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Comment Communication is hard (Score 1) 311

If you're a passenger, how would you tell the human driver that there's an open parking spot 4 rows over, 3 spots in? I imagine you'd be able to tell an automated car the same way.

The passenger is a human who can understand language at a human level and even then we get it wrong a lot. We currently have no computers capable of even close to that sort of level of capability and are in no danger of getting it soon.

It's probably even easier, as the automated car will likely have something like a touch screen for input, which can show you on a map and/or on a camera view exactly which spot it's taking you to. If it's the wrong one, you can correct the car verbally, or even just tap on the correct space on the touch screen.

If you are bothering to use a touch screen then you are controlling the vehicle and you may as well just grab the wheel yourself. The car can override you if you look like you will his something. Seriously, do you REALLY want to navigate a car via iPad? "Computer... wait you passed the spot. No I didn't mean that one I meant the one over there. Tap, tap, tap.... Stupid computer..." Seriously, I think you really haven't thought this through at all. You're thinking it'll be some Jetson's technology that will magically infer your intentions in fine grained detail and I think you have no idea how difficult that human interface problem really is.

Ah, I think the problem is that you're thinking of automated cars like airline flights, where you buy a ticket to a destination before you head out, and once you board you can't change anything.

Not at all. I'm pointing out that communicating anything much more complicated than an address or an intersection is going to be a REALLY hard problem to solve. I'm not saying it's impossible but it is going to be super hard to do well. Basically I don't think we are going to be able to strip out driving controls from most vehicles for a very long time.

Comment Taxis are expensive - with or without driver (Score 1) 311

But anywhere that's populated enough for a taxi service is populated enough for an autonomous taxi service.

A taxi service isn't more useful just because it doesn't have a driver. A taxi service IS available where I live and do you know how much I use it? Never! Because it is economically inefficient for me except in very rare circumstances. I drive over 30,000 miles a year and that's normal where I live. Eliminating a driver from a taxi will not change that. Owning a car is far cheaper given my transportation needs. Furthermore how do you propose I get a taxi to help me bring home a load of dirt for the garden? Or 2x4s for construction? You really going to take a taxi to the grocery store? How do you plan to store the car seats for the little ones after taking a trip to the mall in a taxi?

Seriously, you haven't really thought this through...

Comment Defintitions (Score 1) 186

Well, if you want to redefine science to suit your needs, then, sure, it's a science.

Not my definition. A science is any systematic enterprise that follows the scientific method to build and organize knowledge. Nothing more, nothing less. If your activity does not utilize the scientific method then it is by definition not science. What we typically refer to as science is what I (and others) called empirical science.

You are getting WAY to wrapped up in the word science and failing to grasp my point. I'm not arguing that math is a science in the typical use of the term or under my definition above. I didn't invent the term "formal science" and it may not even be a particularly well chosen term. Someone else did that - I'm merely communicating what it is. I didn't invent the term "empirical science". Look up their definitions and learn the distinctions and you'll understand my point. If you can't be bothered then this discussion is pointless.

Comment Failure to communicate (Score 1) 311

You just let the car drive along the lane and tell him: park here. Same decision process if you are driving yourself.

Not that simple. What does "park here" mean? Left or right side? Which lane? What if there are no defined parking spaces? Which parking lot? My airport has 3 parking decks with multiple levels each. How do you communicate all this nuance to the computer efficiently? The easiest way is simply to take over the driving physically because verbal communication in this case is actually quite difficult unless the computer can process information equally well as a human. Current state of the art is something like Siri which is no where near what would be needed to accurately navigate a car. Frankly I think people would get hugely pissed off trying to tell the car where to go rather than simply steering it themselves.

Finding a parking slot never was so easy, with autonomous cars tolerating and honouring the first come first principle and let the first car that 'booked' a parking slot indeed occupy it.

Plenty of parking does not involve neatly defined spaces. How do I tell it that I want to be backed up across the lawn to my front door? I don't think you are really appreciating the difficulty of the communication problem here. We have a hard time communicating this stuff to other humans. We're not going to be better at doing it with a computer.

And you can pick that slot ofc on your mobile or tablet.

Or I could take the MUCH easier approach of grabbing the steering wheel and navigating the car to my exact preferences myself. Telling it what to do on a smartphone is nothing more than an abstracted and clumsy form of driving. Might as well grab the wheel if you are going to do that.

Comment New and unique challenges (Score 1) 311

He uses the examples of planes and how humans are constantly correcting human errors. Okay, full automation would not have the human errors in the first place.

No, it would have it's own set of unique errors. Maybe less of them or maybe more of them. But there will be errors of some sort. Failed sensors, interference, logic errors, defective hardware, etc.

As for cars, he says most car companies are trying to enhance driver control instead of replace it.

That's because the full autonomy problem is too big. You have to break it up into bite sized pieces and solve those. Trying to eat the entire elephant in one bite simply isn't possible.

A computer does not get tired, it can look in more directions and pay attention to them all at the same time, it does not take drugs, it does not get angry.

It also is inflexible, completely literal and sometimes challenging to communicate with. I think the problem of instructing the car to take you to very specific locations will be quite challenging. How do you tell it where to park? How do you tell it to go to a place when you aren't certain of the exact destination yourself? Etc. It's much more challenging than just giving an address.

Comment Hard to direct to specific locations (Score 2) 311

I think one of the biggest problem with autonomous vehicles is directing them where you want to go. Let's say you are in a crowded parking lot and you want the car to park in the 3rd spot, 4 rows over. How do you instruct the vehicle efficiently to do that without taking control of the steering yourself? That's not an easy thing to articulate clearly. Worse, how do you tell it where to go when you don't clearly know the final destination yourself? Sometimes you don't have an address or the destination is very large like an airport.

I think autonomous vehicles might do well on major roads but I think the problem of giving specific instructions is going to be a LOT harder than many people think.

Comment Big hypotheticals (Score 1) 311

If the you can make a car that would drive significantly better then a human (accidents per mile) why wouldn't you?

Nobody is saying we shouldn't but that is a HUGE if you have there. It's very much a hypothetical right now. If you could build a rocket that could get to orbit for $1/pound launched why wouldn't you? If you could build a clean fusion reactor why wouldn't you? Same sort of questions. We aren't entirely sure it is possible though it seems worth trying to find out and people are working hard on the problem.

Comment Not an option where I live (Score 2) 311

Sure, if I own the car it should do only what I want it to when I want it to, but why should I own a car at all? I use a car only a few times a month, driving maybe 5000 miles/year total.

Let me guess, you live somewhere on the East coast or Chicago? Or one of the few other places with public transportation? Out here in the rest of the country we tend to drive a LOT more. I routinely rack up 30-40,000 miles each year. Not because I love driving so much but because work is 20 miles each way and you cannot get anywhere else without driving there. Public transportation for all practical purposes doesn't exist where I live. The infrastructure and population density simply doesn't exist for car rentals to be economically viable and self-driving cars will not change that fact.

Why should I spend $30,000 on a depreciating asset and devote 200 sq ft of space towards housing it.

A reasonable question. In my case, that depreciating asset is the only means of transportation available to get me to a job that pays a lot more than $30K. Your mileage may vary. (pun intended) It also is the only way for me to get groceries and other local shopping done. It allows me to tote my three dogs without worrying about messing up someone else's property. It allows me to come and go as I please and when I please without waiting. One of my cars is actually a lot of fun to drive.

Comment Formal science != empirical science (Score 1) 186

Don't believe everything you read on Wikipedia.

The link to wikipedia was for your convenience. The accuracy of my statement stands as computer science IS a type of formal science. This is to differentiate it from an empirical science.

Math is not a science---it's a philosophical paradigm.

Had you bothered to read what I linked to you would have understood the difference between a formal science and an empirical science. Mathematics and computer science largely fall under the banner of formal sciences though they often have a tight relationship with and are used in empirical science investigation.

The concept of a "formal science" is simply a long-winded way of defining an art or discipline.

Though I disagree with you on the "long-winded" assertion, at no time did I contradict this statement. So why are you bothering to argue the exact point I made? I never claimed mathematics was an empirical science so what is your argument?

Also, there is a good smell test to use: If you need to add "science" to the end of it, then it's not a science.

Which is nonsense like so many other rules of thumb. Environmental science, behavioral science, and plenty of other real branches of science use the word in the title. If it uses the scientific method then it is by definition a science. What words you use in the title of a branch of science is irrelevant. If it doesn't use the scientific method (astrology, homeopathy, creationism, etc) then it is by definition not a science. No other means of defining what a science is or isn't is meaningful.

Comment I'll be transparent after the advertisers are (Score 1) 406

I've been seeing more requests than ever recently to "please turn off Adblocker" while browsing.

I see the same thing and my response is basically that I'll turn it off when I am paid in cash to view the add AND all tracking data is provided to me for review and possible veto. Until then they can go perform sexual acts on themselves. Their bad business model is not my problem.

If a site is important enough to me, I'll pay a nominal fee rather than slow loading times with what is often intrusive hogwash.

Exactly. I do subscribe to a few sites that I find particularly valuable to me. The rest of them aren't valuable enough for me to worry about. If they paywall it off then I'll just go elsewhere but they aren't getting a penny from me, directly or indirectly. I'm certainly not paying for something (including in the form of personal info) before I've had a chance to evaluate the site and I never once agreed to view the ads or have my activities tracked.

Comment Dozens available (Score 1) 538

I live near Cleveland. For a reasonable sized city, there are pathetically few. I see 7 stations within a 40 mile radius from me

Then you haven't examined it closely. There are dozens of public chargers within 40 miles of downtown Cleveland.

and every one of them is located at a car dealership

No they most assuredly are not all at car dealerships.

Comment A better sort of problem (Score 1) 538

some people assume their environmental impact is lessened when they adopt certain practices or technologies, when it reality, more often, it's trading one problem for another.

Of course it is trading one problem for another but the goal is to get a better sort of problem. Everything has its drawbacks but that doesn't excuse doing nothing. There are always problems but we can minimize the ones we deal with.

Often enough, something is burning to generate it, not to mention environmental impacts from spent nuclear fuel, or damming rivers, etc.

Certainly but it's generally easier to deal with one big exhaust port than a whole bunch of little ones PLUS we aren't tied to hydrocarbons so much. Like I said, we're looking for a better sort of problem. We're not going to solve the problem in one fell swoop. The big advantage of electric vehicles aside from their relative energy efficiency is their fuel supply gets an abstraction layer. Can be powered with coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, etc. You can pick the most eco friendly combination of economically practical fuel supplies. With a gasoline engine you are tied to hydrocarbons like it or not.

Comment Vandals (Score 1) 538

Do you really want to live in a country where people get jailed for scratching a paint job on a car?

If it is my property they are vandalizing then yes I would like them to see a brief time behind bars. Clearly that is someone who lacks the maturity to live in a civilized society. Plus restitution of course for the paint job.

Science is what happens when preconception meets verification.