Monday, July 10, 2017

Robots Are Hard Work

Very hard.

Yet like so many fantastical stories, there are “wizards” hidden behind the curtain — lots of them. Constructing the road to fully automated driving, it turns out, requires a lot of manual labour. 

Most companies working on this technology employ hundreds or even thousands of people, often in offshore outsourcing centres in India or China, whose job it is to teach the robo-cars to recognise pedestrians, cyclists and other obstacles. The workers do this by manually marking up or “labelling” thousands of hours of video footage, often frame by frame, taken from prototype vehicles driving around testbeds such as Silicon Valley, Pittsburgh and Phoenix. 

This is never going to work, as I keep saying.

For those people who think that a million cars on the road uploading more data to the mothership and each other constantly will solve it, the article gets into the fact that the individual cars *already* collect too much data to be transmitted in real time across cell networks and have to be transported physically.

Somewhat related: why does Uber have 14,000 employees? And that doesn't include the drivers, Who Are Not Employees So Stop Saying That.