Anticipation and Joy: Abusing Autonomous Cars For Fun

| Particle Debris

Autonomous car concept
This is the continuation of my Particle Debris column from Friday. Internet technical issues prevented me from writing what is typically page 2 last week.

One of the practices most drivers engage in is defensive driving. That means taking defensive measures against aggressive drivers to protect both yourself and the other driver. The ultimate in defensive driving will probably be the autonomous cars because, sans hubris and emotion, they’ll do everything possible to avoid injury to the occupants. However, the other day I saw this: “Aggressive drivers want to take advantage of driverless cars.

Aggressive drivers are excited for the outbreak of autonomous cars on public roads, seeing it as a way to bully computers that err on the side of caution, according to new research.

The London School of Economics and Goodyear conducted one of the largest surveys to gauge attitudes towards autonomous cars, with 12,000 drivers in 11 countries polled.

One of the key findings was aggressive drivers expect autonomous cars to try and accommodate all types of drivers. In a situation where the self-driving system is unsure of the outcome, drivers expect Google, Uber, and Tesla to build systems that avoid accidents at all costs.

‘I’ll be overtaking all the time because they’ll be sticking to the rules,’ said one driver in the survey. ‘They are going to stop. So you’re going to mug them right off. They’re going to stop and you’re just going to nip round.’ said another.

What if one of these autonomous cars, in a defensive move, decides that an aggressive motorist must be sacrificed to protect its own passengers. (I almost had to make that decision once.) The mind boggles. This is possible because car companies, including possibly Apple, are programming their AIs as I write this. “Self-Driving Mercedes-Benzes Will Prioritize Occupant Safety over Pedestrians.

One way to deal with this might be for the autonomous cars to utilize its impressive array of optical, radar and sonar sensors to record the events leading up to a human-driver-caused accident. In any case, the mix of autonomous and human drivers, especially aggressive ones, is going to be a technical and legal challenge for years to come.

A related issue is the expected, long-term lower rate of accidents amongst autonomous cars. And yet, whenever an autonomous car has an accident today, the media is all over it. This annoys Tesla CEO Elon Musk who claims that reporters are “killing people.” Really? News is news. Reporters report news and facts. Judge for yourself. “Elon Musk accuses press of ‘killing people’ for criticism of self-driving cars.

Moving on….

We tend to think about U.S. jobs leaving the country and workers in foreign countries being more cost competitive than U.S. workers. But a lot of that equation can depend on the technical training of U.S. workers in partnership with robots and AI assistants. This next article is a bit on the PR side from General Electric, but it does bring up some interesting points. “The U.S. Is Beating China On The Factory Floor. This Is Why.” It’s something to think about in the context of Apple bringing certains jobs back to the U.S.

It’s better to buy your Apple power accessories from Apple directly, according to this report from Business Insider. : “There’s a 90% chance the Apple power accessories you bought on Amazon are fake.” Fake meaning they can “can cause property damage and even bodily harm.” Apple is suing Amazon supplier Mobile Star.

Apple may have decided to have a greater presence at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona in 2017. It’s not certain yet, but FierceWireless has the story. “Apple listed as an exhibitor at MWC 2017.” Why is this important? First, the article reiterates Apple’s customary practice.

Apple has long eschewed major industry shows such as MWC and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, opting instead to announce news and products on its own timeline and at its own events. Last month, for instance, Apple hosted a high-profile presentation in San Francisco to introduce the iPhone 7 at the same time CTIA Super Mobility 2016 was occurring in Las Vegas.

However, there are appropriate times for Apple to let its hair down and mix it up with the crowd. Apple can take the heat of competition, be friendly and humble, and be appreciated for what it does.

The best article I’ve seen on what to expect form Apple on October 27th is this: “What to expect at Apple’s Mac event: All-new MacBook Pros, refreshed Airs & iMacs, more.Given that Apple’s Mac lineup is greatly aging across the board, what Apple omits during that event will be just as crucial as what it rolls out.

In addition, what Apple does announce will be scrutinized in the light of aggressive moves by the competition. The day before, October 26, Microsoft has its own event planned. Ed Baig reports, “One rumor has Microsoft unveiling an all-in-one Surface desktop PC that might compete against with Apple’s iMac.”

Finally, lots of Microsoft customers love their Surface Pros. But not New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. He was seen throwing one hard to the turf in disgust, and its turned into quite a story. If you hadn’t heard about this, especially a Microsoft marketing executive taking a shot at his own customer, see: “Microsoft blocks Belichick’s anti-Surface blitz.” It’s the first big mistake I’ve seen Microsoft make under CEO Nadella.

Fifteen yard penalty and loss of down.

6 Comments Add a comment

  1. Oh, I personally don’t think of AI as threatening; I do think of it as likely incompetent, though. The article makes the good point that frequently the determining factor in avoiding accident fatalities or injuries *IS* the driver breaking the rules. I tend to think the issues surrounding accidents have less to do with human competency and more to do with the fact that there are just too many flipping cars on the road. 😉

  2. How AH drivers treat autonomous cars is something I honestly never thought of. I mean I’ve already seen drivers treat any human that follows the rules like a target to be shamed. Imagine if they start doing this when there are 50%-60% of the cars on the road that automatically yield. It would be chaos.

    However I just had an idea. Program the cars so they could act cooperatively to react to a common threat. Imagine all of the autonomous cars talking to each other, warning each other of a car approaching from behind that is being driven in a reckless manner. They could cooperatively form a rolling roadblock. Then once the car was slowed to the speed limit, swarm it, box it in, to contain it. Then by strategically opening spaces the idiot couldn’t resist taking advantage of, get it over to and trapped in an exit lane. Thus the cars could eliminate a common threat.

    Now THAT’S an AI I would love to see in action.

  3. Human drivers who drive aggressively will be targeted by autonomous patrol cars that will issue them tickets electronically with big fines. These AI cops will have access to all the near miss incident reports broadcasted by the autonomous vehicles who were victimized. Human drivers will always be guilty since robots can’t lie. Three such violations will result in the human driver having his license revoked.

    While Belichick took out his frustration on the Surface tablet, the problem probably is with the NFL’s incompetence when it comes to electronic device setups. Whatever network they have in place at games is prone to failure. They have the same types of problems with their wireless headphone network. This has been going on for years. Compare their technology prowess with that of MLB.

  4. Ha! I posted about human drivers gaming autonomous vehicles into yielding the road by driving recklessly months ago. And I said the upshot of this is that eventually human drivers will be squeezed out of the roads by a gradually tightening noose of licensing requirements and traffic regulations that will steadily reduce the scope of human driver’s allowable actions on the roads until they finally get banned outright. And this will be done all in the name of saving lives, especially kids’ lives, so there will hardly be any opposition.

    I mean look, comments on this article are already talking about robots taking over the functions of policemen. I hope that never ever happens; once that happens, it is easy for some charismatic demagogue to expand such a system and put us on the road to a robot-enforced police state. If you think that an authoritarian government can never emerge in the US, you haven’t been paying enough attention to current events.

  5. Oh, it’s so funny for this site to dare speak of things Apple can’t even approach. Where’s all the blab about Apple’s Car??? Buwahaaa!!!! Have you heard? As I predicted (another of my long list of predictions about Apple’s hubris) the Car is officially dead before well – ANYTHING so I’m sorry but you are only authorized to speak of what you do 99% of the time – iOS and the Toys that are old hat for lo these years now. Imagine AAPL if Apple actually had a new product?
    And lay off Belichick, he ain’t using no Apple stuff either. A drawing can’t crash and since Jobs couldn’t even give a keynote without admonishing everyone to basically stop doing their jobs and shut off their devices – all of them – again it’s so funny how you clones giggle.

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