before they can escalate from an adjustment or change to disaster. Simply look at how little drift airplanes ave that use these systems.

It's nice that you read A book on the topic from one person full of anecdote, but I suggest you read engineering books the topic.

" Self-flying airplanes have racked up an impressive death toll "

If you aren't trolling, then you are ignorant in the extreme on this topic.


Flying an aircraft autonomously (especially at airline cruising altitude), is far, far, easier than driving a car autonomously because you have air traffic control and instrument flight rules, so other planes aren't really a danger. When driving on the road, the primary source of information is looking out of the windscreen, and there is no air traffic control, the driver needs to predict how others will behave. Other drivers are the primary danger here.7

Copper Bezel wrote:Windows 8's bungled launch had nothing to do with whether or not people were "using PCs anymore" - it's a perfectly fine desktop OS (with some minor concessions to tablets rather inelegantly shoved in). The biggest problem spots were 1) people who resist every change to their habits and 2) a confused launch presentation and confused expectations, like the half-baked convergence that led to people who can't be expected to know what a chip architecture is buying a Surface, finding out it couldn't run any of the Windows software they already had, and returning it.


Windows 8 was Microsoft trying to use their dominance in the PC space to boost market share in the mobile device space by getting people used to the UI, and it backfired dramatically. It's a perfectly fine desktop OS only once you install classic shell, turning the UI back into Windows 7 as far as most users are concerned.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Zylon » Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:46 pm UTC

A helicopter is not a smegging flying car, because you can't drive a helicopter. Also helicopters have existed since the 1930s, so people have understood this distinction for a very long time.

The whole strip, if you can call it that, is just Randall being a contrarian Debbie Downer again.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby ps.02 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:16 pm UTC

Geekoid wrote:A fallacy people in this thread seem to be falling for is the idea that autonomous cars need to be perfect. They do not. They just need to be better than people.

A lot better than people, though. Like most life skills, driving is subject to the Dunning-Kruger effect, so most people believe they are safer drivers than they actually are. Thus, if you have an AI driver that is safer than 80% of human drivers, most people will look at that statistic and say "that's great... for most people. But I'm still a safer driver than that." I think you have to get up to the 95th percentile, maybe even higher, before people will be willing to bet their lives on it.

Then again, I could be wrong. Many people don't have a lot of anxiety riding in a car someone else is driving, even if, through the Dunning-Kruger effect, they believe they would drive better.

I may have a few concerns beyond driving ability. For example, my car had better not ever stop in the middle of the road to ask me about an update to some Adobe product. Or to let me know that some wifi-enabled printer in a nearby building is out of ink.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:44 pm UTC

Geekoid wrote:It's hard, but it's done. Watch what these systems see as the move down the road. Faster than you, they see more than you, don't ave the visual blind spots you have, and aren't distracted.

There's "seeing", and then there's "seeing". Computer vision is somewhere between "really hard to do" and "NP-complete". Also, check the results of Google Street View's face-blurring algorithm for what "conservative software design" does. Your car has to do all this in 3D and in real-time with some large number-of-nines accuracy.

A fallacy people in this thread seem to be falling for is the idea that autonomous cars need to be perfect. They do not. They just need to be better than people.

And who goes to jail when the slightly-better-than-people car kills someone? And who pays the bills? The car's owner? Car manufacturer? Software developer? Civil engineer that designed the road the software couldn't deal with? When answering, consider the "Toyota unintended acceleration" lawsuits, and the billion+ dollars those shuffled around.

Other people seem to be using laughblly extreme examples to prove their 'point'; which should cause them to evaluate the critical thinking they put into the issue.

Yes, jets do fine with autopilot. It's easy when your design spec starts with "I have a significant fraction of a mile of empty air (minimum), in every direction, in all three dimensions." Start doing things like "auto-landing", and you wind up with sub-optimal results if anything goes slightly wrong, like your ground-facing radar giving you the wrong reading. As I said upthread, my car recently decided to warn me, every time I got under 5mph, that I was zero feet from an obstacle. Because some kicked-up snow got on the radar points on the front bumper. (The radar on my car only does "parking assist" and not "emergency braking", but emergency braking and distance-maintaining cruise control were options I could have purchased. I don't know what "suddenly there's an object at zero feet" would have done to the braking algorithm...)

Auto-driving cars have an approximately-infinite number of other things to consider. Silicon Valley highways? Sure. Downtown Minneapolis? Ugh. The "Magic Roundabout"? Double ugh. Peoria, Illinois? (Peoria was supposedly a testbed for traffic things, and not all of them have been replaced with sane versions. Go make a left from northbound Knoxville onto westbound War Memorial. None of those are under/overpasses.)

Stupidly-graded roads: There's a spot near here where... well, imagine a cone. Put a flat road curving around the base, and a road leading straight down from the peak that intersects it. A smart civil engineer would have dug out the hill so the curving road stays flat. Our civil engineer added a hump to the curving road instead. It's safe at the posted speed limit when it's dry. This is Minnesota, though. When it's icy, and your curving road suddenly gains a significant reverse crown, and then a steep downhill, over the space of 30 or 40 feet... and losing grip means you slide into oncoming traffic... (and what's built on the next block? A grade school!) It's just one of those things that the locals learn about (hopefully they first drive over it in the summer; it's surprisingly roller-coastery). Self-driving cars won't "learn" things like that.

Also, there aren't that many passenger aircraft built, and they cost a whole lot of money. Lots of quality, redundant components for the autopilot makes sense.

How much can you boost the cost of an Acura NSX, much less a Honda Civic, to allow autopilot? When answering, consider the quality-versus-cost choices made by Volkswagon w.r.t. diesel emissions testing. That's just "air quality", so we can cut corners? Consider Takata airbags instead, then. Or, just consider the list of "recalls" for every car on the road.

The whole thing is an excellent example of the 90-90 rule. Except it's more like "the last 0.01% of the project takes 90000% of the development time."

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Benefuchs » Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:54 pm UTC

Zylon wrote:A helicopter is not a smegging flying car, because you can't drive a helicopter. Also helicopters have existed since the 1930s, so people have understood this distinction for a very long time.

A helicopter is totally a flying car. If helicopters would have been mass-produced as much as cars and optimized for easy use, they would nowadays cost no more than an upperclass car and would be only a bit more difficult to use. What else would you want to define a flying car? No pesky rotor?

The problem is just legislation: Even if I took all the lessons and exams to be allowed to fly a helicopter and would pay half a million to own one, I would not be allowed to land it in my backyard or simply start whenever I want (i.e. without asking airspace clearance or whatever).

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Benefuchs » Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:59 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:And who goes to jail when the slightly-better-than-people car kills someone? And who pays the bills? The car's owner? Car manufacturer? Software developer? Civil engineer that designed the road the software couldn't deal with?

Again, it's a legal/social problem, not a technical one. In a few years, you'll only need a human driver for accountability.

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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:11 pm UTC

Benefuchs wrote:
Zylon wrote:A helicopter is not a smegging flying car, because you can't drive a helicopter. Also helicopters have existed since the 1930s, so people have understood this distinction for a very long time.

A helicopter is totally a flying car. [...] What else would you want to define a flying car? No pesky rotor?

Not to speak for Zylon, but I'm pretty sure he wanted a car. Wheels or something, 2D motion on a surface, legal on city streets, fits inside his garage, stuff like that.

Benefuchs wrote:you'll only need a human driver for accountability.

So the person who has nothing to do with the car's autonomous behavior (the driver did not design the sensors, do the programming, etc) is "accountable"? Joyfulness. (If you're a lawyer, anyway.)

Also, the Toyota case (that you clipped from the end of my paragraph) seems to imply otherwise, to the tune of $1.2 billion.
Last edited by Mikeski on Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:23 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1632: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby dtilque » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:20 pm UTC

San Fran Sam wrote:About this "hoverboard"-like thing... isn't just a Segway without the handles?


If you want a board that really hovers (no wheels) and have $20K to splurge: the real thing

(I expect Randall had that in mind when he drew this comic.)
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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Zylon » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:46 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:Not to speak for Zylon, but I'm pretty sure he wanted a car. Wheels or something, 2D motion on a surface, legal on city streets, fits inside his garage, stuff like that.

Indeed, that is pretty much the definition of a car. The "flying car" trope arose well after helicopters already existed, so there is an inbuilt distinction between the two gadgets that Randall doesn't get to dismiss with a breezy wave of his hand. A "flying car" is a car that also flies, OR is a purely flying vehicle with the traditional form factor of a car. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a flying car. Doc Brown's DeLorean is a flying car. The cars in Fifth Element are flying cars. Airwolf is not a flying car.

Attempting to argue that helicopters are flying cars is about as specious as asserting that, for example, motorcycles are cars. They both have wheels, an engine, run on roads, get you from place to place... they must be the same thing, right?

Muswell
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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Muswell » Wed Dec 30, 2015 11:51 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote: The "Magic Roundabout"? Double ugh.


The Swindon magic roundabout? That one's nothing. The Hemel Hempstead one, now that one makes life interesting.

Though I imagine a lot of the issues with both the roundabouts arise from unwary travellers seeing the signs for them and having panic attacks, and perhaps AIs wouldn't do that...

sonar1313
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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby sonar1313 » Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:39 am UTC

Geekoid wrote:A fallacy people in this thread seem to be falling for is the idea that autonomous cars need to be perfect. They do not. They just need to be better than people.

They need to be better than people at doing the things people are bad at, and at least as good as people at the things computers are bad at but people are better. People aren't going to say, "well, it's OK that the car keeps driving over the same pothole every day, because it's better at checking the blind spot than I am." Or, "I don't mind that it almost drove off the road in the snow." All they'll think of is that it keeps smacking the pothole and almost plowed into a concrete barrier because it couldn't find the snow-buried lane lines. They'll magnify the flaws, and if there's some part of the experience that doesn't live up to expectations, they'll remember it.

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Postby Eternal Density » Thu Dec 31, 2015 1:25 am UTC

rhomboidal wrote:I think I'd settle for a moon sand castle at this point.

Good thinking. I'll get my people right on that. https://github.com/eternaldensity/Sandc ... ssues/1417
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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby armandoalvarez » Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:25 am UTC

As a non-engineer, I don't know what to think about self-driving cars. Usually, you hear that they're right around the corner, but then sometimes you see articles like this one which makes me think the engineering problem is real and we won't have self-driving cars til we have AI.
The article argues that Google
frequently says that its car has driven more than 700,000 miles safely, but those are the same few thousand mapped miles, driven over and over again.
That really does seem like "cheating". But I don't know what I'm talking about, so I don't know if the naysayers are the equivalent to "We'll never land a man on the moon" or more like "underwater bubble cities aren't happening in the next century."


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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby RogueCynic » Thu Dec 31, 2015 4:17 am UTC

How soon we forget.

http://xkcd.com/1559/
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Cougar Allen
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Re: 1632: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby Cougar Allen » Thu Dec 31, 2015 4:23 am UTC

San Fran Sam wrote:About this "hoverboard"-like thing... isn't just a Segway without the handles?


No handles, but it does have an ignitor....

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da Doctah
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Re: 1623: "2016 Conversation Guide"

Postby da Doctah » Thu Dec 31, 2015 5:28 am UTC

armandoalvarez wrote: I don't know if the naysayers are the equivalent to "We'll never land a man on the moon" or more like "underwater bubble cities aren't happening in the next century."


21st-century version of an old standby: "If we can cure the common cold, why can't we put a man on the moon?"


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