Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby PAstrychef » Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:16 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Have you ever driven the wrong way down a one way street or gotten lost? I would presume that a autonomous car would handle unexpected things much as you do. Use the sensor suites that it will carry to see those steps before it drives down them. And surprise! If GPS goes dead the car still has eyes and maps, we navigated the world successfully without GPS for years. Autonomous cars don't have to be perfect, they just have to be safer than us. And if you have a preferred route I would assume that you would tell the car to use it and save it as a favorite, much like your favorite music playlist. I should share with you the fact that the thing I have come to hate most about driving, is that if I do it right, the scenery isn't really something I get to enjoy, its something that my passengers get to enjoy.

I have known that I was making a mistake by being aware of my surroundings and understanding that there was an issue. Would an auto-auto have the capacity to figure out that flights of stairs aren't driveable? How would the nav system figure out it was in the wrong place, or going the wrong way? It's just software. European drivers get stuck in hedgerows all over England following the GPS. And the possibility of malicious acts shouldn't be ignored.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby elasto » Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:48 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:I have known that I was making a mistake by being aware of my surroundings and understanding that there was an issue. Would an auto-auto have the capacity to figure out that flights of stairs aren't driveable? How would the nav system figure out it was in the wrong place, or going the wrong way? It's just software. European drivers get stuck in hedgerows all over England following the GPS. And the possibility of malicious acts shouldn't be ignored.

Have a look at the DARPA videos. Autonomous vehicles can already negotiate completely unknown environments and, for example, climb stairs. They run very slowly at present, but that's just a processing power issue. Processing power will always grow.

And, like mw says, we don't need vehicles that work perfectly, we only need vehicles that don't kill millions a year like humans do. The only problem after that is that everyone thinks that they are an above average driver and so everyone else should have a self-driving vehicle but not them...

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby morriswalters » Sun Jun 28, 2015 2:03 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:I have known that I was making a mistake by being aware of my surroundings and understanding that there was an issue. Would an auto-auto have the capacity to figure out that flights of stairs aren't driveable? How would the nav system figure out it was in the wrong place, or going the wrong way? It's just software. European drivers get stuck in hedgerows all over England following the GPS. And the possibility of malicious acts shouldn't be ignored.
Certainly not. It will all depend on the sensor suites and the software, and every time they iterate it it will get better. Start with baby steps And move on. And bad actors can get at you anyway, if not in your car then somewhere else. I suppose I have driven long enough to be more aware of my limitations as a driver. But I doubt that for some period that it will be an issue, people like their cars and they all want to believe that they are great drivers. And if they can't get the costs down it won't matter how good the tech is.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby PeteP » Sun Jun 28, 2015 2:10 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Have you ever driven the wrong way down a one way street or gotten lost? I would presume that a autonomous car would handle unexpected things much as you do. Use the sensor suites that it will carry to see those steps before it drives down them. And surprise! If GPS goes dead the car still has eyes and maps, we navigated the world successfully without GPS for years. Autonomous cars don't have to be perfect, they just have to be safer than us. And if you have a preferred route I would assume that you would tell the car to use it and save it as a favorite, much like your favorite music playlist. I should share with you the fact that the thing I have come to hate most about driving, is that if I do it right, the scenery isn't really something I get to enjoy, its something that my passengers get to enjoy.

I have known that I was making a mistake by being aware of my surroundings and understanding that there was an issue. Would an auto-auto have the capacity to figure out that flights of stairs aren't driveable? How would the nav system figure out it was in the wrong place, or going the wrong way? It's just software. European drivers get stuck in hedgerows all over England following the GPS. And the possibility of malicious acts shouldn't be ignored.

Steps? Rather easily I would say, why do you think that would be a hard problem? (A broad ramp would be trickier but then that would likely require a sign that warns humans drivers off too.) How it figures out where it is without gps? Well the usual situation would be that it knows it's position and then loses gps for a while, the system will have extensive maps (likely with significantly more infos than normal maps) and can just use normal sensors to update it's position from there. Since streets severely limit where you can be that should work well.

Now if you mean the car has no info where it is and no gps. Well that is tricky yes. Not unsolvable I guess if you allow it to drive around a bit, street signs should be readable with a camera (though they tend to not be unique) and then it depends if it's internal maps are detailed enough to match the area to it's map with good precision. Well if only gps is down the smartphone network could significantly help to narrow it down. But I think distributing machine readable position markers along streets for such cases might be a good idea.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby addams » Sun Jun 28, 2015 2:32 pm UTC

Gee...If things get bad enough, the cars will be under human control, like now.

I was indignant when I found adults in the middle of our nation that could not read a map in the 1980's.
Those people were obviously undereducated.

Today, I often find bright educated people that cannot read a paper map.
They read their phones. The skill would transfer quickly; I suppose.

It would make a good comedy.
Bright intellectuals Lost without GPS and Google.

I can imagine it.
Can't you?
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby morriswalters » Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:17 pm UTC

@addams

That is a limitation of people, some people can't make the connection between the maps and it's representation in the real world. However the only unknown in any trip is your location after you have traveled assuming you know where you start, and the cold war solved that problem with inertial navigation systems. The sensors suites in your phone, the accelerometers and so on, can keep track of how much you move and in which direction, and keep tack of the results. GPS is more accurate but of streets you can lose precision and still know fairly closely where you are in relationship to where you started. It isn't the mapping system that makes autonomous cars hard. It's moving through the obstacles in the real world, Covered wagons never t-boned anyone. :lol:

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby sardia » Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:18 pm UTC

A more interesting question is if pastrychef is talking rationally, or out of emotion. If robot cars can cut the death rate in half, but are still faulty, would he support it? Or is his love of freedom to drive clouding his judgement?

Edit: Fixed autocorrect errors. stupid phone.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Whizbang » Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:35 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Covered wagons never t-boned anyone. :lol:


O rly?

Granted the wagons are not covered and it was a rear-end collision, but still.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby morriswalters » Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:44 pm UTC

I should have known better. Curse you YouTube. :lol: :oops:

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby PAstrychef » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:10 pm UTC

sardia wrote:A more interesting question is it pastry chef is talking rationally, of our of emotion. If robot cars can cut the death rate in half, but are still faulty, would he support it? Or is his artificial love of freedom to drive clouding his judgement?

It would depend on what kind of problems. Perhaps the car would refuse to let passengers it though were drunk exit the vehicle. If a person was ill, they could die. What if, to pay for the new infrastructure, the car displayed ads on the inside that you could not shut off? These are kind of silly scenaria, but not impossible. I can also see two possible results for congestion- one has all of the cars trying to use the same route, because the algorithms prefer it so traffic backs up, and the other has traffic filtering away from congestion, so that neighborhoods that aren't built for lots of traffic are suddenly overwhelmed.
If auto-autos did reduce the number of driving related deaths by any subsatantial amount I'd be all for them. I'd just like a manual option for those troublesome moments. Why would you think that I have an "artificial love of freedom to drive" (what's artificial about it, anyway, and why shouldn't I enjoy an activity I do rather a lot of?) because I mention some potential problems with software? If the U.S. government can hack Iran's nuclear systems, why couldn't ISIS hack the nav system for LA? There are more and more in depth hacks reported every day, and I would not be surprised to learn that there are plenty of unreported ones. And some airlines have reported problems with their use of iPads in the cockpit.
One last point- why the assumption that I'm male?
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby commodorejohn » Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:57 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:Also as others have mentioned your car likely already relies almost totally on computers.

Hey-o!
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Grop » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:52 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:One last point- why the assumption that I'm male?


Your avatar is all about milk and egg. Of course you would be male.

Also my car is a very simple one from the nineties. I am in no hurry to switch to a complicated one that I can't repair myself, simply replacing broken parts with used ones. Having some electronics in my car decide where I go at deadly speed is a no.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:04 am UTC

Grop wrote:Your avatar is all about milk and egg. Of course you would be male.

Or it's, you know, relating to being a pastry chef.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby PAstrychef » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:30 am UTC

Grop wrote:
PAstrychef wrote:One last point- why the assumption that I'm male?


Your avatar is all about milk and egg. Of course you would be male.

I'm sure I don't see the logic here.
My car is from 1998. No remote door locks, no remote starter. Need I mention it has a manual transmission?
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Djehutynakht » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:27 am UTC

...what happened here?

Did somebody accidentally splice the thread?

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Grop » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:19 am UTC

(Sorry that was a weird joke about milk and eggs being produced by female cows and chicken and some irony and it sort of made sense in my mind).

Apparently this thread was split indeed from a bigger one. It might be better if it had a distinct title.

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Re: Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:33 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:My car is from 1998. No remote door locks, no remote starter. Need I mention it has a manual transmission?
Sad little car. Shall we give it a fifties make over? Formed steel dash, no crumple zones, no seat belts, no air bags. Normally aspirated carburetors. Tube AM radios. Fuel chokes. About a 50,000 mile limit on motor life and abysmal mileage for most models. Not to mention the emissions. And no air conditioning. And very unhealthy to be in if anything went wrong.

What you hold dear the next generation may not. And they may look at your desire to keep the steering wheel as a dangerous perversion of all that is true and right. :lol: Having said that, we aren't there yet. And likely won't be for some time. Oddly enough there is a TED talk up from someone with Google's effort that is worth watching. It is interesting that one of the selling points is the access a driverless car gives to people who can't currently enjoy the privilege and freedom that your license gives you.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby cphite » Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:34 pm UTC

Whizbang wrote:But... People will not lose control. They will still be able to program and change routes.


At first. At least not until Google starts deciding the best route for them to take... one can imagine the ways that companies might decide the "best" route, beyond the shortest and/or most efficient route. Maybe the route that takes you past certain stores or attractions might be the best route. Or, maybe you just have to pay more to use the non-optimized route? You don't seriously think Google (or any other company) is going to provide this service for free do you? Even if it doesn't have a cost, it's gonna have a cost, if you get my meaning.

All that will happen is the tedious act of actually steering the car will be conveniently removed,


I actually enjoy driving. Even in awful traffic, I prefer being behind the wheel to being a passenger. It stresses me out to be in heavy traffic, fast or slow, when someone else is driving; I can only imagine that being worse if "someone else" isn't actually in the car with me.

with an added bonus that people at large will not have to worry about drunk drivers, or people falling asleep, or texting while driving, or road rage, or a thousand other risks that we all take as part and parcel of driving today.


No, instead we'll only have to worry about network connectivity, accurate maps, and a perfectly functioning computer. For example, the missus and I went out driving this past weekend and several times her GPS told us to turn when there wasn't actually a road. Not a big deal when it's just a phone saying "turn right here" because you can ignore that... a bit of a potential mess when the computer is actually driving. You may trust Google to perform flawlessly at highway speeds; I'm not quite there yet.

No control is lost, you can still determine where you go, and even change routes mid-way, but there will be a huge increase in safety.


Assuming that everything works exactly as it should all the time, there may be a huge increase in safety. Control is another issue entirely.

Oh, and both safety and control also depend entirely on this technology being secure. One can imagine the horrible things people could do if they manage to hack the controls of cars traveling at highway speeds.
Last edited by cphite on Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:39 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jun 29, 2015 3:38 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Have you ever driven the wrong way down a one way street or gotten lost? I would presume that a autonomous car would handle unexpected things much as you do. Use the sensor suites that it will carry to see those steps before it drives down them. And surprise! If GPS goes dead the car still has eyes and maps, we navigated the world successfully without GPS for years. Autonomous cars don't have to be perfect, they just have to be safer than us. And if you have a preferred route I would assume that you would tell the car to use it and save it as a favorite, much like your favorite music playlist. I should share with you the fact that the thing I have come to hate most about driving, is that if I do it right, the scenery isn't really something I get to enjoy, its something that my passengers get to enjoy.

I have known that I was making a mistake by being aware of my surroundings and understanding that there was an issue.
So knowing you were driving unsafely made you less unsafe? Humans can't maintain the kind of focus that's really necessary for safe driving. Computers can.

Would an auto-auto have the capacity to figure out that flights of stairs aren't driveable? How would the nav system figure out it was in the wrong place, or going the wrong way?
In many of the same ways you would figure those things out. There are already cars with sensors to protect against driver error, and it's driver error that would actually result in someone trying to drive down stairs or into a hedgerow. A smart car would detect the hedgerow and stop before hitting it even if its GPS said to keep going, just like it would do if there was another car in the way.

It's just software.
So is your brain.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby cphite » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:06 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
PAstrychef wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Have you ever driven the wrong way down a one way street or gotten lost? I would presume that a autonomous car would handle unexpected things much as you do. Use the sensor suites that it will carry to see those steps before it drives down them. And surprise! If GPS goes dead the car still has eyes and maps, we navigated the world successfully without GPS for years. Autonomous cars don't have to be perfect, they just have to be safer than us. And if you have a preferred route I would assume that you would tell the car to use it and save it as a favorite, much like your favorite music playlist. I should share with you the fact that the thing I have come to hate most about driving, is that if I do it right, the scenery isn't really something I get to enjoy, its something that my passengers get to enjoy.

I have known that I was making a mistake by being aware of my surroundings and understanding that there was an issue.
So knowing you were driving unsafely made you less unsafe? Humans can't maintain the kind of focus that's really necessary for safe driving. Computers can.


On the other hand, humans can make judgement calls that computers cannot make. For example, one of the things that automated cars are still pretty horrible at is driving in bad weather. Heavy rain has been shown to interfere with their ability to determine distance. They're also terrible at adjusting for slippery surfaces.

They're also terrible at recognizing abnormally rough surfaces; so for example while a human might slow down for a large series of potholes, the computerized cars are just zooming right into them. On the other hand, the computers occasionally slam on the brakes because the road changes from concrete to blacktop.

Also, while they're really good at reacting to immediate danger, they're not nearly as good at detecting potential danger. For example, a person walking alongside the road who is losing their balance; the tests results have been awful for stuff like that. A person sees a kid chasing a ball towards the road, he or she might slow down well before the kid ever gets there - the computers so far aren't very good at that sort of thing, and even if they can hit the brakes a lot faster than a human, there might not be enough stopping distance once they do.

Finally, humans are a lot harder to hack. One can imagine the damage that could be done by hijacking the systems that will control these vehicles. Just about anything that communicates via wireless can be hacked given enough time and effort; and even if they could make it impossible (or too difficult) to hack, it can be jammed.

Not saying these problems won't eventually be overcome; just that we're a lot further from them being overcome than a lot of people would like to believe.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby cphite » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:06 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
PAstrychef wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Have you ever driven the wrong way down a one way street or gotten lost? I would presume that a autonomous car would handle unexpected things much as you do. Use the sensor suites that it will carry to see those steps before it drives down them. And surprise! If GPS goes dead the car still has eyes and maps, we navigated the world successfully without GPS for years. Autonomous cars don't have to be perfect, they just have to be safer than us. And if you have a preferred route I would assume that you would tell the car to use it and save it as a favorite, much like your favorite music playlist. I should share with you the fact that the thing I have come to hate most about driving, is that if I do it right, the scenery isn't really something I get to enjoy, its something that my passengers get to enjoy.

I have known that I was making a mistake by being aware of my surroundings and understanding that there was an issue.
So knowing you were driving unsafely made you less unsafe? Humans can't maintain the kind of focus that's really necessary for safe driving. Computers can.


On the other hand, humans can make judgement calls that computers cannot make. For example, one of the things that automated cars are still pretty horrible at is driving in bad weather. Heavy rain has been shown to interfere with their ability to determine distance. They're also terrible at adjusting for slippery surfaces.

They're also terrible at recognizing abnormally rough surfaces; so for example while a human might slow down for a large series of potholes, the computerized cars are just zooming right into them. On the other hand, the computers occasionally slam on the brakes because the road changes from concrete to blacktop.

Also, while they're really good at reacting to immediate danger, they're not nearly as good at detecting potential danger. For example, a person walking alongside the road who is losing their balance; the tests results have been awful for stuff like that. A person sees a kid chasing a ball towards the road, he or she might slow down well before the kid ever gets there - the computers so far aren't very good at that sort of thing, and even if they can hit the brakes a lot faster than a human, there might not be enough stopping distance once they do.

Finally, humans are a lot harder to hack. One can imagine the damage that could be done by hijacking the systems that will control these vehicles. Just about anything that communicates via wireless can be hacked given enough time and effort; and even if they could make it impossible (or too difficult) to hack, it can be jammed.

Not saying these problems won't eventually be overcome; just that we're a lot further from them being overcome than a lot of people would like to believe.

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Re: Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

Postby Quercus » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:34 pm UTC

The way I see it is that self-driving cars will first appear as cars that can go into automatic mode on motorways/freeways. Motorways are a very controlled environment and are easy for computers to deal with. At the same time it's the sort of driving that humans suck at, because it's monotonous and hard to keep focus. Driving in crowded cities or on rough roads I can see taking considerably longer to automate, but it will come eventually as a gradual process of improvement.

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Re: Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

Postby addams » Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:50 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:The way I see it is that self-driving cars will first appear as cars that can go into automatic mode on motorways/freeways. Motorways are a very controlled environment and are easy for computers to deal with. At the same time it's the sort of driving that humans suck at, because it's monotonous and hard to keep focus. Driving in crowded cities or on rough roads I can see taking considerably longer to automate, but it will come eventually as a gradual process of improvement.

You have a very good point.
Driving on motorways during bad weather may be another place where machine surpasses man.
The machine can see through fog. The machine has good night vision. Good machine; Good.

But...umm...Without auto accident fatalities, how will we control our numbers?
Birth control might work.

We don't think of it as population control. Still...
The US loses 3,000 souls each month to The Road.

Is that number significant in population stabilization?
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:55 pm UTC

cphite wrote:On the other hand, humans can make judgement calls that computers cannot make. For example, one of the things that automated cars are still pretty horrible at is driving in bad weather. Heavy rain has been shown to interfere with their ability to determine distance. They're also terrible at adjusting for slippery surfaces.


Replace "cannot make" with "presently have a higher error rate when making". Yes, there are situations when a given brain is better than a given computer. That isn't very important, by itself. It doesn't discount the value of the computer. If anything, it argues for a complementary system rather than exclusively one or the other, but I wouldn't put a lot of faith in homilies like "humans are harder to hack". I have to put in roughly zero effort to convince someone to get trashed, drive rapidly and erratically through heavy traffic. They will do that to THEMSELVES.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:15 pm UTC

cphite wrote:Finally, humans are a lot harder to hack.
Not really.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Quercus » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:21 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
cphite wrote:Finally, humans are a lot harder to hack.
Not really.

Attacks on humans don't usually scale as well though.

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Re: Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:26 pm UTC

Sure, groups of humans are relatively hard to hack in predictable ways.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Dauric » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:32 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
cphite wrote:Finally, humans are a lot harder to hack.
Not really.

Attacks on humans don't usually scale as well though.


It depends on what you're trying to do. Let's say for instance that driving automated cars in to walls or off bridges doesn't have much of a profit margin, but driving them to a specific location (say to your national chain restaurant instead of a local mom-and-pop place) brings in the revenue.

Marketers have been hacking brains for profit with mass media for half a century, and they've been studying ways to improve their techniques the entire time. Consider how many advertisements work by telling you objective facts about their products, and how many present you with images of a happy and successful crowd of people enjoying their product, we are social creatures and fitting in to a social situation appeals directly to subconscious parts of our brains. Take a look at the decor and logos of most restaurant chains, the choice of red and yellow are not coincidental, seeing those colors sparks a hunger response in the brain. The colors Blue and Green can raise your score on an IQ test by 10 to 15 points. Black, White and Brown can reduce those scores by a similar amount.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby cphite » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:44 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
cphite wrote:On the other hand, humans can make judgement calls that computers cannot make. For example, one of the things that automated cars are still pretty horrible at is driving in bad weather. Heavy rain has been shown to interfere with their ability to determine distance. They're also terrible at adjusting for slippery surfaces.


Replace "cannot make" with "presently have a higher error rate when making". Yes, there are situations when a given brain is better than a given computer. That isn't very important, by itself.


It is important. The fact that these cars fail to complete a simple test course if you make the surface slippery is pretty important. The fact that they aren't anywhere close to recognizing, much less following, external orders given by police officers, construction crew, and so forth is pretty important. The fact that they cannot anticipate dangerous situations, but can only react to immediate obstacles, is very important.

There is more to safe driving than just reacting to stimuli, and computers aren't there yet.

It doesn't discount the value of the computer. If anything, it argues for a complementary system rather than exclusively one or the other, but I wouldn't put a lot of faith in homilies like "humans are harder to hack". I have to put in roughly zero effort to convince someone to get trashed, drive rapidly and erratically through heavy traffic. They will do that to THEMSELVES.


Yes, people get drunk or stoned, or they text, or they do various other stupid things when behind the wheel. And while those things are dangerous, they are far less dangerous than someone with malicious intent taking full control of a car, or a large number of cars. And the moment you design cars to accept wireless input and use it as instruction - which is a necessary part of any sort of automated driving scenario - you open a very wide window into someone else taking control.

Computers aren't ready to drive cars. The fact that some humans aren't good drivers doesn't change that fact.

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Re: Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:55 pm UTC

cphite wrote:Computers aren't ready to drive cars. The fact that some humans aren't good drivers doesn't change that fact.
Who has suggested otherwise?
cphite wrote:And the moment you design cars to accept wireless input and use it as instruction - which is a necessary part of any sort of automated driving scenario - you open a very wide window into someone else taking control.
Are Google's current test beds doing this? What I've see to this point is self contained excepting perhaps GPS signaling.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Trebla » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:00 pm UTC

cphite wrote:It is important. The fact that these cars fail to complete a simple test course if you make the surface slippery is pretty important. The fact that they aren't anywhere close to recognizing, much less following, external orders given by police officers, construction crew, and so forth is pretty important. The fact that they cannot anticipate dangerous situations, but can only react to immediate obstacles, is very important.

There is more to safe driving than just reacting to stimuli, and computers aren't there yet.


You seem to be underestimating where computers are...

Google may be more advanced than anyone: The tech giant says its self-driving cars are so far along, they can recognize and respond to hand signals from a cop directing traffic.

I found an article roughly a year old talking about problems with autonomous cars (probably your source since it seemed to be your exact list)... but this technology is improving amazingly fast. Last year's problems are this year's successes.

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Re: Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

Postby cphite » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:49 pm UTC

Google may be more advanced than anyone: The tech giant says its self-driving cars are so far along, they can recognize and respond to hand signals from a cop directing traffic.


Well, first off, as a general rule I prefer to have these sorts of claims, especially when they relate to safety, backed up by someone other than the company expecting to sell something.

And second, even assuming it's an accurate claim, under what conditions are they recognizing hand signals? Is this on a closed course or an actual road? What kind of lighting is necessary? Has this been tested with a variety of police officers (hand signals can vary) or with Google employees using very specific movements? Etc, etc, etc...

And the moment you design cars to accept wireless input and use it as instruction - which is a necessary part of any sort of automated driving scenario - you open a very wide window into someone else taking control.
Are Google's current test beds doing this? What I've see to this point is self contained excepting perhaps GPS signaling.


The cars will use wireless to communicate with one another and with various access points around them; they're not self-contained. Heck, you wouldn't want an automated two ton vehicle zooming around without some means of communicating with it. But any time you have communication, you have the potential for hacking.

Hacks have already been performed against normal cars, causing them to steer, apply brakes or throttle, start up or shut down; and these are cars that aren't even designed to be controlled that way.

Google has had a fairly successful run of testing, sure... but their tests are still fairly controlled. Someone is always watching. They haven't had these cars driving around truly autonomously, in real traffic, without someone paying attention.

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Re: Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

Postby Chen » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:56 pm UTC

cphite wrote:The cars will use wireless to communicate with one another and with various access points around them; they're not self-contained. Heck, you wouldn't want an automated two ton vehicle zooming around without some means of communicating with it. But any time you have communication, you have the potential for hacking.


Where is this coming from? I've not heard of any of this type of communication between cars. Most are using self-contained radar and such. The only external link, as mentioned, seems to be the GPS.

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Re: Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

Postby Dauric » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:03 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
cphite wrote:The cars will use wireless to communicate with one another and with various access points around them; they're not self-contained. Heck, you wouldn't want an automated two ton vehicle zooming around without some means of communicating with it. But any time you have communication, you have the potential for hacking.


Where is this coming from? I've not heard of any of this type of communication between cars. Most are using self-contained radar and such. The only external link, as mentioned, seems to be the GPS.


If you're using certain kinds of slipstream energy-consumption optimizing which require close formations your forward sensors are effectively useless except to tell you how many inches ahead the unit in front of you is, a following car isn't going to be able to 'watch' for road hazards, the car in front is going to be filling that field of vision. Your lead element has to communicate it's planned actions to the rest of the cars in the formation in order to maintain that formation, including detected road hazards and planned maneuvers to avoid that hazard. All of this coordination of course relies on wireless real-time communication.

Also some suggested traffic-planning schemes require vehicles to communicate with eachother and/or a regional traffic control to optimize traffic flow.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:06 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Humans can't maintain the kind of focus that's really necessary for safe driving. Computers can.

So, what, the huge numbers of people who drive daily and don't get in accidents or endanger others just don't exist?

And concentration isn't the issue with computer-driven cars. The extremely poor adaptability and generally poor judgement of automatic navigation software is.

It's just software.
So is your brain.

Oh, please. Get back to me when non-brain software is even remotely close to being as adaptable to a wide variety of situations requiring quick thinking and sound judgement.

cphite wrote:No, instead we'll only have to worry about network connectivity, accurate maps, and a perfectly functioning computer. For example, the missus and I went out driving this past weekend and several times her GPS told us to turn when there wasn't actually a road. Not a big deal when it's just a phone saying "turn right here" because you can ignore that... a bit of a potential mess when the computer is actually driving. You may trust Google to perform flawlessly at highway speeds; I'm not quite there yet.

What he said. It really does astonish me how easily people can completely blow off these concerns. It's like nobody has ever encountered buggy software before, or like they think that it's just some kind of literal inevitability that all problems with technology must have viable solutions that will inevitably be discovered. I guess that's the power of Futurism, you can just insist that some day (probably Real Soon Now!) all the problems will be solved and trust in the fact that it's unfalsifiable so long as you keep kicking it further down the road into the indefinitely near future...
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Re: Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:15 pm UTC

I don't need cars to be perfect. All I need is for them to be better than me.

Or really, to be roughly on par with me for my daily commute, so I can do something else instead when I don't feel like driving.

My toaster doesn't toast bread as well as I do if I'm carefully paying attention to browning bread in a pan, but I still use my toaster like 99.x% of the time.

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Re: Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

Postby Chen » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:21 pm UTC

Also presumably once these start becoming more widespread or put into the field, the software will start having to meet standards similar to those used in aircraft software. Something similar to DO-178 standards being applied to Software used in autonomous cars.

I'm sure people complained back in the day when people proposed controlling aircraft engines fully via computer. Didn't stop many many aircraft from moving over to FADECs which control engines FAR better than any human could.

I don't think anyone is saying these things are fully ready to go yet. But they're certainly moving that way and moving that way fast. Within a decade there will almost certainly be autonomous vehicles on the road for public use.

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Re: Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:22 pm UTC

On the other hand, you're not endangering your own life and the lives of others by making toast.

(And yes, I know that technically a toaster could start an electrical fire. But if you're making toast and you pay so little attention that you don't notice it happening, that's your problem.)
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Re: Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:27 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:On the other hand, you're not endangering your own life and the lives of others by making toast.

(And yes, I know that technically a toaster could start an electrical fire. But if you're making toast and you pay so little attention that you don't notice it happening, that's your problem.)


Any device can malfunction. One can start a fire with a pan or with a toaster. And no, I don't watch my toaster every moment it's making toast. I push the lever down, and go muck about with something else, confident that it'll ping up when it's done. I suspect everyone else does the same.

The point is that any risk is sufficiently small that I don't care about it, and convenience dominates. If a car is in a similar position, I will decide similarly.

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Re: Cars discussion, split from 'other news'

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:37 pm UTC

Also, the comparison to aircraft autopilots is quite misleading. The sky has a whole lot less stuff in a whole lot more space (even accounting for the much greater speeds that airplanes travel at,) almost no actual navigational obstacles, and the majority of the potential hazards are tracked by the same services that the autopilot gets its information from. It's not a trivial problem, to be sure, but it's a whole lot less complex than the problem of safely navigating the existing road infrastructure while safely accounting for conditions, the presence and behavior of other drivers, and the possibility of random obstacles like deer, pedestrians, hazardous junk obstructing the lane, etc. It's orders of magnitude more complicated.
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