Thursday, July 05, 2018

Why Won't You Stop Ramming My Car Into Your Body

Such a simple solution, really.

Drive.AI founder Andrew Ng, a former Baidu executive and one of the industry’s most prominent boosters, argues the problem is less about building a perfect driving system than training bystanders to anticipate self-driving behavior. In other words, we can make roads safe for the cars instead of the other way around. As an example of an unpredictable case, I asked him whether he thought modern systems could handle a pedestrian on a pogo stick, even if they had never seen one before. “I think many AV teams could handle a pogo stick user in pedestrian crosswalk,” Ng told me. “Having said that, bouncing on a pogo stick in the middle of a highway would be really dangerous.”

“Rather than building AI to solve the pogo stick problem, we should partner with the government to ask people to be lawful and considerate,” he said. “Safety isn’t just about the quality of the AI technology.”

I like the shift, from "pogo stick user in a pedestrian crosswalk" to "pogo stick in the middle of the highway" where it would be illegal to do so.

If we outlaw pedestrians, we will outlaw the pedestrian problem.

The great promise of self-driving cars has been that they will eliminate traffic deaths. Now Professor Confused is saying that they will eliminate traffic deaths as long as all humans are trained to change their behavior? What just happened?

If changing everyone’s behavior is on the table then let’s change everyone’s behavior today, right now, and eliminate the annual 35,000 fatalities on US roads, and the 1 million annual fatalities world-wide. Let’s do it today, and save all those lives.

Professor Confused suggests having the government ask people to be lawful. Excellent idea! The government should make it illegal for people to drive drunk, and then ask everyone to obey that law. That will eliminate half the deaths in the US immediately. Let’s just do that today!