Wednesday, April 11, 2018

You Should've Stopped At "Never"

All products get updated. Self-driving cars will constantly be updated because they will never quite work. I think this is sinking in.

Either way, people want to know when autonomous vehicles will get here, when they will be ready. Here’s the unsatisfying but correct answer: never. “The technology is constantly being updated,” says Nidhi Kalra, a roboticist who co-directs the Rand Corporation’s Center for Decision Making Under Uncertainty. “Sometimes we will talk about it as if, ‘We have this self-driving car, we have this product.’ But with software updates, there’s a new vehicle every week.”

Operating systems tend to operate constantly these days, but we've had the "iPhone" for many years now. No one says we'll never have an iPhone because it keeps getting updated.

Yes, yes, some niche activities. Corporate campus shuttles. Fixed and semi-fixed route buses. Segments of long haul trucking. These will work (though perhaps not as well the boosters think). The self-driving "taxi" will not work in a useful way any time in my lifetime. They will "work" in a "wow that's neat!" way. They already do! But not in a useful way.