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Comment Re:There might be light but it is not the big pict (Score 1) 122

Remind me again, how exactly did you come to exist on this earth? Oh yeah, that's right, those darned breeders.

Yeah, and look at how badly the world needs me! Why, if they and others like them hadn't brought billions of people onto this planet (just since I was born) the world would have positively ended by now!

Granted, I wouldn't be here, but I would never have been here so consequently I wouldn't miss it. There wouldn't be an I to be upset about it. Unless you subscribe to some belief about magical sky spirits who come down and inhabit all good christian babies at the time of conception (or similar) then it's irrational to argue about policies on the basis that they would have prevented your birth unless you're really something special. Are you really something special?

Comment Re:One hour of basketball dunking per day. (Score 1) 105

Perhaps we should mandate an hour of studying the Constitution every day, for an enslaved society is still enslaved, no matter how skilled they are.

If they did that, they would just tell you what to think about it just like they did when they taught you about it the first time. You know, the constitution was all sunshine and kittens there for our benefit. Remember that? More of that won't help.

Comment Re:Why the persistent underestimation? (Score 1) 62

Some of it is just good old stubbornness (heavier than air flying machines will never be possible!) and some of it is just having to overcome the assumptions based on, let's face it, manifest destiny. We can do whatever we want to those animals, because God gave them to us, and we'll make up any excuses necessary to justify it.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 244

the supposition is that at least some subset of people operating self-driving cars will be people who never touch the controls (perhaps are not allowed to touch the controls),

Once again, you speak from a position of authority which is completely devoid of evidence. How many people are currently using self-driving cars without the ability to operate a vehicle?

GP says "will be"

You say "are currently"

You also claim that there's no evidence for their argument, but that's only because you are spectacularly willfully ignorant. This is actually the definition of level 5 autonomy.

Comment Re: Thanks. Mr. Obvious (Score 1) 244

What if I refuse to purchase 'autopilot' insurance from the dealership, but then use the feature anyway. They can't force you to purchase and keep paying the monthly fee, and at this point, who knows if they lock out that feature remotely.

It is an absolute certainty that all self-driving cars (level 4 or 5) are going to be phoning home for the foreseeable future.

If I get in a crash with autopilot on, and I claim I wasn't driving so I'm not responsible, but the insurance fee to the dealer has not been paid, who foots the bill.

Under that model, obviously you would be liable, but injured parties would certainly also tend to sue the automaker.

If you say the owner would foot the bill, then you are making the claim that in the end, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for autopilot, not the manufacturer.
That's why tacking on a 'lifetime' insurance premium to the price of a new car is the only real way that makes sense

Agreed.

They're not going to do this until their accident rates are way lower than humans, because of the liability issues involved. So that's going to keep the truly autonomous vehicles pushed out into the future for some time. In the meantime, we will get more driver assistance features added into the vehicles. Many of these features are useful to the self-driving system anyway, so refining them before using them for full autonomy is a pretty darned good idea.

Comment Re:The owner should be liable (Score 1) 244

So whether that can still be considered a taxi company is debatable.

I think that if Uber is a taxi company (and let's face it, that's what it is) then it will still be a taxi company when there's no driver in the cab. I think that it will largely be a function of how you're paying. If you have better credit, you'll be able to get into a better network and you'll pay less per mile for a decent vehicle. If you have no credit, you'll have to settle for one with econoboxes or something. If you have bad credit, you might not be able to get into a ridesharing network at all, and you'll have to pay more because of the inherent risk in supporting that class of rider. Ah, capitalism. The rich get things for free, and the poor pay the most.

Of course, presumably there will be self-driving public transit. It can use smaller vehicles than buses because the reason we use buses is that human drivers are expensive and buses let us minimize the number of people one human can tote around. You'll fire up the public transit app (or log in at a public transit kiosk, or make a phone call to an automated system) and request a pickup, and it will tell you when you can have one based on when a unit can reasonably be diverted through your area. People who need wheelchair access can be grouped together (with any accompanying traffic) on vehicles with support for them, but all of them don't have to have it, so they don't all have to carry it around. Of course, they will probably still smell like bodily fluids...

Comment Re:The owner should be liable (Score 1) 244

(There will be lots of competition, there will be a lot of incentive to undercut competitors for market share, so the price should be about the same as owning my own vehicle.)

Actually, this is an interesting question. What will the price be like? I would imagine that it would actually be a lot cheaper, because of the competition. It's going to be a lot cheaper to provide you a share of a car than your own car, especially because presumably the owner is going to be an automaker or dealer for the foreseeable future. That means they'll have the opportunity to really service these vehicles in a way that doesn't normally happen with privately owned ones; even owners of expensive brands get driven away from dealer service by exorbitant fees. I have a fully documented 1997 Audi A8. It got some dealer service under warranty and extended warranty early on, and then the owner started taking it to third party shops which didn't do a very good job on a lot of things. As a result, some of the parts deteriorated. Now I'm just nabbing its transmission, which was replaced under warranty, for another car.

In addition, cars designed for this purpose are going to have a lot of interior improvements. It's going to be cheaper to swap the interior, and the interior is going to be designed for more longevity and for easier cleaning. And a user who really destroys some interior pieces is going to have to pay for them, so that's just gravy to the automaker.

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