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Comment: Re:Why do I need a license for ANY car? (Score 1) 336

by Jeremi (#49190119) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

Of course! But that's red-herring â" I'm not against driving laws. I'm against the licensing requirement â" which turned the right of free movement into a privilege.

How else would you suggest that society could make sure that people driving vehicles on public roadways have at least some basic knowledge of how to safely operate a motor vehicle? The honor system?

Comment: Re:Why do I need a license for ANY car? (Score 1) 336

by Jeremi (#49189975) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

So, where is that "clear bright line" you claimed existed?

At the boundary between your private land and the public road system.

My whole point is that the right to drive a motorized vehicle on a public road has disappeared while we weren't paying attention. It is not a right any longer. It is a privilege.

It's not clear what the distinction you are trying to make is. What is the significant difference between "a privilege" and "a right subject to safety regulations", exactly? Call it what you want, either way you are allowed to drive as long as you follow the traffic laws, but if you abuse the right/privilege, it can be taken away from you.

Comment: Re:Why do I need a license for ANY car? (Score 1) 336

by Jeremi (#49189029) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

Which bloodshed and chaos is avoided by making driving a privilege?

To give one example: chronic drunk drivers can have their licenses revoked. After that, they can no longer drive, and therefore are no longer a danger to the public.

But that ease is abuse-prone. We deliberately make it harder for the government to fight other "bloodshed and chaos"

As always, there are trade-offs to be made between freedom and safety. You clearly lean towards the "freedom" side, and that's fine, but society is not required to share your opinion about where the best place is to draw that line.

Comment: Re:Why do I need a license for ANY car? (Score 1) 336

by Jeremi (#49188993) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

And that's different from walking and bicycling on the same roads how?

Walking and (to a lesser extent) bicycling are inherently less hazardous to other people, in that there is less mass moving less quickly in areas where other people might be. As a consequence, walking and bicycling are less heavily regulated than driving.

That said, there are also regulations governing walking and bicycling -- bicyclists have to obey traffic laws when on public roads, the same as any other vehicle, and even pedestrians are forbidden to jaywalk.

Or are those activities not rights either?

You seem to think that if there is a right to do something, then that activity cannot be regulated by the government for safety reasons. The law (and common sense) disagree with you.

Comment: Re:Insurance and registration (Score 1) 336

by Jeremi (#49186605) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

Driving on the road isn't the problem, it's driving on the road and not hitting the deer that just ran into it, or avoiding the knucklehead who just swerved into your lane because he's drunk.

Actually I think that avoiding unexpected road hazards will be the self-driving car's strong point. A car can be watching in all directions, all the time, and can react within a few milliseconds to avoid a collision. Computing the best way to react is not a terribly difficult problem either, since all you need is a reasonable physics model in which the car can play out the likely results of each of its various options, and then choose the option that looks like it will yield the best result. (if you want to imagine what driving is like for a computer, imagine that time was slowed down by a factor of 1,000. You'd find that driving was more like chess and less like an arcade game)

I think the difficult parts for a self-driving car will be the parts involving communication with other human beings -- e.g. noticing that the traffic cop in the intersection is signaling that the car should stop (or go) now, or that the road cones placed between two lanes are meant to indicate that the right lane is currently closed to traffic. Compared to that, getting collision-avoidance-physics right will be fairly straightforward.

Comment: Re:Why do I need a license for ANY car? (Score 1) 336

by Jeremi (#49186561) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

I do not â" nor do I need it. Unless you are going to claim, walking or riding a bicycle may also â" some day â" become a privilege... Because there is no "clear bright line" between driving, which is a privilege already, and those other activities, which are still rights...

Actually, there is a clear bright line, and that line is the "public" in "public roads".

If you are on your own private property, you are free to drive/ride/bike however you want to. You can race non-street-legal cars at 300 miles per hour while drunk, blindfolded, nude, and not wearing a seat belt, if that's what you feel like doing.

The public road system, on the other hand, is not your personal plaything. You share it with everyone else, and as such your rights to the use of the public roads stop where other peoples' rights to that same road system start. In particular, you do not have the right to endanger other peoples' lives or property. The various rules and restrictions on how/where/who can drive all follow logically from that.

Comment: Re:Why do I need a license for ANY car? (Score 1) 336

by Jeremi (#49186545) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

Why does a free citizen of a free country need government's permission to drive on public roads to begin with?

The pragmatic answer is that some regulation of the roads is necessary in order to avoid bloodshed and chaos.

Originally there were no laws restricting how people could use their automobiles on the public roads.

Then certain people started causing problems by driving recklessly, not maintaining their vehicles, driving drunk, etc, and they were causing unacceptable levels of damage to other people and property.

To address the problem, people came up with laws to regulate driving in order to make the streets tolerably safe for everyone.

As you've probably noticed, the real world is driven more by necessity, than by abstract ideological principles. The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

Comment: Re:Really? Come on now, you should know better. (Score 4, Insightful) 336

by Jeremi (#49186471) Attached to: Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

Nothing, and that is an absolutely nothing, has ever been made by man which has been perfect.

A self-driving car does not have to be perfect. It just has to be better than the alternative.

With motor vehicles already being the number one killer in the US annually, we want human intervention early and often.

Isn't the fact that motor vehicles are already the number one killer in the US annually actually an argument for automated cars?

As stated above, a half a century has not perfected "self driving" anything else.

Five centuries of work before that never perfected heavier-than-air flying machines either, until one year, presto, all the necessary preconditions were finally met and airplanes became a reality. There's nothing linear about progress.

Comment: Re:Solution to the smuggling. (Score 1) 62

by Jeremi (#49176475) Attached to: Inside the North Korean Data Smuggling Movement

Why haven't we "smuggled" a 2,000lb JDAM into North Korea to where ol' Kimmy boy sleeps at night?

One good reason is that any outbreak of open war would very likely result in the immediate deaths of tens of thousands of South Koreans in Seoul. The South Korean capital is only 35 miles from the North Korean border, and the North Korean government is relying on a sort of mutually-assured-destruction strategy there to deter foreign attacks.

Comment: Re:Zombies versus Predators (Score 3, Insightful) 244

Humans are the most deadly predators that the planet has ever had. Killing stuff is what we're really really good at. Making weapons is something we're really really good at.

Actually, making tools and organizing labor is we're really good at. I personally have never killed anything larger than a bug in my life; I suspect a lot of other people haven't either. I've never had to, because there have always been other people who are willing to do those unpleasant tasks for me, in exchange for modest amounts of money.

Granted, I could learn those skills (and others) if I had to, but it would probably take me some days or weeks before I got good at it. It's not clear I would survive long enough to learn them.

So yes, humanity is the most deadly predator the planet has ever had. Any particular human being, OTOH, most likely is not -- we're more likely to be the most effective C++ programmer the planet has ever had, or the best Fedex deliveryman, or some other not-so-helpful-during-the-zombie-apocalypse skill.

IBM Advanced Systems Group -- a bunch of mindless jerks, who'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes... -- with regrets to D. Adams