Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Quite often I'm happy to be proved fucking wrong, and on most issues some angry rants on this blog aren't exactly going to change the world so being wrong has few consequences other than making me look bad. You can complain more about the consequences of being wrong when I am Special Adviser to President Gritty.

My pessimism about self-driving cars isn't that they can't work at all. Obviously they kinda work now! Neato! It's that working "90%" or "95%" or "99%" or frankly even "99.9%"... just isn't good enough.

Waymo has only weeks to meet its self-imposed deadline to launch a public taxi service using fully automated cars by the end of 2018. And right now, that deadline looks tough for the company to meet.

The Information has learned that within the past month or so, due to concerns about safety, the Alphabet company put so-called “safety drivers” back behind the wheel of its most advanced prototypes, ending a year-long period in which those people generally sat in the passenger or back seat.

The rest is behind the paywall, but even if they launch it's going to be in 60 square miles, which means a (if actually square) 7.45X7.45 mile square. And, hey, progress. Skynet wasn't built in a day. If it works! But..

I have other issues, too, such as the likely diversion of massive amounts of public money/infrastructure to these things and the fact that even if they work I suspect they'll have a lot of negative effects (and some positive ones, of course), but really...I just don't think they'll work well enough to be useful and certainly the idea that they're going to useful as a viable robotaxi business model in the foreseeable future seems to be insane to me.

Happy (sort of) to be wrong!