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AI Controlled Cars, or Your Right to Drive

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by illram, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. illram

    illram Moderator Moderator

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    Many of us have heard of Google's autonomous cars project, which is simultaneously terrifying and amazing. Now let's make the following assumptions: (1) assume we reach a hypothetical future where you have affordable autonomous cars that can essentially drive anywhere at any time; and (2) assume that studies show that an autonomously operated vehicle is safer than a human operated one, and that roads predominantly driven by autonomous cars are not only safer than roads predominantly driven by humans, but have less traffic. (After all, driving is really just math and geometry and physics, things a sophisticated enough number crunching machine could handle almost perfectly.)

    With those two assumptions in mind, assume that the powers that be begin debating whether it is wise to continue allowing humans to drive. Humans, after all, do human things like: fall asleep at the wheel, speed, merge poorly in traffic, brake too late, get drunk and drive, fail to look in their blind spots, send text messages or do their makeup while driving, and are generally (compared to their computer controlled cars) clumsy, foolhardy and reckless meat sacks operating large steel death machines.

    With all that said, would you be on the side of those saying no, driving is a cherished right and we should be allowed to continue driving on public roads even if studies show it is more harmful to do so? Or do you side with the folks arguing that less people will die or become harmed and we will all get where we need to go quicker if we let our computer overlords take us where we want to go?

    As fun as driving can be, I for one would welcome our new driving overlords. I have had this thought a few times since hearing about the Google car project a few years ago and the more I think about it, the more I think this will become an issue. Mainly because I do believe that ultimately, a road populated entirely with autonomous driving machines would be much, much safer and efficient than the current system we have now.
     
  2. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    Just two cents on the robo-car thing. In my state it will probably pass legislation, but there has to be a person in the car. Which seems to obsolete the whole issue, but it may be a step in producing mass transport usage, to avoid human error. I cannot see a majority of people being relaxed enough sitting alone in a vehicle being not in control of that vehicle, nor the reason why vehicles would just be driving around by themselves with no real purpose.
     
  3. illram

    illram Moderator Moderator

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    Oh I am thinking of a future where you go out to the store and your car drives you. Not your car just going on its own. (Although that certainly has shipping applications).

    I make long drives a lot to see family. These drives are long and monotonous, and I would gladly have my car do the whole thing for me if it could. While it would be terrifying at first, I think after one generation we would be used to it and the terrifying thought would instead be people driving the car.
     
  4. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    Driving is a privilege, not a right. That said, it is not a privilege I want to give up and turn over to friggin' robots.

    I don't live in a big city. Most if my driving is rural or at worst suburban. The rural driving is a true treat for me and I love it. Long drives on highways are so relaxing and just a pleasure and I don't want to have some danged auto-drive taking that pleasure away from me. I would not welcome our new driving overlords, particularly if Google is behind it.

    Also, this...

    Spoiler :



     
  5. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    The point I was making though was a person is supposed to be there to take over in case something goes wrong. Would that be too late? I don't think a human would be able to react any faster than a computer can, especially if that person is relaxed and not paying any attention. It sort of defeats the concept.
     
  6. illram

    illram Moderator Moderator

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    Yes that is something I am also trying to figure out. I don't think you can have a "manual override" since that ruins the point of eliminating the human element in the first place. Although perhaps you could have some automated function where the system allows a human operator in case of emergency, but the system has to relinquish control, not you. Of course then that could also fail.

    I think the reason we have the law in Nevada (the only state to legalize autonomous cars so far) requiring a human operator in the driver's seat in case of emergency is because we are not really ready for this reality yet. I.e. it "feels" safer even if we don't know whether that will make a difference. (I don't know if a human could actually save the car, perhaps he or she could?)
     
  7. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    I certainly wouldn't mind it doing the driving for me on boring segments of road where I could nod off, read, or watch TV. But as a car nut and a staunch libertarian (small "L"), I'm vehemently opposed to the government requiring I do so nearly all the time. But I imagine it will eventually happen.
     
  8. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    Watch out, world, you're in for some serious crap now. Forma and I united! NONE SHALL STAND AGAINST US!
     
  9. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    It is not like you have had any chances, he does not seem that hard to get along with. brought to you by the new bot-controlled response center.
     
  10. illram

    illram Moderator Moderator

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    I also wonder if car companies themselves would lobby against it. I assume they would. Power, speed, size, safety, etc. are all things people value. In an automated driving environment we could all essentially ride in glass bubbles and we'd be fine. Marketing would have to change significantly and it would mostly have to deal with comfort, the type of AI you want (personalize your driver!) the aesthetics of the car, etc.
     
  11. KMRblue1027

    KMRblue1027 The Crown!

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    I wouldn't want to have people driving if it could be completely automated. If this technology is advanced enough, without the human element every car could just be going 90 on the highway without problems. Not to mention it frees up transportation times for something useful or stress reliving like playing on a laptop or sleeping.
     
  12. illram

    illram Moderator Moderator

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    One of the reasons this question interests me so much is, to me, it encapsulates one of the excellent nanny state debates. How much prevented death and injury is enough to consider it? 1 life a day? 10 lives? 100?
     
  13. KMRblue1027

    KMRblue1027 The Crown!

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    If car accidents would be 90% eliminated it would clearly be worth it, at least to me. That's something like 20,000 deaths eliminated not to mention countless dollars saved in repairs, medical expenses, increased productivity from reduction of traffic jams, ect.
     
  14. Joecoolyo

    Joecoolyo 99% Lightspeed

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    I could see a compromise where in high traffic zones, automation would be forced to keep the traffic flowing as well as reduce accidents. While in lower traffic zones, outside of the city, you could choose to take over the wheel.
     
  15. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    I am not looking forward to this. But in the long run I do think that it is the future. Hopefully I won't live to see it. The changeover period would be very long in coming.
     
  16. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    You can quite safely go well over 120 on many segments of the interstates now. Germans do it all the time on quite similar highways.

    It is also one of the issues which shows I'm not the stereotypical liberal at all. I value personal freedom far more than supposedly saving the lives of 40K people, the vast majority of whom shouldn't have died in the first place if people were simply being alert enough to properly operate a motor vehicle.

    This is like a panacea for the multitude of bad drivers who shouldn't have licenses in the first place for being so negligent behind the wheel.
     
  17. Defiant47

    Defiant47 Peace Sentinel

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    Is that pleasure worth the loss of life? It's quite unfair to impose your will on so many other people. I thought you were for freedom.

    Next you'll tell me that you'd want to keep your right to bear firearms even if studies show that fewer (innocent) people will die overall if they're outlawed instead.

    Well said.

    As my father once put it: accidents are typically caused by two people - a decent driver and an idiot.

    It's not just the bad drivers that are punished by accidents.
     
  18. IglooDude

    IglooDude Enforcing Rule 34 Retired Moderator

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    Can I join the party? :)

    It's going to happen eventually, just as certainly as human operators are no longer needed to connect phonecalls. But driving is not a right, and given the percentage of morons that are still trying to drive while their already overtaxed brain is distracted with texting or the like, there's no question that it will be safer. At least initially, it'll probably only be voluntary until there's a critical mass (say, 20 years?) and at that point only mandatory on interstates.
     
  19. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Just a matter of time.

    If you want to perform activities that we've deemed to dangerous for public roads (racing, stunting, etc.) you can go to a private track without any rules. Eventually the safety bar will lower to include "leisurely driving" as activities that are too dangerous for people.

    What I would really like are driving proficiency tests where you're granted a license for a couple years if you're able to demonstrate higher driving proficiency than a robot. I look forward to only the top 10% of drivers being allowed on the road.

    At that point there's no real reason to own a car, it becomes far more efficient to just subscribe to a fleet of robo-taxis. You punch in where you want to go on your smartphone, the fleet automatically has a nearby robo-taxi with a similar destination pull up, and you get in and go.

    The only thing I really see as not being relevant anymore is power, I'd still like to ride in a big, safe, comfortable bubble.

    Yeah, all cars being automated would completely eliminate stop-and-go traffic and save gargantuan amounts of fuel. Cars would never need to brake outside of emergency situations.
     
  20. Hojsimpson

    Hojsimpson Prince

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    Automatic is safer? I know people who died in car accidents..
    The driver´s license should be difficult to obtain, but I think it´s okay if someone wants to drive manually.
    Also, there will be no need of a designated driver to stay sober if the car drives automatically!
    I also think that some men wants to feel "like a man", so they won´t use the automatic driving.

    Do you like The Simpsons? Do you remember the chapter when trucks have that autopilot?
    that´s cool.
     

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