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Zeno's Robot: Will Self-Driving Cars Really Catch On?
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Way back in 2000, my old friend J. placed a bet with a pal of his over who would pay for their dinner on December 31, 2025.

J. and his wife will eat for free if the two couples are picked up at their houses and driven to the restaurant in a robot-driven car. But he has to pay if no such vehicle can be hired and/or it’s not legal in Santa Monica.

This is a great bet because the bettors get decades of fun out of it of arguing over who is going to win. Heck, I bring the bet up a couple of times per year in conversation and I’m not even involved.

With ten years to go, J. is quite confident. Google and a number of other companies have been making much-publicized progress toward self-driving robot automobiles. Tesla right now offers an autopilot package, albeit one that requires you to sit behind the wheel ready to take control at any instant.

Commenter reiner Tor isn’t as confident:

The problem is it’ll give you back control when it encounters some problem, usually in an emergency, but even if there’s no real emergency, you’ll be totally caught with your pants down doing something else (or outright asleep) and all you’ll have is a fraction of a second to adjust because the car will be driving at 75mph. If you are in the middle of reading a book, not paying attention to the road, then how much time would you need to just make sure you now really have to drive the car (especially if the system was so good it only happened rarely), look around to see what needs to be done, and take action if needed, but avoid sudden action when no such action is needed? (Like suddenly and too forcefully turning the steering wheel or suddenly pressing the brakes with full force thus creating emergencies for other cars who will in turn stun their passengers into becoming drivers in a fraction of a second.)

It’s only useful if it never gives back control to you, which is only possible if the system running it is fully controlling the whole traffic on the highway, much the same way the whole railway traffic is controlled by the same system.

I suspect that with making robot cars safe going from 0% of the time to 90% of the time takes about as much work as going from 90% to 99%, which is as much work as going from 99% to 99.9% and so forth. (Warning: I just made up this particular learning curve. But it sounds pretty plausible.)

But there’s kind of a Zeno’s Arrow problem in this in that it may take a long time to get your self-driving car to the point where it would only kill, say, ten people a day if it were universal in America. That’s about an order of magnitude better than human driven vehicles at present, but it still sounds like a PR nightmare.

A concern I have is the beginning and ending of trips, which tend to be more chaotic than the parts in the middle where you are going fast.

I suspect navigating through parking lots is a challenge for autonomous vehicles. Google use its mapping technology to understand roads, but parking lots are full of pedestrians wandering about. I know a supermarket parking lot is stressful for me as a human driver.

In a future, a lot of parking lots might be reconfigured to make robot car dropoffs at the door simpler and more routine, but right now they typically don’t work that way. Supermarket parking lots are typically not set up to deliver passengers to the door but are instead intended to give you a place to park somewhere short of the door.

Dropping your kids off and picking them up from school is another common trip that often gets complicated at the very end. It’s more like the kind of drop-off and pick-up service you’ll expect from a robot car than a trip to the supermarkets, but it must give Google people cold sweats about the possibility of a Google car running over a small child at a school.

A lot of schools have invested over the years in improving traffic flow, but that can take decades to get it right. For example, Campbell Hall, a private K-12 in North Hollywood, was notorious for how the dropoff and pickup flow through the middle of campus was a danger to the younger students who sometimes dashed in front of cars for reason of being six years old. Finally, the school raised a lot of money to reconfigure the entire campus to reduce the traffic stress. It appears to have been a success, but it took almost 70 years from the school’s opening in 1944 to the new arrangement in 2013.

Here’s a question: Have corporate jets’ autopilots improved to the point where most executives are willing to fly with just one pilot? Back in the 1980s and 1990s when I’d sometimes fly on the corporate plane, there were always a pilot and a copilot. That was expensive, especially considering that autopilot even then could get you most of the way. But the big guys seemed to like the idea that when it came to landing, there’d be a backup human available.

It doesn’t appear that there’s any demand whatsoever from rich people for pilotless planes at present.

Cars, however, are easier to automate than planes in that if the driverless car senses, say, a child running out into the street after a ball, it can just slam on the brakes and the car won’t fall out of the sky. Two dimensions are simpler than three. There’s a reason that most American adults have driver’s licenses while very few have pilot’s licenses.

 
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  1. G Pinfold says:

    Reiner hints at the fact that the more auto-driver cars become feasible, the more they become like railway trains. Here’s the thing, driverless trains are still embryonic (Copenhagen, Singapore, sort of….) Insiders say resistance to change in this application is mainly psychological and/or trade union based, but time will tell.

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  2. In 2025, cars in LA will come equipped with an immigrant chauffeur, so the point is moot.

    The important question is, who or what will be cooking the food?

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    • Replies: @Rob McX
    The open borders crowd certainly seem to be in a race to thwart the development of AI by keeping up a supply of labour that can undercut the cost of robots. They'll be in trouble when we have robots that can do jobs only a 100+ IQ human could perform.
  3. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    You are close to an important point in system design which is new capabilities generally require new systems to take advantage. Much has been made about the difference between the lifestyle changes of late industrial age vs early information age. This is simply because society has not yet been willing or able to adopt systems which can take advantage of what computers are good at. We may never be capable of that but if anybody does its going to look like a complete overthrow of everything. It is unrealistic to believe that computer augmented transport would look like cars anymore than the internet looks like newspapers. Usually this transition is managed poorly for example WW1 and the American Civil War as shifts from militaristic government to commercial democratic government. In fact I can’t think of any examples of the transition going smoothly thought you have a better historical memory than I.

    Which isn’t to say self-driving cars won’t happen, drone cars with MMO style control and voting could allow first world cars to be driven by smart phones from around the world with prizes and money for route efficiency and safety. The tech to make that happen exists today and packing up enough to put Uber out of business would cost less than Uber has raised. Its just that as you have also frequent pointed out people like thinking certas paribus but all the real gains will come from domino style waves of change. The trick is working out what you ‘know’ that’s worth hanging on to while aggressively wiping out all of the dross, which if history is any kind of a guide will turn out to be basically nothing and everything.

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    • Replies: @AnotherDad
    This has to be one of the worst iSteve threads i've ever read. Lots of stupid "this isn't going to happen" or "this is too hard" comments.

    The difficult transitions are those where there's some sort of "hump" to get over to get to the new state. For example a better system but one that requires a huge infrastructure expense, and\or deserting a bunch of current sunk costs.

    In contrast this is an *easy* transition. It's incremental on top of the system--human driven cars--we have now, and can produce immediate incremental benefits.

    For starters auto transport is far and away our most dangerous "system". It has about a 1% chance of killing you during your lifetime. We already have systems of insurance and legal resolution. So rather than an area where the failure of the new system is uncharted, potentially legally perilous territory, automated driving only has to be "as good as typical human" to gain significant traction.

    Most people can drive adequately, but are not particularly good drivers. People are just *bad* at the core task of "paying attention". Some people are just bad at even simply "looking down the road". (The most annoying insist on looking at you when they talk--talk to the windshield jackass, i'll still hear you.) Cell phones are have made the paying attention problem much worse, plus are chipping away at folks' attention spans. And even the best drivers have human reaction times. (Which lengthen as you age.) In contrast, the automated cars can *always* pay attention, and have very fast reaction times.

    And we're already seeing the incremental technology. Cruise control long back. Then anti-lock brakes. Now we have collision avoidance systems and lane warning. We know Google has a bunch of fully autonomous vehicles already out there driving. There some obvious areas--like freeway driving, especially congested freeway driving--where it's clear automated systems can already beat what humans do, improving both safety and capacity\congestion. The capability will only ramp up. Because of the failure of humans and it's high cost, driving is actually a *ripe* area to be automated.

    Finally there's the obvious--there are huge cost savings from replacing humans. Even if the systems simply reached more or less safety parity with humans, ask yourself "does UPS want this?". They can pay for a lot of extra accidents when they are saving the cost of a driver pulling down 50-100k in wages and benefits, taking holidays and paid vacations. (Postal service, even easier to automate at the delivery end. )

    This is coming. It's not my area of expertise, i don't know timeline. But it's obviously an area where rather than some big barrier to the "brave new world", incremental improvement is both possible and already happening and the incentives for it are immediate and potentially enormous. Maybe this isn't as clear cut as the case against open immigration, but it really is at that level. There's no serious debate about this by anyone thinking critically.

  4. Lugash says:

    A copilot is required for all but the smallest corporate jets. Something like more than 6 passengers and you need a copilot.

    Airliners occasionally make completely automatic landings in zero visibility conditions. Not many airports have the equipment and they don’t advertise when they do it. I’d guess it’s technically easier than automated parallel parking, but obviously much riskier.

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    • Replies: @NickG
    Slightly off.

    Single pilot operations for small aircraft have been FAA approved since 1977, starting with the Cessna Citation I-SP.

    The max threshold for single crew operations in small certified aircraft is a take-off weights 12,500 pounds or less.

    This includes most bus jets and a number of turboprops, such as some of the Beach King Airs, which takes 13 pax. Also, the single engined Cessna 208 Caravan and the Pilatus PC12 (9 pax). There are plenty of others.

    Airliners occasionally make completely automatic landings in zero visibility conditions.

    Not yet. I understand 600 feet visibility are current IFR - Instrument Flight Rules approach minimums.

    Single crew airliners are looking more likely with GPS approaches and newer air traffic control systems.
  5. It was the FAA that required two pilots even on such tiny jets as the original 23 and 24 Lears, because the category of certification under which these airplanes were certified. Then Cessna built the first Citations, which were much more similar to a light twin in how they flew than the fighterlike Lear, which had some dangerous quirks in handling. They eventually recertificated the Citation in the category that allowed for single pilot operation, and one of the first SP Citations promptly crashed with Thurman Munson in the left seat. He was killed, and the FAA was lambasted for its ‘excessive leniency’ despite the fact that Munson’s check captain/flight instructor was in the right seat at the time. (IIRC he walked out of the wreck.)

    Light piston twins are much more in need of two pilot operation than are turboprop and light jet twins, because turbine engines are much simpler to operate. The induction and ignition systems of the free air cooled Lycoming and Continental engines still in use are unchanged from pre-WWII aircraft and require constant manual operation just as in a B-17 or DC-3, but those aircraft had a two man flight deck. The B-24 had a dedicated flight engineer and required three people to fly, which was, if not a first, definitely unusual at the time. So did the B-29 and the (wartime designed, but not flown until after the war) B-36-the last model actually required TWO flight engineers.

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    • Replies: @Taco

    The B-24 had a dedicated flight engineer and required three people to fly, which was, if not a first, definitely unusual at the time. So did the B-29
     
    Those planes also had navigators and radio operators. (Also bombardiers, radar technicians and gunners, but they probably weren't necessary for a non-combat sortie). Really, they were designed to be flown by 5 people.
  6. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    OT: you’re officially part of the alt-right, from the guy who invented the term: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4qgxP-a2Dk&t=49m08s

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    • Replies: @Colleen Pater
    Sailor is like the one of the founders of the pre MM school of alt right, now theres a lot of schools and a bit of arguing of who is isnt, the WNs want the title but I like alt Reich for them, Here is how it ought to be thought of. First rule of alt right vs cuck right- No enemies to the right. This means we wont be accepting leftist moral premises and purging ourselves based on lefty bullying. It means we can agree disagree or partially agree with a proposition. And The second rule is -All men are not created equal HBD is real regarding race gender and finer grains and important in the administering of a civilization.This does not necessarily imply hate supremacy separateness and to some schools is related to transhumanism and AI.This knowledge has implications for democracy and so for many particularly the MM derived but not all democracy is a doomed system.
  7. […] THEY’RE ALMOST HERE: Will Self-Driving Cars Really Catch on? […]

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  8. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    One thing is for sure, self-driving cars will be a boon for terrorists.

    No need to kill yourself nor risk running out of courage on the drive to the target.

    Just pack a self-driving car with explosives, place a couple of dummies in the car and give it a target.

    Sounds like a winning combination.

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    • Replies: @rod1963
    Beyond the automated bomb carrier for crazies and a way for drug lords to move drugs around without mules and patsies, these cars will be very tempting targets for computer hackers. I'm not talking about script kiddies and other wannabes but the hard cases who crack companies like Target and Home Depot like they were eggs. Oh let's not forget hostile foreign nations either who have it in for Americans.

    The first thing the bad guys will do is steal or buy one and dissect it, the same way safe crackers buy safes to learn how to crack them. Once they figure it out, they'll run a couple rich dudes off the road in some spectacular fashion or simply turn the the cars on when they are in the garage and gas pipe the people living in the house then have the car go rogue like some deranged criminal. Then watch the stock price of Google and the car manufacturer tank.

    The possibilities for mayhem with these robot cars will be endless.
    , @Anon7
    You won't need the dummies, because privately owned autonomous cars will be driving around empty a lot. You'll tell your car to go pick the kids up for school, or to drive home so the wife can use it, etc.
    , @Anonymous

    One thing is for sure, self-driving cars will be a boon for terrorists.
     
    Maybe once. Like airliners were. Then they will be regulated beyond all recognition, like air transport was.

    Drones have been around for some years now. They seem more straight forward to be perverted for illicit uses. But only a few "sneak cell phones to jail" uses made it to the news, nothing sensational so far.
  9. Hugh says:

    I prefer the approach of the oldschool auto makers which is to come up with new ways of making the driving experience easier and safer.

    Automated parking, lane control, and radar warning if you get too close to another car are all examples.

    Here in Europe automatic gear changing is still a minority taste, so don’t expect instant take up of all that is new and possible. The car is still a consumer product.

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  10. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Combining self-driving, autopilots, and drones that carry human passengers (alas, with a very short range):

    “Ehang’s autonomous helicopter promises to fly you anywhere, no pilot required”, The Verge, Ben Popper, January 6, 2016:

    “…a Chinese drone company, announced a new product at CES it’s calling the Ehang 184, an all electric quadcopter scaled up from a drone so that it’s large enough to carry a passenger. Ehang calls it an autonomous aerial vehicle, I prefer personal pilotless helicopter, but if you need to explain what it is to anyone, just say it’s a driverless car for the sky.”

    “First passenger drone makes its debut at CES”, Associated Press, Thursday 7 January 2016:

    “…The electric-powered drone can be fully charged in two hours, carry up to 100kg (220lb) and fly for 23 minutes at sea level, according to Ehang. The cabin fits one person and a small backpack and is fitted with air conditioning and a reading light. It is designed to fit, with propellers folded, in a single parking spot.

    After setting a flight plan, passengers needed only to give two commands – “take off” and “land” – done with a single click on a tablet, the company said.

    …US authorities are starting to lay out guidelines for drone use, and a human-passenger drone seems certain to face strict scrutiny.

    …A passenger would have no controls as a backup…”

    I get the impression that the idea isn’t to give people independent flying cars, but have a centrally controlled and optimized system (kind of like what people sometimes talk about for “driverless pod cars”) that is able to move people out of supercongested areas where driving is horrible to outer park-and-rides where conventional driving becomes do-able.

    Google could use something like this, at scale, around their Mountain View campus.

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    • Replies: @ivvenalis
    That thing is probably at least an order of magnitude more likely to crash before teaching its destination than an actual helicopter.
  11. rod1963 says:
    @The most deplorable one
    One thing is for sure, self-driving cars will be a boon for terrorists.

    No need to kill yourself nor risk running out of courage on the drive to the target.

    Just pack a self-driving car with explosives, place a couple of dummies in the car and give it a target.

    Sounds like a winning combination.

    Beyond the automated bomb carrier for crazies and a way for drug lords to move drugs around without mules and patsies, these cars will be very tempting targets for computer hackers. I’m not talking about script kiddies and other wannabes but the hard cases who crack companies like Target and Home Depot like they were eggs. Oh let’s not forget hostile foreign nations either who have it in for Americans.

    The first thing the bad guys will do is steal or buy one and dissect it, the same way safe crackers buy safes to learn how to crack them. Once they figure it out, they’ll run a couple rich dudes off the road in some spectacular fashion or simply turn the the cars on when they are in the garage and gas pipe the people living in the house then have the car go rogue like some deranged criminal. Then watch the stock price of Google and the car manufacturer tank.

    The possibilities for mayhem with these robot cars will be endless.

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    • Replies: @Realist
    I very much agree. A few months ago I wrote a comment about how hacking of robot cars would be a disaster. There were a number of replies to my comment, that it would not be possible to hack auto pilot cars. This is just plain stupid. Since these cars would need to get information about their surroundings hacking them would be too easy.
    , @Kaz
    Target/Home Depot hacks were nothing.

    You don't understand how laughably outdated most security is in retailers. There just isn't much emphasis on fixing it because banks/credit cards will cover the costs, and they can cancel card #s in an instant.

    There was nothing technically impressive about those hacks.

    How often do you hear of hackers hacking mobile signals (e.g. LTE) and getting internet for free?

    Never.

    How often do banks lose money to hackers, excluding social engineering (getting password from someone?)

    Never.

    Everyone has this grand image of hackers in their head, but you can't actually hack anything properly encrypted. 99.9% of hacking is social engineering.
    , @Anonymous

    The possibilities for mayhem with these robot cars will be endless.
     
    And that's exactly why there will be all kinds of new restrictions on our freedoms in order to accommodate robot cars. Feature, not a bug!
  12. Anyone notice the commonality between self-driving cars and sex robots? Both of these nerd projects apparently have the goal of de-skilling teenage boys. In 20 years we’ll have a generation of young men who won’t know how to drive, and who won’t have to acquire social skills for dating girls.

    I have to wonder if some of the same people play a role in developing both of these technologies and in propagandizing us about their alleged advantages.

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    • Replies: @The most deplorable one

    Both of these nerd projects apparently have the goal of de-skilling teenage boys.
     
    Oh come on! Concerned parents can simply program the sex bots to play hard to get and require smooth talking conversation before they hop into bed.
    , @ivvenalis
    I know this is probably tongue in cheek, but automobiles are the leading cause of death for most people too young to have heart problems, and on top of that the opportunity cost of driving is arguably very high.
  13. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:
    @advancedatheist
    Anyone notice the commonality between self-driving cars and sex robots? Both of these nerd projects apparently have the goal of de-skilling teenage boys. In 20 years we'll have a generation of young men who won't know how to drive, and who won't have to acquire social skills for dating girls.

    I have to wonder if some of the same people play a role in developing both of these technologies and in propagandizing us about their alleged advantages.

    Both of these nerd projects apparently have the goal of de-skilling teenage boys.

    Oh come on! Concerned parents can simply program the sex bots to play hard to get and require smooth talking conversation before they hop into bed.

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    • Replies: @Ken
    "Concerned parents can simply program the sex bots to play hard to get and require smooth talking conversation before they hop into bed."

    Probably easier to just rape the robot.
  14. Keep this in mind: autonomous vehicles do not need to be autonomous everywhere in order to be viable products. Look at Tesla autopilot and, soon, Cadillac’s supercruise. Good on highways, not on surface roads. People will buy that. Drive to the freeway and then let the freeway part of the commute get done by computer. Makes the commute easier.

    The range of conditions in which autonomous vehicles can operate will expand with time. As soon as an autonomous vehicle can handle some local roads a blind person who lives at a local road address an autonomous vehicle can handle can start taking trips to every place that the autonomous vehicle can go to. That’s a step-up in mobility.

    As for avoiding pedestrians in parking lots: There’s already a pedestrian collision avoidance option on some luxury cars. The tech for doing this is going to get better every year.

    Specific addresses in Santa Monica in 2025? Hard to say. But certainly some starting home addresses and destination restaurant addresses will be viable for an autonomous vehicle in 2025.

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  15. NickG says:
    @Lugash
    A copilot is required for all but the smallest corporate jets. Something like more than 6 passengers and you need a copilot.

    Airliners occasionally make completely automatic landings in zero visibility conditions. Not many airports have the equipment and they don't advertise when they do it. I'd guess it's technically easier than automated parallel parking, but obviously much riskier.

    Slightly off.

    Single pilot operations for small aircraft have been FAA approved since 1977, starting with the Cessna Citation I-SP.

    The max threshold for single crew operations in small certified aircraft is a take-off weights 12,500 pounds or less.

    This includes most bus jets and a number of turboprops, such as some of the Beach King Airs, which takes 13 pax. Also, the single engined Cessna 208 Caravan and the Pilatus PC12 (9 pax). There are plenty of others.

    Airliners occasionally make completely automatic landings in zero visibility conditions.

    Not yet. I understand 600 feet visibility are current IFR – Instrument Flight Rules approach minimums.

    Single crew airliners are looking more likely with GPS approaches and newer air traffic control systems.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Are runway lighting systems a lot brighter than a generation ago? My recollection is that LAX got shutdown all the time by fog in the 1970s-1980s, but that doesn't seem to happen as much anymore.

    Fedex chose Memphis as its hub because it was a centrally located airport without fog shutdowns.

    , @Former Darfur
    Category IIIc approaches -zero-zero- were designed for and demonstrated decades ago in transport aircraft, but not approved for general use.
    , @Pomegranate
    You can get way below 600 feet on an instrument approach. In the Navy we would go down to sub 200 routinely on PAR approaches. That's a neat Navy trick, but plenty of civilian approaches go lower than 600.
  16. ralph says:

    Does Camphell Hall have a yellow school bus service? I sometimes see private schools in LA with no buses.

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  17. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    I wonder how many of Google’s self-driving car engineers have school-age kids. Steve brings up the killer app test.

    Of course, the problem could be partially solved with low tech approaches. The famous bus system in Curatiba ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rede_Integrada_de_Transporte ) offers a starting point. Maybe the school door opens into a tube similar to a Curitiba bus station, one narrow enough that the kids have to stand single file, until it widens out into a bulb at the end with room enough for 4 adults or an equivalent number of kids to stand. The self-driving car pulls up flush to the end of the tube, both doors open, and the adult ushers a handful of kids in the car, both doors close, and the car drives off. Then the next self-driving car pulls up, and the process repeats.

    Each kid has an electronic bracelet the car can read, so it knows their home addresses and takes the most economical route to take them home. At that point, you could still have a kid run into traffic instead of going into his home, but for kids below a certain age, the car could be programmed to not let them out unless there’s an adult with the right bracelet in close proximity. If not, it takes the kid back to the school, or to some other safe location.

    The other alternative would be to have a homogenous, high-trust society like Japan’s, where the little kids just take public transportation home from school.

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    • Replies: @jon

    The other alternative would be to have a homogenous, high-trust society like Japan’s, where the little kids just take public transportation home from school.
     
    I've seen this traveling around Asia - amazing.
    , @Rob McX
    When you get to that stage, you have to wonder if there would be any need to send children to school, except for the purpose of taking them off their parents' hands during working hours. The technology that could provide such sophisticated transportation could be applied to teaching too. Who's to say teachers - human ones, at least - are indispensable?
  18. @NickG
    Slightly off.

    Single pilot operations for small aircraft have been FAA approved since 1977, starting with the Cessna Citation I-SP.

    The max threshold for single crew operations in small certified aircraft is a take-off weights 12,500 pounds or less.

    This includes most bus jets and a number of turboprops, such as some of the Beach King Airs, which takes 13 pax. Also, the single engined Cessna 208 Caravan and the Pilatus PC12 (9 pax). There are plenty of others.

    Airliners occasionally make completely automatic landings in zero visibility conditions.

    Not yet. I understand 600 feet visibility are current IFR - Instrument Flight Rules approach minimums.

    Single crew airliners are looking more likely with GPS approaches and newer air traffic control systems.

    Are runway lighting systems a lot brighter than a generation ago? My recollection is that LAX got shutdown all the time by fog in the 1970s-1980s, but that doesn’t seem to happen as much anymore.

    Fedex chose Memphis as its hub because it was a centrally located airport without fog shutdowns.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I think there was a freak ice storm there in the late '90s that delayed all FedEx shipments.
  19. I have my doubts about the correctness of the Zeno paradox thing here.

    I would guess that the very situations which we ourselves imagine would create the most difficult scenario for a self driving car — where a crash is about to take place — are the situations in which the self driving cars will do far better than a human driver.

    It takes us a good deal of time to process something dangerous, but a computer with the proper sensors should be able to figure that out almost instantaneously, and know what the best response to it is to avoid a crash or reduce its harm. The physics here, of the objects in question and the car itself, and of the brakes and/or accelerator and/or steering, are pretty basic and easy to compute. (To me, there seems to be analogy here to how many people used to think that the hardest thing to get a computer to do was play chess well, when, in fact, it was among the easier things to accomplish).

    The things that seem to elude the systems at this stage seem instead to be odd things one wouldn’t really anticipate. Evidently, the Tesla self-driving car, as I recollect, did some weird thing when it came to certain exits on a freeway, going off when they shouldn’t. But those are presumably things that are ultimately pretty tractable, once known.

    What I personally would worry about more would be situations which are more predictably difficult, such as bad weather or night driving, where the information from the sensors may be greatly impaired.

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  20. G Pinfold says:

    It’s easy to imagine, but why be terrestrial-bound? The unique selling point to raise the billions would surely be to float safely above the potholes, gridlock, mangy dogs, aggro humans and revenue-raising highway cops. This thing can’t run until it leapfrogs.

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  21. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Detroit has a light rail system that nobody uses and that loses money. It’s also terribly named. It’s called the “Detroit People Mover”:

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    For a "people mover" to work you actually have to have some people that want to be moved.
  22. Kaz says:

    Pedestrians are easy for a self-driving car.

    They have complete omniscience of what’s around them in a 360 degree radius with sensors. The only issue is pedestrians coming out of something like obscured corners the same way they are big issues for humans, if cars are connected and share information, probably not an issue at all.

    The real issue is can we get sensors that work in all conditions? Eventually I hope so, we’ll have to. Decision making is the easy part with these cars.

    Also if self-driving cars become a thing our whole country will be reshaped to fit them.

    There will be very clear divisions between traveling zones and drop off zones. It won’t be possible for pedestrians to cross into traveling zones, same for cars in pedestrian zones. We won’t need parking lots, cars will just drop off and go to centralized area until someone else calls for them (like automatic taxis). We won’t own our own cars, we’ll subscribe to a service that sends a car whenever we need one.

    Cars will congregate in a local standy by area where they detect higher density, people can schedule cars to be somewhere, e.g. before they leave for work.

    If we can truly get self-driving cars working, the whole world will change. Cars are cheap, private, and it’s easy to build a ‘track’ for them. People will always prefer cars over public transportation, bikes, etc..

    What I look forward to most is all of the jerks who are sitting on and overvaluing the land in prime city areas and see their values crumble. Who cares if I live 30 miles away from Manhattan, I can just take a nap/work while I commute there.

    Density won’t be a concern with self-driving cars. We’ll be able to travel the same distance in half the time, and we can do whatever we want while we wait.

    I hope haha..

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    You can already nap/work on busses and trains, but nothing beats waking up in a city when you have business there. When I dated a woman who lived in midtown Manhattan, I'd stay over when I had morning meetings in the city the next day. I could get up at 8am, take a half hour to shower and get dressed, and make a 9am meeting pretty much anywhere in midtown or downtown.

    To do the same from where I live, which is only a few miles west of Manhattan, I'd have to get up a couple of hours earlier to beat the worst of rush hour by car or by car + ferry (Maybe I'd have to get up just an hour earlier to go by bus during rush hour, but I wasn't a fan of busses).
    , @jon

    Density won’t be a concern with self-driving cars. We’ll be able to travel the same distance in half the time, and we can do whatever we want while we wait.
     
    Yeah, something you don't hear much about, but probably true - self-driving cars will send people back to the suburbs and increase sprawl outside of urban cores.
    , @Anonymous

    What I look forward to most is all of the jerks who are sitting on and overvaluing the land in prime city areas and see their values crumble. Who cares if I live 30 miles away from Manhattan, I can just take a nap/work while I commute there.
     
    I don't see why the mass transit station model will change under this scenario. Suburban robot cars will take you from home to a mass transit station where you change modes to be consolidated with other passengers for transit into the central city. They will likely ban personal car traffic entirely from the central city and reserve streets for emergency and commercial delivery traffic. Much of the current street right-of-way for vehicles will be replaced by dedicated pedestrian, cycling and mass transit right-of-way so it will still be advantageous to live close to work.
    , @Pittsburgh Thatcherite
    We are not maximizing wealth creation when a venture capitalist is sitting in traffic congestion next to a maid.

    We should charge a congestion fee on every road, and raise the fee in real time until the road is not congested.

    Therefore, no road would ever be congested.

    High-income people would always be able to drive fast, even at rush hour.

    Low-income people could cluster into buses.
    , @Pittsburgh Thatcherite
    Shared driverless cars and congestion pricing will result in transportation that is always fast and inexpensive.

    This will change the structure of cities.

    No need to own a car, houses do not need garages, offices and malls do not need parking lots, cities do not need to build mass transit systems.

    Today, a city’s roads intersect in a central hub, surrounded by concentric loops.
    In the future, roads will be a simple grid, which can be extended infinitely.

    Shared driverless cars and congestion pricing will enable the creation of new continent-sized cities that move people and goods more efficiently than existing cities.
    , @Vendetta
    This country can't even get trains to run on time. Your dream system will be gridlocked to shit, you'll be treated like an airline passenger, you'll no longer be free to bring whatever you damn please since it's no longer your car (no food unless you pay the additional cleanup service charge, no cigarettes if you smoke, etc. etc.), you'll probably have some other asshole who's done spilled his drink on the seats anyway and they haven't bothered cleaning the car yet since the system is backed up and they're an hour late getting it to you anyway. And of course you'll be on camera the whole time and nickel and dimed if you so much as fart in the wrong direction.

    Fuck that. Soviet boondoggle.
  23. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer
    Are runway lighting systems a lot brighter than a generation ago? My recollection is that LAX got shutdown all the time by fog in the 1970s-1980s, but that doesn't seem to happen as much anymore.

    Fedex chose Memphis as its hub because it was a centrally located airport without fog shutdowns.

    I think there was a freak ice storm there in the late ’90s that delayed all FedEx shipments.

    Read More
  24. Unlike the early Beach Boys’ great hits, no one will ever compose a passionate pop paean to a driverless car.

    Read More
  25. @NickG
    Slightly off.

    Single pilot operations for small aircraft have been FAA approved since 1977, starting with the Cessna Citation I-SP.

    The max threshold for single crew operations in small certified aircraft is a take-off weights 12,500 pounds or less.

    This includes most bus jets and a number of turboprops, such as some of the Beach King Airs, which takes 13 pax. Also, the single engined Cessna 208 Caravan and the Pilatus PC12 (9 pax). There are plenty of others.

    Airliners occasionally make completely automatic landings in zero visibility conditions.

    Not yet. I understand 600 feet visibility are current IFR - Instrument Flight Rules approach minimums.

    Single crew airliners are looking more likely with GPS approaches and newer air traffic control systems.

    Category IIIc approaches -zero-zero- were designed for and demonstrated decades ago in transport aircraft, but not approved for general use.

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  26. Lamb says:

    1. I think that driverless cars are such a big convenience (for many people, 1-2 hours of time each day) that people will readily adopt them even if there are some safety concerns.

    2. Deep Learning for vision is advancing so quickly that I think that cars will be really good at detecting pedestrians and navigating organic spaces like parking lots. They will be downright superhuman, and will probably only fail in cases where human drivers would have also failed.

    3. I like the idea of a car driving without any human involvement at all. It would be cool to think of the car driving someone to work in the morning, and then providing intercity transit during the day. It would also solve parking issues, because the car could park itself after dropping off the human passenger.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    You know how we're all concerned about the power the SJW/lefty authoritarians have over our activities online? Now imagine them having that same power over most of our offline activities as well. That's the potential of self-driving cars.

    Say you want to make a 2am run to Taco Bell. You summon a self-driving car and enter your destination. The car measures your weight and body fat, and its Bloomberg Chip rejects your destination.

    Or, say you summon a self-driving car to go the pub, after an argument with your spouse. She uses her smart phone to falsely accuse you of domestic violence, and that triggers the car to deliver you to your local police station instead for a debriefing.

    The flip side of autonomous cars is less autonomy for you.
  27. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Kaz
    Pedestrians are easy for a self-driving car.

    They have complete omniscience of what's around them in a 360 degree radius with sensors. The only issue is pedestrians coming out of something like obscured corners the same way they are big issues for humans, if cars are connected and share information, probably not an issue at all.

    The real issue is can we get sensors that work in all conditions? Eventually I hope so, we'll have to. Decision making is the easy part with these cars.

    Also if self-driving cars become a thing our whole country will be reshaped to fit them.

    There will be very clear divisions between traveling zones and drop off zones. It won't be possible for pedestrians to cross into traveling zones, same for cars in pedestrian zones. We won't need parking lots, cars will just drop off and go to centralized area until someone else calls for them (like automatic taxis). We won't own our own cars, we'll subscribe to a service that sends a car whenever we need one.

    Cars will congregate in a local standy by area where they detect higher density, people can schedule cars to be somewhere, e.g. before they leave for work.

    If we can truly get self-driving cars working, the whole world will change. Cars are cheap, private, and it's easy to build a 'track' for them. People will always prefer cars over public transportation, bikes, etc..

    What I look forward to most is all of the jerks who are sitting on and overvaluing the land in prime city areas and see their values crumble. Who cares if I live 30 miles away from Manhattan, I can just take a nap/work while I commute there.

    Density won't be a concern with self-driving cars. We'll be able to travel the same distance in half the time, and we can do whatever we want while we wait.

    I hope haha..

    You can already nap/work on busses and trains, but nothing beats waking up in a city when you have business there. When I dated a woman who lived in midtown Manhattan, I’d stay over when I had morning meetings in the city the next day. I could get up at 8am, take a half hour to shower and get dressed, and make a 9am meeting pretty much anywhere in midtown or downtown.

    To do the same from where I live, which is only a few miles west of Manhattan, I’d have to get up a couple of hours earlier to beat the worst of rush hour by car or by car + ferry (Maybe I’d have to get up just an hour earlier to go by bus during rush hour, but I wasn’t a fan of busses).

    Read More
  28. notorious for how the dropoff and pickup flow through the middle of campus was a danger to the younger students who sometimes dashed in front of cars for reason of being six years old

    Bug or feature?

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  29. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Lamb
    1. I think that driverless cars are such a big convenience (for many people, 1-2 hours of time each day) that people will readily adopt them even if there are some safety concerns.

    2. Deep Learning for vision is advancing so quickly that I think that cars will be really good at detecting pedestrians and navigating organic spaces like parking lots. They will be downright superhuman, and will probably only fail in cases where human drivers would have also failed.

    3. I like the idea of a car driving without any human involvement at all. It would be cool to think of the car driving someone to work in the morning, and then providing intercity transit during the day. It would also solve parking issues, because the car could park itself after dropping off the human passenger.

    You know how we’re all concerned about the power the SJW/lefty authoritarians have over our activities online? Now imagine them having that same power over most of our offline activities as well. That’s the potential of self-driving cars.

    Say you want to make a 2am run to Taco Bell. You summon a self-driving car and enter your destination. The car measures your weight and body fat, and its Bloomberg Chip rejects your destination.

    Or, say you summon a self-driving car to go the pub, after an argument with your spouse. She uses her smart phone to falsely accuse you of domestic violence, and that triggers the car to deliver you to your local police station instead for a debriefing.

    The flip side of autonomous cars is less autonomy for you.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    Yes! I wonder if it says more about the Orwellian potential of "smart" technology or me that the very first thing I thought of when I heard about smart cars was me being wanted by the police, my car locking me in, pulling me over and making me wait by the side of the road for my inevitable arrest. Which doesn't sound so bad, but if they can do that before long a hand will emerge from my dashboard to slap me every time I make a fresh comment about the fairer sex, or whatever is in fashion to hate.
  30. Realist says:
    @rod1963
    Beyond the automated bomb carrier for crazies and a way for drug lords to move drugs around without mules and patsies, these cars will be very tempting targets for computer hackers. I'm not talking about script kiddies and other wannabes but the hard cases who crack companies like Target and Home Depot like they were eggs. Oh let's not forget hostile foreign nations either who have it in for Americans.

    The first thing the bad guys will do is steal or buy one and dissect it, the same way safe crackers buy safes to learn how to crack them. Once they figure it out, they'll run a couple rich dudes off the road in some spectacular fashion or simply turn the the cars on when they are in the garage and gas pipe the people living in the house then have the car go rogue like some deranged criminal. Then watch the stock price of Google and the car manufacturer tank.

    The possibilities for mayhem with these robot cars will be endless.

    I very much agree. A few months ago I wrote a comment about how hacking of robot cars would be a disaster. There were a number of replies to my comment, that it would not be possible to hack auto pilot cars. This is just plain stupid. Since these cars would need to get information about their surroundings hacking them would be too easy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Russell
    The difficulty of hacking depends on how much of their information is provided by their sense and how much is provided by external communications.
    Some influential players believe that Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) is both not necessary and not, at least initially, desirable .
    The reason given is as you stated, security.
    Google's car which is the only one anywhere near approaching total autonomy relies on google maps, and no other external communications (AFAIK) for its operation.
    This seems like the best approach for now.
    On a general note, awareness of the technology and further development will be aided by delivery drones.
    http://techcrunch.com/2015/11/05/skype-co-founders-launch-the-starship-ground-drone-for-deliveries/
  31. Pat Casey says:

    Like the man said its funny how you can remember some things and some things you can’t. I don’t even remember what the name of that Evangelical book series was, maybe The Rapture, but anyways I never read it, since being Catholic, the commercialism, or commercialization, of its phenomenon struck my sensibility repugnant, and yet the one thing I can say about those books is the only thing I know, and only remember for being kinda peculiar, the setting I know it from I mean, but which is that they claim two pilots are the policy cause the Rapture might ghost the captain, and no good pilot would sit to see risk to their ship, over the moment of orchasm.

    Orchasm: The horrifying gulf between the picture of compatibility your imagination conjures up as you prepare for a blind date and what gets served up by the cold hand of reality. Don’t worry: they are thinking the same thing, and they, too, would find lap dancing for their family less embarrassing.

    http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2008/apr/19/1

    I suppose robot cars will be available about as soon as MIT computers can contain infinity. I guess the point being infinity can’t belong to a computer and people are not robots. But I encourage futurists in their endeavors.

    I would never want to drive a robot much less actually bet when I would drive one. That would be a bet, like if I found a lottery ticket, I would try to give that lottery ticket away because I wouldn’t want to be the winner who owned it, take it I’d say I said, see art and ride infinity, jimmy crickets get Mel Gibson on the phone my bank accounts not big enough to fit a fuckin robot car fortune. Then I guessed I was stuck with it, and were I to win, well I guess I’d know when I did. But gracious me let my neighbors maybe know but if the gray lady wants to write feverishly well let her find some library. The mind wonders. I forget where that first line even came from.

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  32. jon says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    I wonder how many of Google's self-driving car engineers have school-age kids. Steve brings up the killer app test.

    Of course, the problem could be partially solved with low tech approaches. The famous bus system in Curatiba ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rede_Integrada_de_Transporte ) offers a starting point. Maybe the school door opens into a tube similar to a Curitiba bus station, one narrow enough that the kids have to stand single file, until it widens out into a bulb at the end with room enough for 4 adults or an equivalent number of kids to stand. The self-driving car pulls up flush to the end of the tube, both doors open, and the adult ushers a handful of kids in the car, both doors close, and the car drives off. Then the next self-driving car pulls up, and the process repeats.

    Each kid has an electronic bracelet the car can read, so it knows their home addresses and takes the most economical route to take them home. At that point, you could still have a kid run into traffic instead of going into his home, but for kids below a certain age, the car could be programmed to not let them out unless there's an adult with the right bracelet in close proximity. If not, it takes the kid back to the school, or to some other safe location.

    The other alternative would be to have a homogenous, high-trust society like Japan's, where the little kids just take public transportation home from school.

    The other alternative would be to have a homogenous, high-trust society like Japan’s, where the little kids just take public transportation home from school.

    I’ve seen this traveling around Asia – amazing.

    Read More
  33. jon says:
    @Kaz
    Pedestrians are easy for a self-driving car.

    They have complete omniscience of what's around them in a 360 degree radius with sensors. The only issue is pedestrians coming out of something like obscured corners the same way they are big issues for humans, if cars are connected and share information, probably not an issue at all.

    The real issue is can we get sensors that work in all conditions? Eventually I hope so, we'll have to. Decision making is the easy part with these cars.

    Also if self-driving cars become a thing our whole country will be reshaped to fit them.

    There will be very clear divisions between traveling zones and drop off zones. It won't be possible for pedestrians to cross into traveling zones, same for cars in pedestrian zones. We won't need parking lots, cars will just drop off and go to centralized area until someone else calls for them (like automatic taxis). We won't own our own cars, we'll subscribe to a service that sends a car whenever we need one.

    Cars will congregate in a local standy by area where they detect higher density, people can schedule cars to be somewhere, e.g. before they leave for work.

    If we can truly get self-driving cars working, the whole world will change. Cars are cheap, private, and it's easy to build a 'track' for them. People will always prefer cars over public transportation, bikes, etc..

    What I look forward to most is all of the jerks who are sitting on and overvaluing the land in prime city areas and see their values crumble. Who cares if I live 30 miles away from Manhattan, I can just take a nap/work while I commute there.

    Density won't be a concern with self-driving cars. We'll be able to travel the same distance in half the time, and we can do whatever we want while we wait.

    I hope haha..

    Density won’t be a concern with self-driving cars. We’ll be able to travel the same distance in half the time, and we can do whatever we want while we wait.

    Yeah, something you don’t hear much about, but probably true – self-driving cars will send people back to the suburbs and increase sprawl outside of urban cores.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    That's a big question.

    If gasoline is $2 per gallon and I can work in my car, why wouldn't I want a big cheap house in the exurbs instead of an small expensive apartment in the city?

    Similarly, much of the movement toward the city is driven by drunk driving crackdowns, but if I can drink and have my Google car drive me home, why pay to live in the city?

  34. Kaz says:
    @rod1963
    Beyond the automated bomb carrier for crazies and a way for drug lords to move drugs around without mules and patsies, these cars will be very tempting targets for computer hackers. I'm not talking about script kiddies and other wannabes but the hard cases who crack companies like Target and Home Depot like they were eggs. Oh let's not forget hostile foreign nations either who have it in for Americans.

    The first thing the bad guys will do is steal or buy one and dissect it, the same way safe crackers buy safes to learn how to crack them. Once they figure it out, they'll run a couple rich dudes off the road in some spectacular fashion or simply turn the the cars on when they are in the garage and gas pipe the people living in the house then have the car go rogue like some deranged criminal. Then watch the stock price of Google and the car manufacturer tank.

    The possibilities for mayhem with these robot cars will be endless.

    Target/Home Depot hacks were nothing.

    You don’t understand how laughably outdated most security is in retailers. There just isn’t much emphasis on fixing it because banks/credit cards will cover the costs, and they can cancel card #s in an instant.

    There was nothing technically impressive about those hacks.

    How often do you hear of hackers hacking mobile signals (e.g. LTE) and getting internet for free?

    Never.

    How often do banks lose money to hackers, excluding social engineering (getting password from someone?)

    Never.

    Everyone has this grand image of hackers in their head, but you can’t actually hack anything properly encrypted. 99.9% of hacking is social engineering.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Kaz said, ".....99.9% of hacking is social engineering."

    Agree. I think that a lot of hacking is an inside job. For example, you are a DBA on the Oracle DB that runs Target, and some guy offers you $10k for a dump of the accounts table. You disable logging on Oracle, dump the data to a thumb drive and walk out. Easy peasy.

    Or, you give someone the root password and open a port to the Oracle DB. Erase the logs afterwards and you are home free.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
  35. @jon

    Density won’t be a concern with self-driving cars. We’ll be able to travel the same distance in half the time, and we can do whatever we want while we wait.
     
    Yeah, something you don't hear much about, but probably true - self-driving cars will send people back to the suburbs and increase sprawl outside of urban cores.

    That’s a big question.

    If gasoline is $2 per gallon and I can work in my car, why wouldn’t I want a big cheap house in the exurbs instead of an small expensive apartment in the city?

    Similarly, much of the movement toward the city is driven by drunk driving crackdowns, but if I can drink and have my Google car drive me home, why pay to live in the city?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Polynikes
    Is drunk driving crack downs really a driving factor?

    I moved to a smallerish, but nice, downtown city from a small town. As a drinker, I have to say that one of the nicest benefits is having a hundred or so (very rough estimate) bars and restaurants within walking or a 5 dollar uber distance. That's up from about 3 at my old town (no burr and not very walkable).

    Still it isn't one of the reasons I moved, but it may be one of the reasons I don't want to move out. I would say the crack down on drunk driving combined with smart phone prevalence are the two main forces behind uber.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    If gasoline is $2 per gallon and I can work in my car, why wouldn’t I want a big cheap house in the exurbs instead of an small expensive apartment in the city?
     
    Silly. If you could work in your car, you could work in your house. (More room there, too!) Why live in a suburb when you could live in a pleasant small town? No traffic, and you can still walk.
    , @Alec Leamas
    Herein lies the problem: in my suburban county outside of Philadelphia, it is approximated that 40% of the criminal docket is DUI offenses. That means several judges, attorneys, and countless police officers owe their livelihoods to people driving drunk and getting caught. They're also the sorts of people who know well and make political contributions to state representatives as individuals and through their political organizations and PACs. I would predict that long after automobile autopilot programs are proven safer than stone sober drivers it will still be a requirement that a licensed adult in the car be within the legal limit on the pretext that an emergent situation could arise and require sober operation of the vehicle.
  36. Big piston twin-engined aircraft are complicated. You have a throttle, mixture, and propeller pitch control for each engine. If you lose an engine in a high stress situation, it’s distressingly possible to inadvertantly shut off the still-working engine.

    I think that the B-17 had a flight engineer, but he doubled as the top-turret gunner. I’m not surprised that the B-36 needed two flight engineers, as it had ten engines: four turbojets and six large piston engines. I had a distant cousin (now deceased) who flew the B-36. He said that he hated it–something always went wrong on a flight.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    My vague impression is that B-36 crew members regularly had to crawl out inside the wings and fiddle with the engines.
  37. @Diversity Heretic
    Big piston twin-engined aircraft are complicated. You have a throttle, mixture, and propeller pitch control for each engine. If you lose an engine in a high stress situation, it's distressingly possible to inadvertantly shut off the still-working engine.

    I think that the B-17 had a flight engineer, but he doubled as the top-turret gunner. I'm not surprised that the B-36 needed two flight engineers, as it had ten engines: four turbojets and six large piston engines. I had a distant cousin (now deceased) who flew the B-36. He said that he hated it--something always went wrong on a flight.

    My vague impression is that B-36 crew members regularly had to crawl out inside the wings and fiddle with the engines.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    My cousin didn't mention that, although the wing roots were thick enough to provide access to the engines in flight. (The noise must have been incredible!) I've read the B-36's engine configuration had two problems. First, putting the engines in the wings meant that the prop blades moved in and out of the slipstream, creating stress on the blades and the propeller shaft. Most pusher configurations place the engines on nacelles either aft on the fuselage or over the wings. Second, the engine was not designed as a pusher engine and it had carburetor icing problems. There may have been a program to convert the B-36 to a tractor configuration, but the advent of the all-jet B-52 made it pointless. I think the B-36 was sometimes called "The Aluminum Overcast."
  38. @Steve Sailer
    My vague impression is that B-36 crew members regularly had to crawl out inside the wings and fiddle with the engines.

    My cousin didn’t mention that, although the wing roots were thick enough to provide access to the engines in flight. (The noise must have been incredible!) I’ve read the B-36′s engine configuration had two problems. First, putting the engines in the wings meant that the prop blades moved in and out of the slipstream, creating stress on the blades and the propeller shaft. Most pusher configurations place the engines on nacelles either aft on the fuselage or over the wings. Second, the engine was not designed as a pusher engine and it had carburetor icing problems. There may have been a program to convert the B-36 to a tractor configuration, but the advent of the all-jet B-52 made it pointless. I think the B-36 was sometimes called “The Aluminum Overcast.”

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    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    There is a B-36 at the Air Force museum in Dayton Ohio along with lots of other cool planes. Highly recommended.
  39. Polynikes says:
    @Steve Sailer
    That's a big question.

    If gasoline is $2 per gallon and I can work in my car, why wouldn't I want a big cheap house in the exurbs instead of an small expensive apartment in the city?

    Similarly, much of the movement toward the city is driven by drunk driving crackdowns, but if I can drink and have my Google car drive me home, why pay to live in the city?

    Is drunk driving crack downs really a driving factor?

    I moved to a smallerish, but nice, downtown city from a small town. As a drinker, I have to say that one of the nicest benefits is having a hundred or so (very rough estimate) bars and restaurants within walking or a 5 dollar uber distance. That’s up from about 3 at my old town (no burr and not very walkable).

    Still it isn’t one of the reasons I moved, but it may be one of the reasons I don’t want to move out. I would say the crack down on drunk driving combined with smart phone prevalence are the two main forces behind uber.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I would think it is. A DUI conviction can cost thousands of dollars, and, in some highly-regulated fields, can cost you your job.

    But another factor is probably sex. If you hit it off with a girl in a bar in a city, you've got a better shot of her sharing a cab with you back to your apartment in the city than, say, getting in your car and driving back with you to the suburbs, or getting in her car and following you, or taking the train with you.

  40. @Steve Sailer
    That's a big question.

    If gasoline is $2 per gallon and I can work in my car, why wouldn't I want a big cheap house in the exurbs instead of an small expensive apartment in the city?

    Similarly, much of the movement toward the city is driven by drunk driving crackdowns, but if I can drink and have my Google car drive me home, why pay to live in the city?

    If gasoline is $2 per gallon and I can work in my car, why wouldn’t I want a big cheap house in the exurbs instead of an small expensive apartment in the city?

    Silly. If you could work in your car, you could work in your house. (More room there, too!) Why live in a suburb when you could live in a pleasant small town? No traffic, and you can still walk.

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  41. Wilkey says:

    OT: Yet another prosperous, red-blooded American city with a water problem. This time it’s Crystal City, Texas, with a name that sounds like it must certainly must be filled with white, Republican evangicals.

    Oh wait. In a Crystal City story unrelated to the water problem: “Indicted were Mayor Richardo Lopez; council members Rogelio Mata and Roel Mata; former council member Gilbert Urrabazo; and William James Jonas, who served as city manager and city attorney. Ngoc Tri Nguyen, a businessman, was also indicted…Councilman Margo Rodriguez was indicted January 27 on unrelated federal charges of smuggling undocumented immigrants, KSAT reported.

    That’s a lot of news in one month for a city of just 7,000 people. It’s not the first time a slew of Crystal City officials have been indicted. It happened back in 1976, as well. But it should be all ok once these good Latinos assimilate to American ways. Crystal City (95% Latino) has only been overwhelmingly Mexican-American since at least the early 60s.

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  42. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Anonymous
    Detroit has a light rail system that nobody uses and that loses money. It's also terribly named. It's called the "Detroit People Mover":

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBl5YxHR89w

    For a “people mover” to work you actually have to have some people that want to be moved.

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    For a “people mover” to work you actually have to have some people that want to be moved.
     
    Ah, but the people of Detroit do want to be moved. Unfortunately (for Detroiters) the people mover doesn't extend to Bloomfield Hills.
  43. OT but very iSteve – Jats Want Gimmedats

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-35624547

    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-jat-agitation-list-of-trains-cancelled-on-western-railways-2180448

    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-jat-stir-civil-aviation-ministry-asks-airlines-to-operate-additional-flights-to-chandigarh-amritsar-and-jaipur-2180404

    “The Jats are currently listed as upper caste. They argue this puts them at a disadvantage in government jobs and at state-run educational institutes and are demanding job quotas similar to those granted to lower castes.

    At least nine people were killed as violence continued on Saturday. Protesters went on the rampage despite a curfew and the deployment of the army, which is reported to have opened fire on them in the districts of Rohtak and Jhajjar.

    The violence has forced the closure of several key roads and national highways, and paralysed the railway system in north India. The bus service between India and Pakistan has been affected, too, with passengers left stranded. On Friday protesters in Rohtak hurled rocks at security forces while blocking traffic, attacking vehicles and attempting to set the finance minister’s home on fire.

    The local Delhi government has approached the Supreme Court seeking its intervention in the water crisis. A year ago, the Supreme Court removed Jats from the list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) benefiting from the system. “

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon7
    No kidding.

    India's constitution, adopted in 1950, inaugurated the world's oldest and farthest-reaching affirmative action programme, guaranteeing scheduled castes and tribes - the most disadvantaged groups in Hinduism's hierarchy - not only equality of opportunity but guaranteed outcomes, with reserved places in educational institutions, government jobs and even seats in parliament and the state assemblies.

    The logic was simple: they were justified as a means of making up for millennia of discrimination based on birth.

    In 1989, the government decided to extend their benefits to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) - those hailing from the lower and intermediate castes who were deemed backward because they lacked "upper caste" status.

    As more and more people sought fewer available government and university positions, we witnessed the unedifying spectacle of castes fighting with each other to be declared backward.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-35624547

     

  44. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Kaz
    Pedestrians are easy for a self-driving car.

    They have complete omniscience of what's around them in a 360 degree radius with sensors. The only issue is pedestrians coming out of something like obscured corners the same way they are big issues for humans, if cars are connected and share information, probably not an issue at all.

    The real issue is can we get sensors that work in all conditions? Eventually I hope so, we'll have to. Decision making is the easy part with these cars.

    Also if self-driving cars become a thing our whole country will be reshaped to fit them.

    There will be very clear divisions between traveling zones and drop off zones. It won't be possible for pedestrians to cross into traveling zones, same for cars in pedestrian zones. We won't need parking lots, cars will just drop off and go to centralized area until someone else calls for them (like automatic taxis). We won't own our own cars, we'll subscribe to a service that sends a car whenever we need one.

    Cars will congregate in a local standy by area where they detect higher density, people can schedule cars to be somewhere, e.g. before they leave for work.

    If we can truly get self-driving cars working, the whole world will change. Cars are cheap, private, and it's easy to build a 'track' for them. People will always prefer cars over public transportation, bikes, etc..

    What I look forward to most is all of the jerks who are sitting on and overvaluing the land in prime city areas and see their values crumble. Who cares if I live 30 miles away from Manhattan, I can just take a nap/work while I commute there.

    Density won't be a concern with self-driving cars. We'll be able to travel the same distance in half the time, and we can do whatever we want while we wait.

    I hope haha..

    What I look forward to most is all of the jerks who are sitting on and overvaluing the land in prime city areas and see their values crumble. Who cares if I live 30 miles away from Manhattan, I can just take a nap/work while I commute there.

    I don’t see why the mass transit station model will change under this scenario. Suburban robot cars will take you from home to a mass transit station where you change modes to be consolidated with other passengers for transit into the central city. They will likely ban personal car traffic entirely from the central city and reserve streets for emergency and commercial delivery traffic. Much of the current street right-of-way for vehicles will be replaced by dedicated pedestrian, cycling and mass transit right-of-way so it will still be advantageous to live close to work.

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  45. @jon

    The other alternative would be to have a homogenous, high-trust society like Japan’s, where the little kids just take public transportation home from school.
     
    I've seen this traveling around Asia - amazing.

    I have seen four year old girls commuting in Tokyo.

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  46. YIH says:

    I am really skeptical about ‘driverless’ cars. They seem to do OK in San Fran, but how will they do out in the real world? The worst that could possibly happen in SF is a quake. Put one in say, Minneapolis, in winter – you know, ice, snow, sub-zero temps. Or try the Orlando area, with confused tourists, confused elderly, harried and aggressive locals and crowded roads.
    Anyone who’s visited Disney World knows exactly what I’m talking about.
    Someone else pointed out that a robo-car would follow traffic laws to the letter, sometimes that can be the wrong thing to do. Example, stopped at a light, someone comes barreling up behind you (such as an 18-wheeler) you may have to floor it and run the light to literally save yourself. A self-driving car will be a sitting duck. There’s an old slogan in driving: ”He was in the right – DEAD RIGHT”.
    Another problem, distracted (or intoxicated) ”drivers”, someone surfing the ‘net behind the wheel – or in SoCal, Lindsey Lohan, just too blitzed to be behind the wheel. But is, because as she slurs ”I gots me one of them Google Cars, it’s all good”.
    The aircraft analogy doesn’t really fit because there’s a lot more sky than there is roads – and planes can (and are supposed to) keep a lot of distance between each other. That’s not happening on I-5 in LA – or I-95 in Jacksonville. Or the entire I-10 in between them.
    Another problem, software… Or more correctly, malware, the car’s computer crashes, then quite likely so will the car. Don’t think that can happen?

    http://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/

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  47. Cobbett says:

    ”Cars, however, are easier to automate than planes in that if the driverless car senses, say, a child running out into the street after a ball, it can just slam on the brakes and the car won’t fall out of the sky”

    The technology is there now…sensors that can detect objects in front of the car and slam on the brakes. But driverless cars don’t appeal to at all…no doubt you can be tracked everywhere you go, and pottering around like an old lady would be annoying(speed limit) and google cars look awful, like cars for the disabled there were around in the 70s(England)

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  48. Danindc says:

    My college-aged brother would always be pissed off he had to drop me off at high school so he would just slow down to 5mph in front of school and I’d hop out. Can google figure out that algorithm?

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  49. guest says:

    I hate Zeno and his non-paradox. When, oh when will people stop bringing him up?

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  50. guest says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    You know how we're all concerned about the power the SJW/lefty authoritarians have over our activities online? Now imagine them having that same power over most of our offline activities as well. That's the potential of self-driving cars.

    Say you want to make a 2am run to Taco Bell. You summon a self-driving car and enter your destination. The car measures your weight and body fat, and its Bloomberg Chip rejects your destination.

    Or, say you summon a self-driving car to go the pub, after an argument with your spouse. She uses her smart phone to falsely accuse you of domestic violence, and that triggers the car to deliver you to your local police station instead for a debriefing.

    The flip side of autonomous cars is less autonomy for you.

    Yes! I wonder if it says more about the Orwellian potential of “smart” technology or me that the very first thing I thought of when I heard about smart cars was me being wanted by the police, my car locking me in, pulling me over and making me wait by the side of the road for my inevitable arrest. Which doesn’t sound so bad, but if they can do that before long a hand will emerge from my dashboard to slap me every time I make a fresh comment about the fairer sex, or whatever is in fashion to hate.

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  51. Rob McX says:
    @Reg Cæsar
    In 2025, cars in LA will come equipped with an immigrant chauffeur, so the point is moot.

    The important question is, who or what will be cooking the food?

    The open borders crowd certainly seem to be in a race to thwart the development of AI by keeping up a supply of labour that can undercut the cost of robots. They’ll be in trouble when we have robots that can do jobs only a 100+ IQ human could perform.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Pittsburgh Thatcherite
    Automation will reduce the demand for low IQ workers.

    Genetic engineering will increase the supply of high IQ men.

    Therefore, the wages of low IQ men will continue to decline.

    Low IQ men will be drawn to crime and extremism.

    But the population of low IQ men is growing.

    This population growth will lead to wars and famines, resulting in a tidal wave of refugees.

    What is the most effective way to halt the population growth of the unemployable?

    Pay a billion women to get on birth control.

    The payment will appeal most to poor women, who on average have low intelligence and high birth rates
  52. Rob McX says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    I wonder how many of Google's self-driving car engineers have school-age kids. Steve brings up the killer app test.

    Of course, the problem could be partially solved with low tech approaches. The famous bus system in Curatiba ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rede_Integrada_de_Transporte ) offers a starting point. Maybe the school door opens into a tube similar to a Curitiba bus station, one narrow enough that the kids have to stand single file, until it widens out into a bulb at the end with room enough for 4 adults or an equivalent number of kids to stand. The self-driving car pulls up flush to the end of the tube, both doors open, and the adult ushers a handful of kids in the car, both doors close, and the car drives off. Then the next self-driving car pulls up, and the process repeats.

    Each kid has an electronic bracelet the car can read, so it knows their home addresses and takes the most economical route to take them home. At that point, you could still have a kid run into traffic instead of going into his home, but for kids below a certain age, the car could be programmed to not let them out unless there's an adult with the right bracelet in close proximity. If not, it takes the kid back to the school, or to some other safe location.

    The other alternative would be to have a homogenous, high-trust society like Japan's, where the little kids just take public transportation home from school.

    When you get to that stage, you have to wonder if there would be any need to send children to school, except for the purpose of taking them off their parents’ hands during working hours. The technology that could provide such sophisticated transportation could be applied to teaching too. Who’s to say teachers – human ones, at least – are indispensable?

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    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    I am a teacher--lots of things teachers do could be automated. Language instruction for example is probably 5-10 years away from complete automation. A computer can be programmed with a perfect understanding of grammar and a 600,000 word vocabulary updated constantly from Internet scans. It could even ascertain the approximate level of a student's comprehension and base a conversation and deliver reading and grammar exercises at a level that just challenges a student. I could also see STEM subjects being taught that way. Lots of online courses dispense with the classroom "show." I can see why--when I look at over my classes many students are already texting or serreptiously surfing the net. I wonder if educationrealist is looking at this issue.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    That's one of the ideas in Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.
  53. Ken says:
    @The most deplorable one

    Both of these nerd projects apparently have the goal of de-skilling teenage boys.
     
    Oh come on! Concerned parents can simply program the sex bots to play hard to get and require smooth talking conversation before they hop into bed.

    “Concerned parents can simply program the sex bots to play hard to get and require smooth talking conversation before they hop into bed.”

    Probably easier to just rape the robot.

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  54. George says:

    A slow moving robot minibus that operates on a regular route already exists, if we are to believe Dutch propagandists:

    First driverless buses travel public roads in the Netherlands

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/01/28/first-driverless-buses-travel-public-roads-in-the-netherlands/

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  55. 2Mintzin1 [AKA "Mike"] says:

    Mr. Tor has a good point…self-driving cars could work, I suppose, on a surface with perfectly uniform traction…but what happens when/if the vehicle loses traction quickly, let’s say on a sheen of black ice, or on spilled fuel/oil?
    The vehicle would hand off control to the driver, but the driver could not possibly acquire “road feel” in the few seconds it would take to avoid going sideways.

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    • Replies: @George
    Losing traction is probably more uniform than the varying traction of typical road surfaces. So the computer probably would be able to figure out what to do more capably than they typical human. A robot might also be able to see in spectra beyond visible light so it might identify black ice clearly at a distance.
  56. @Anonymous
    OT: you're officially part of the alt-right, from the guy who invented the term: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4qgxP-a2Dk&t=49m08s

    Sailor is like the one of the founders of the pre MM school of alt right, now theres a lot of schools and a bit of arguing of who is isnt, the WNs want the title but I like alt Reich for them, Here is how it ought to be thought of. First rule of alt right vs cuck right- No enemies to the right. This means we wont be accepting leftist moral premises and purging ourselves based on lefty bullying. It means we can agree disagree or partially agree with a proposition. And The second rule is -All men are not created equal HBD is real regarding race gender and finer grains and important in the administering of a civilization.This does not necessarily imply hate supremacy separateness and to some schools is related to transhumanism and AI.This knowledge has implications for democracy and so for many particularly the MM derived but not all democracy is a doomed system.

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  57. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @rod1963
    Beyond the automated bomb carrier for crazies and a way for drug lords to move drugs around without mules and patsies, these cars will be very tempting targets for computer hackers. I'm not talking about script kiddies and other wannabes but the hard cases who crack companies like Target and Home Depot like they were eggs. Oh let's not forget hostile foreign nations either who have it in for Americans.

    The first thing the bad guys will do is steal or buy one and dissect it, the same way safe crackers buy safes to learn how to crack them. Once they figure it out, they'll run a couple rich dudes off the road in some spectacular fashion or simply turn the the cars on when they are in the garage and gas pipe the people living in the house then have the car go rogue like some deranged criminal. Then watch the stock price of Google and the car manufacturer tank.

    The possibilities for mayhem with these robot cars will be endless.

    The possibilities for mayhem with these robot cars will be endless.

    And that’s exactly why there will be all kinds of new restrictions on our freedoms in order to accommodate robot cars. Feature, not a bug!

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  58. Last I read, autonomous ocean liners were still roughly 10 years away and even then would require crews to get the vessel in and out of harbors. It seems that should be a much easier problem to solve. A recent headline said we’re only 2 years away from flying cars, Ford predicted them in 1940, so 78 years to solve what again seems to be a much easier problem.

    Will the people who drive jeeps, pickup trucks and BMWs go for self driving cars?

    I had read that estimates for early models of self driving cars will be in the 6 figure range. I commute 40 minutes in the morning, 40 minutes in the evening. and that’s twice the average, usually a couple hours on the weekend, it’s really not such an onerous burden.

    It would be nice for the blind, the aged and the drunks but for average people going to their average jobs, it’s not that big of a draw.

    Completely autonomous driving cars will never happen.

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  59. Anon7 says:
    @The most deplorable one
    One thing is for sure, self-driving cars will be a boon for terrorists.

    No need to kill yourself nor risk running out of courage on the drive to the target.

    Just pack a self-driving car with explosives, place a couple of dummies in the car and give it a target.

    Sounds like a winning combination.

    You won’t need the dummies, because privately owned autonomous cars will be driving around empty a lot. You’ll tell your car to go pick the kids up for school, or to drive home so the wife can use it, etc.

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  60. MLK says:

    First things first:

    I suspect that with making robot cars safe going from 0% of the time to 90% of the time takes about as much work as going from 90% to 99%, which is as much work as going from 99% to 99.9% and so forth

    .

    You’re on the right track — the ratios are different:

    Pareto principle

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

    I’m wholly optimistic because automating ground transport is amenable to incremental progress. The commenter who foresees the need for a giant leap is mistaken. The reason being that not all ground transport is the same, and low hanging fruit can be (safely) picked.

    The key principle for success: Increasing System Complexity must result in Simplification.

    A few observations:

    – Passenger-less (human) Ground Transport is an easy nut to crack safely. It can and will be slowed, stopped, and temporarily parked aside, as the lowest time-priority transport.

    – The same tactic will apply to lessor degrees in driverless human transport, to the same or lesser degrees depending on the passenger. Basically, if you’re making use of driverless transport you bear the burden in terms of additional travel time. For example, an intoxicated passenger taking a driverless taxi home would have to accept the additional travel time, depending on conditions. Those include moving aside to let faster traveling vehicles seamlessly pass.

    – The obvious solution to the risk of harm to pedestrians is wearable technology. This is easy from a practical and cost standpoint. But presents surveillance/privacy concerns. Though a dumb sensor — one that simply transmitted ‘human,’ not which human — would solve that. Indeed, dollars to donuts, the first such wearable sensors will be worn by our beloved canines and felines, along with children.

    – The toughest nut to crack will not be technological but social — Increasing differentiation based on wealth and status. Think in terms of air-transport. A tiny percentage enjoy travel by private jets. The rest of us who never have don’t know what they’re missing; Those who have, but rarely or infrequently, try not to think about it lest we weep uncontrollably. Automation will make quickly variable market-based pricing cheap and easy. That will increase hierarchy — with limitations or lack thereof socially determined. The great thing is that this can and will be constantly in flux, with low-cost instantaneous individual changes in status.

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    • Replies: @27 year old
    Progressive stack driving, white males have to wait for everyone else to pass.

    Sounds awesome....
  61. @Kaz
    Target/Home Depot hacks were nothing.

    You don't understand how laughably outdated most security is in retailers. There just isn't much emphasis on fixing it because banks/credit cards will cover the costs, and they can cancel card #s in an instant.

    There was nothing technically impressive about those hacks.

    How often do you hear of hackers hacking mobile signals (e.g. LTE) and getting internet for free?

    Never.

    How often do banks lose money to hackers, excluding social engineering (getting password from someone?)

    Never.

    Everyone has this grand image of hackers in their head, but you can't actually hack anything properly encrypted. 99.9% of hacking is social engineering.

    Kaz said, “…..99.9% of hacking is social engineering.”

    Agree. I think that a lot of hacking is an inside job. For example, you are a DBA on the Oracle DB that runs Target, and some guy offers you $10k for a dump of the accounts table. You disable logging on Oracle, dump the data to a thumb drive and walk out. Easy peasy.

    Or, you give someone the root password and open a port to the Oracle DB. Erase the logs afterwards and you are home free.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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    • Replies: @Rob McX
    A lot of cybercrime is committed by Asians and Middle Easterners with the collusion of co-ethnic employees within the targeted companies. No great intelligence needed, just the exploitation of a high-trust work environment.
  62. @Rob McX
    When you get to that stage, you have to wonder if there would be any need to send children to school, except for the purpose of taking them off their parents' hands during working hours. The technology that could provide such sophisticated transportation could be applied to teaching too. Who's to say teachers - human ones, at least - are indispensable?

    I am a teacher–lots of things teachers do could be automated. Language instruction for example is probably 5-10 years away from complete automation. A computer can be programmed with a perfect understanding of grammar and a 600,000 word vocabulary updated constantly from Internet scans. It could even ascertain the approximate level of a student’s comprehension and base a conversation and deliver reading and grammar exercises at a level that just challenges a student. I could also see STEM subjects being taught that way. Lots of online courses dispense with the classroom “show.” I can see why–when I look at over my classes many students are already texting or serreptiously surfing the net. I wonder if educationrealist is looking at this issue.

    Read More
  63. Anon7 says:

    Elon Musk has started two amazing technology companies from scratch, Tesla and SpaceX. They make products that work.

    He says fully autonomous Teslas that drive at least as safely as a human being will be available in two years. Maybe he knows something that we don’t? I think so.

    As of last July, Tesla Model S cars have driven more than a billion miles, and every one of those cars play “what if I was driving”, comparing their planned responses to what their owners do, and report back to Tesla every night. That’s the basis for Musk’s prediction.

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  64. @Steve Sailer
    That's a big question.

    If gasoline is $2 per gallon and I can work in my car, why wouldn't I want a big cheap house in the exurbs instead of an small expensive apartment in the city?

    Similarly, much of the movement toward the city is driven by drunk driving crackdowns, but if I can drink and have my Google car drive me home, why pay to live in the city?

    Herein lies the problem: in my suburban county outside of Philadelphia, it is approximated that 40% of the criminal docket is DUI offenses. That means several judges, attorneys, and countless police officers owe their livelihoods to people driving drunk and getting caught. They’re also the sorts of people who know well and make political contributions to state representatives as individuals and through their political organizations and PACs. I would predict that long after automobile autopilot programs are proven safer than stone sober drivers it will still be a requirement that a licensed adult in the car be within the legal limit on the pretext that an emergent situation could arise and require sober operation of the vehicle.

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    • Replies: @Ed
    "Herein lies the problem: in my suburban county outside of Philadelphia, it is approximated that 40% of the criminal docket is DUI offenses. " (# 65)

    There are a slew of laws and regulations on the books that are now basically there to drum up business for the government, regardless of whether they are still serving the original reason for their enactment. Even in cases where the original reason is still valid, it could be handled in a way less taxing on the wallets and liberties of ordinary citizens. The DUI system is probably the one people are most familiar with.

    In fact, I think liberatarians and liberatraian-leaning people are enthusiastic about the prospect of self driving cars precisely because it would circumvent alot of this stuff. Probably 98% of the time that a middle class person comes into contact with the law enforcement system involves getting into a car. Its one reason I have taken to avoid driving. The problem is that the same dynamic may well short circuit the development of self-driving cars in the first place.
  65. Anon7 says:
    @Anonymous Nephew
    OT but very iSteve - Jats Want Gimmedats

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-35624547

    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-jat-agitation-list-of-trains-cancelled-on-western-railways-2180448

    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-jat-stir-civil-aviation-ministry-asks-airlines-to-operate-additional-flights-to-chandigarh-amritsar-and-jaipur-2180404


    "The Jats are currently listed as upper caste. They argue this puts them at a disadvantage in government jobs and at state-run educational institutes and are demanding job quotas similar to those granted to lower castes.

    At least nine people were killed as violence continued on Saturday. Protesters went on the rampage despite a curfew and the deployment of the army, which is reported to have opened fire on them in the districts of Rohtak and Jhajjar.

    The violence has forced the closure of several key roads and national highways, and paralysed the railway system in north India. The bus service between India and Pakistan has been affected, too, with passengers left stranded. On Friday protesters in Rohtak hurled rocks at security forces while blocking traffic, attacking vehicles and attempting to set the finance minister's home on fire.

    The local Delhi government has approached the Supreme Court seeking its intervention in the water crisis. A year ago, the Supreme Court removed Jats from the list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) benefiting from the system. "

    No kidding.

    India’s constitution, adopted in 1950, inaugurated the world’s oldest and farthest-reaching affirmative action programme, guaranteeing scheduled castes and tribes – the most disadvantaged groups in Hinduism’s hierarchy – not only equality of opportunity but guaranteed outcomes, with reserved places in educational institutions, government jobs and even seats in parliament and the state assemblies.

    The logic was simple: they were justified as a means of making up for millennia of discrimination based on birth.

    In 1989, the government decided to extend their benefits to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) – those hailing from the lower and intermediate castes who were deemed backward because they lacked “upper caste” status.

    As more and more people sought fewer available government and university positions, we witnessed the unedifying spectacle of castes fighting with each other to be declared backward.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-35624547

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    • Replies: @Romanian
    In my magnanimity, I'm willing to view them all as backward.

    But this could be a solution for the US - define the racial totem pole (1 Black in college is worth 2 Mestizos and 5 White Hispanics), and expressly use the Backward Classes designation.

  66. Anon87 says:

    Pitchers and catchers are starting to report, so this is only slightly OT. Blood doesn’t lie: Mark Melancon leads pro athletes in growing usage of blood analytics

    The Red Sox nutritionist at the time, Tara Mardigan, introduced Melancon to a company called InsideTracker, a blood analytics company based in Cambridge, Mass. which uses blood testing to screen for 30 different biomarkers — including vitamins, hormones and other metabolic markers — and determine optimal zones for each level based on a highly personalized questionnaire which looks at a person’s age, weight, activity level, ethnicity, personal goals and more.

    Emphasis mine. I found this on Baseball Think Factory and it seems to have triggered a few people. “Quackery”, “Pseudoscience”, and “Ignorance” are all used in the first 5 comments. Sabermetrics is always looking for the next set of data to analyze, PitchFx and FieldFx (I think defensive analysis is really the diminishing returns phase of baseball analytics) being the latest craze, but let’s not dig TOO deep.

    Steve has talked in the past that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all diet, and what better one to find out what works for you than drilling down to your individual biology?

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  67. @NickG
    Slightly off.

    Single pilot operations for small aircraft have been FAA approved since 1977, starting with the Cessna Citation I-SP.

    The max threshold for single crew operations in small certified aircraft is a take-off weights 12,500 pounds or less.

    This includes most bus jets and a number of turboprops, such as some of the Beach King Airs, which takes 13 pax. Also, the single engined Cessna 208 Caravan and the Pilatus PC12 (9 pax). There are plenty of others.

    Airliners occasionally make completely automatic landings in zero visibility conditions.

    Not yet. I understand 600 feet visibility are current IFR - Instrument Flight Rules approach minimums.

    Single crew airliners are looking more likely with GPS approaches and newer air traffic control systems.

    You can get way below 600 feet on an instrument approach. In the Navy we would go down to sub 200 routinely on PAR approaches. That’s a neat Navy trick, but plenty of civilian approaches go lower than 600.

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  68. @Rob McX
    The open borders crowd certainly seem to be in a race to thwart the development of AI by keeping up a supply of labour that can undercut the cost of robots. They'll be in trouble when we have robots that can do jobs only a 100+ IQ human could perform.

    Automation will reduce the demand for low IQ workers.

    Genetic engineering will increase the supply of high IQ men.

    Therefore, the wages of low IQ men will continue to decline.

    Low IQ men will be drawn to crime and extremism.

    But the population of low IQ men is growing.

    This population growth will lead to wars and famines, resulting in a tidal wave of refugees.

    What is the most effective way to halt the population growth of the unemployable?

    Pay a billion women to get on birth control.

    The payment will appeal most to poor women, who on average have low intelligence and high birth rates

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    The problem with this is that poor women want sex and men and kids every bit as much as richer women do, and they can be totally careless/oblivious/drunken/drug-addled about whether they've taken their birth control pills or not. You'd have to sterilize them. Otherwise you'd end up with a caste of women who would agree to take the money to avoid having kids, then they'd have a dozen kids (Oops!) and end up on welfare, which the state would be forced to pay. Once the last kid is past 18, the women would then start demanding money again to avoid pregnancy, and you'd be surprised to find out how many women insist they can get pregnant past age 70.

    That's how they'd con the system. Believe me, they'd figure out every angle to get the largest amount of money out of the state as possible.
    , @Vendetta
    You're ignoring the part where their extremist husbands and fathers will kill them if they do that. Especially if it's any permanent or long-term option. On the other hand, if you're just paying them to take the pill, you'll get plenty of them pocketing the cash and flushing the pill.
  69. @MLK
    First things first:

    I suspect that with making robot cars safe going from 0% of the time to 90% of the time takes about as much work as going from 90% to 99%, which is as much work as going from 99% to 99.9% and so forth
     
    .

    You're on the right track -- the ratios are different:

    Pareto principle

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle
     
    I'm wholly optimistic because automating ground transport is amenable to incremental progress. The commenter who foresees the need for a giant leap is mistaken. The reason being that not all ground transport is the same, and low hanging fruit can be (safely) picked.

    The key principle for success: Increasing System Complexity must result in Simplification.

    A few observations:

    -- Passenger-less (human) Ground Transport is an easy nut to crack safely. It can and will be slowed, stopped, and temporarily parked aside, as the lowest time-priority transport.

    -- The same tactic will apply to lessor degrees in driverless human transport, to the same or lesser degrees depending on the passenger. Basically, if you're making use of driverless transport you bear the burden in terms of additional travel time. For example, an intoxicated passenger taking a driverless taxi home would have to accept the additional travel time, depending on conditions. Those include moving aside to let faster traveling vehicles seamlessly pass.

    -- The obvious solution to the risk of harm to pedestrians is wearable technology. This is easy from a practical and cost standpoint. But presents surveillance/privacy concerns. Though a dumb sensor -- one that simply transmitted 'human,' not which human -- would solve that. Indeed, dollars to donuts, the first such wearable sensors will be worn by our beloved canines and felines, along with children.

    -- The toughest nut to crack will not be technological but social -- Increasing differentiation based on wealth and status. Think in terms of air-transport. A tiny percentage enjoy travel by private jets. The rest of us who never have don't know what they're missing; Those who have, but rarely or infrequently, try not to think about it lest we weep uncontrollably. Automation will make quickly variable market-based pricing cheap and easy. That will increase hierarchy -- with limitations or lack thereof socially determined. The great thing is that this can and will be constantly in flux, with low-cost instantaneous individual changes in status.

    Progressive stack driving, white males have to wait for everyone else to pass.

    Sounds awesome….

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  70. @Kaz
    Pedestrians are easy for a self-driving car.

    They have complete omniscience of what's around them in a 360 degree radius with sensors. The only issue is pedestrians coming out of something like obscured corners the same way they are big issues for humans, if cars are connected and share information, probably not an issue at all.

    The real issue is can we get sensors that work in all conditions? Eventually I hope so, we'll have to. Decision making is the easy part with these cars.

    Also if self-driving cars become a thing our whole country will be reshaped to fit them.

    There will be very clear divisions between traveling zones and drop off zones. It won't be possible for pedestrians to cross into traveling zones, same for cars in pedestrian zones. We won't need parking lots, cars will just drop off and go to centralized area until someone else calls for them (like automatic taxis). We won't own our own cars, we'll subscribe to a service that sends a car whenever we need one.

    Cars will congregate in a local standy by area where they detect higher density, people can schedule cars to be somewhere, e.g. before they leave for work.

    If we can truly get self-driving cars working, the whole world will change. Cars are cheap, private, and it's easy to build a 'track' for them. People will always prefer cars over public transportation, bikes, etc..

    What I look forward to most is all of the jerks who are sitting on and overvaluing the land in prime city areas and see their values crumble. Who cares if I live 30 miles away from Manhattan, I can just take a nap/work while I commute there.

    Density won't be a concern with self-driving cars. We'll be able to travel the same distance in half the time, and we can do whatever we want while we wait.

    I hope haha..

    We are not maximizing wealth creation when a venture capitalist is sitting in traffic congestion next to a maid.

    We should charge a congestion fee on every road, and raise the fee in real time until the road is not congested.

    Therefore, no road would ever be congested.

    High-income people would always be able to drive fast, even at rush hour.

    Low-income people could cluster into buses.

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    • Replies: @Romanian
    I understand you were joking (I think), but the problem is that it is very important for poor people to have price stability, so they can factor it in properly in their economic calculus. Raising the fee in real time is the opposite of that. Will the poor man leave his car on the side of the road when his fee become too onerous and schlep it to the nearest bus station?
  71. The jump to fully-autonomous passenger vehicles is too big for society to accept in one step.

    Smaller steps are more likely.

    My money on the first step: Long-haul trucking of cargo will be run by remote-control vehicles manned at a central control-station (like aerial drones are now). At least for the freeway portion of the haul (special freeway lanes could be created for truck drones and for cars that were willing to accept the implied risk of sharing those lanes with the unmanned vehicles.)

    Commercial drivers would likely have to meet the cargo trucks at the exits to navigate the non-freeway part of the haul. This would still save tremendous cost for the trucking companies since one operator could operate 4-5 freeway vehicles at a time from the control desk (partial autonomous driving with periodic alerts to the operator will help here) and since actual drivers who take the trucks off the freeway to the local streets could be employed locally and live where they work, thus reducing the inconvenience premium on truckers’ salaries.

    Remote control of cargo jet planes has been technologically possible for a while now and will probably also be implemented soon.

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  72. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Rob McX
    When you get to that stage, you have to wonder if there would be any need to send children to school, except for the purpose of taking them off their parents' hands during working hours. The technology that could provide such sophisticated transportation could be applied to teaching too. Who's to say teachers - human ones, at least - are indispensable?

    That’s one of the ideas in Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age.

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    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Yeah, I'm about 100 pages into Ernest Cline's Ready, Player One, and the education scenarios are direct ripoffs of Stephenson's.
  73. ivvenalis says:
    @anonymous
    Combining self-driving, autopilots, and drones that carry human passengers (alas, with a very short range):

    "Ehang's autonomous helicopter promises to fly you anywhere, no pilot required", The Verge, Ben Popper, January 6, 2016:


    "...a Chinese drone company, announced a new product at CES it's calling the Ehang 184, an all electric quadcopter scaled up from a drone so that it's large enough to carry a passenger. Ehang calls it an autonomous aerial vehicle, I prefer personal pilotless helicopter, but if you need to explain what it is to anyone, just say it's a driverless car for the sky."

     

    "First passenger drone makes its debut at CES", Associated Press, Thursday 7 January 2016:


    "...The electric-powered drone can be fully charged in two hours, carry up to 100kg (220lb) and fly for 23 minutes at sea level, according to Ehang. The cabin fits one person and a small backpack and is fitted with air conditioning and a reading light. It is designed to fit, with propellers folded, in a single parking spot.

    After setting a flight plan, passengers needed only to give two commands – “take off” and “land” – done with a single click on a tablet, the company said.

    ...US authorities are starting to lay out guidelines for drone use, and a human-passenger drone seems certain to face strict scrutiny.

    ...A passenger would have no controls as a backup..."

     

    I get the impression that the idea isn't to give people independent flying cars, but have a centrally controlled and optimized system (kind of like what people sometimes talk about for "driverless pod cars") that is able to move people out of supercongested areas where driving is horrible to outer park-and-rides where conventional driving becomes do-able.

    Google could use something like this, at scale, around their Mountain View campus.

    That thing is probably at least an order of magnitude more likely to crash before teaching its destination than an actual helicopter.

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  74. @Kaz
    Pedestrians are easy for a self-driving car.

    They have complete omniscience of what's around them in a 360 degree radius with sensors. The only issue is pedestrians coming out of something like obscured corners the same way they are big issues for humans, if cars are connected and share information, probably not an issue at all.

    The real issue is can we get sensors that work in all conditions? Eventually I hope so, we'll have to. Decision making is the easy part with these cars.

    Also if self-driving cars become a thing our whole country will be reshaped to fit them.

    There will be very clear divisions between traveling zones and drop off zones. It won't be possible for pedestrians to cross into traveling zones, same for cars in pedestrian zones. We won't need parking lots, cars will just drop off and go to centralized area until someone else calls for them (like automatic taxis). We won't own our own cars, we'll subscribe to a service that sends a car whenever we need one.

    Cars will congregate in a local standy by area where they detect higher density, people can schedule cars to be somewhere, e.g. before they leave for work.

    If we can truly get self-driving cars working, the whole world will change. Cars are cheap, private, and it's easy to build a 'track' for them. People will always prefer cars over public transportation, bikes, etc..

    What I look forward to most is all of the jerks who are sitting on and overvaluing the land in prime city areas and see their values crumble. Who cares if I live 30 miles away from Manhattan, I can just take a nap/work while I commute there.

    Density won't be a concern with self-driving cars. We'll be able to travel the same distance in half the time, and we can do whatever we want while we wait.

    I hope haha..

    Shared driverless cars and congestion pricing will result in transportation that is always fast and inexpensive.

    This will change the structure of cities.

    No need to own a car, houses do not need garages, offices and malls do not need parking lots, cities do not need to build mass transit systems.

    Today, a city’s roads intersect in a central hub, surrounded by concentric loops.
    In the future, roads will be a simple grid, which can be extended infinitely.

    Shared driverless cars and congestion pricing will enable the creation of new continent-sized cities that move people and goods more efficiently than existing cities.

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    • Replies: @Romanian
    There are some levels of sophistication I'd rather we avoid, because we're courting disaster if somebody takes the system offline or messes with it somehow. Big cities are already death traps in the event of a societal collapse. Continent sized cities where you can't get anything anywhere except on foot will be something apocalyptic.
  75. ivvenalis says:
    @advancedatheist
    Anyone notice the commonality between self-driving cars and sex robots? Both of these nerd projects apparently have the goal of de-skilling teenage boys. In 20 years we'll have a generation of young men who won't know how to drive, and who won't have to acquire social skills for dating girls.

    I have to wonder if some of the same people play a role in developing both of these technologies and in propagandizing us about their alleged advantages.

    I know this is probably tongue in cheek, but automobiles are the leading cause of death for most people too young to have heart problems, and on top of that the opportunity cost of driving is arguably very high.

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  76. Vendetta says:
    @Kaz
    Pedestrians are easy for a self-driving car.

    They have complete omniscience of what's around them in a 360 degree radius with sensors. The only issue is pedestrians coming out of something like obscured corners the same way they are big issues for humans, if cars are connected and share information, probably not an issue at all.

    The real issue is can we get sensors that work in all conditions? Eventually I hope so, we'll have to. Decision making is the easy part with these cars.

    Also if self-driving cars become a thing our whole country will be reshaped to fit them.

    There will be very clear divisions between traveling zones and drop off zones. It won't be possible for pedestrians to cross into traveling zones, same for cars in pedestrian zones. We won't need parking lots, cars will just drop off and go to centralized area until someone else calls for them (like automatic taxis). We won't own our own cars, we'll subscribe to a service that sends a car whenever we need one.

    Cars will congregate in a local standy by area where they detect higher density, people can schedule cars to be somewhere, e.g. before they leave for work.

    If we can truly get self-driving cars working, the whole world will change. Cars are cheap, private, and it's easy to build a 'track' for them. People will always prefer cars over public transportation, bikes, etc..

    What I look forward to most is all of the jerks who are sitting on and overvaluing the land in prime city areas and see their values crumble. Who cares if I live 30 miles away from Manhattan, I can just take a nap/work while I commute there.

    Density won't be a concern with self-driving cars. We'll be able to travel the same distance in half the time, and we can do whatever we want while we wait.

    I hope haha..

    This country can’t even get trains to run on time. Your dream system will be gridlocked to shit, you’ll be treated like an airline passenger, you’ll no longer be free to bring whatever you damn please since it’s no longer your car (no food unless you pay the additional cleanup service charge, no cigarettes if you smoke, etc. etc.), you’ll probably have some other asshole who’s done spilled his drink on the seats anyway and they haven’t bothered cleaning the car yet since the system is backed up and they’re an hour late getting it to you anyway. And of course you’ll be on camera the whole time and nickel and dimed if you so much as fart in the wrong direction.

    Fuck that. Soviet boondoggle.

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    • Replies: @Ttjy
    I doubt it will ever work. I think it would be more complicated to do that it seems. Plus the initial cost would be large I would assume if they ever did get it to work.

    Even if they could get it functioning people have to have confidence that they won't crash. Once there are some accidents people wouldn't trust them and it will be over.
    , @Mr. Anon
    Not to mention that you'll be sitting down in a bunch of other people's germs. The guy who used that public driverless car before you was probably picking his nose or scratching his balls just before he grabbed the seat-belt buckle and the door-handle on his way out the door. Or the drunk who took the car before you threw up all over the dash. Or that randy young couple had a quickie on the seat. Or some gay dudes had a hook-up in it. Or some guy heading home from the bar after getting shot down by the girl he'd been fantasizing about was whacking off in there.

    People are pigs. Just look at an airplane nowadays. They're petrie dishes. And with a car, we're talking about a means of transportation that affords people privacy.

    No thanks. I'll drive my own car.
  77. Wade says:

    Look, I’m a software developer and I love technology but if there is one technology that I hate and hope fails it is self-driving cars. There’s simply no need for them. For crying out loud, people need things to do to make life worth living and that includes risk-taking. I’m of course thinking of robot technology in general. Things aren’t going to be better for people when there’s no productive occupation left for us to do. There’s no human freedom without work and risk taking. Things will be miserable and life won’t be worth living.

    The people inventing this stuff are a scourge.

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    • Agree: Vendetta
    • Replies: @Hacienda
    It's the people making the self-driving cars and the people who will be replaced
    by them that are taking and accepting the risks. I don't see the net totality of risk
    being reduced with or without technology. What I see self driving cars doing is reducing the amount of pointless risk - like driving.
    , @Ttjy
    I think self-driving cars will never work, but the possibility of dying in a car accident doesn't make life worth living.

    Dying in a car is the most absurd way to die according to Camus, which is how he died.

    If we could actually make cars perfectly safe I would be for it.

    If we could I would reduce the car in daily life as much as possible. Now that would improve life.
    , @Diversity Heretic
    You make a good point. I can see robotics in highly dangerous jobs (mining) and highly repetitive ones (industrial assembly lines), but it will have to be managed or we'll have an enormous number of people with almost no genuine economic utility, and not just low IQ people either.
    , @Stan Adams
    The people inventing this stuff are spergs. They're the folks who watch Blade Runner and think, "Wow, wouldn't it be cool to live in a world like that?" Many of them are into weird shit like "voluntary human extinction."

    Their techno-über-alles wet dream is soon to be our nightmarish reality.
    , @Anonymous
    We don't have self-driving cars yet, and people aren't out there "risk-taking." The average person spends half their waking life on the internet or watching TV:

    http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/internet-pushes-media-use-more-8-hours-day-165067
  78. Rob McX says:
    @Jim Don Bob
    Kaz said, ".....99.9% of hacking is social engineering."

    Agree. I think that a lot of hacking is an inside job. For example, you are a DBA on the Oracle DB that runs Target, and some guy offers you $10k for a dump of the accounts table. You disable logging on Oracle, dump the data to a thumb drive and walk out. Easy peasy.

    Or, you give someone the root password and open a port to the Oracle DB. Erase the logs afterwards and you are home free.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    A lot of cybercrime is committed by Asians and Middle Easterners with the collusion of co-ethnic employees within the targeted companies. No great intelligence needed, just the exploitation of a high-trust work environment.

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  79. @Diversity Heretic
    My cousin didn't mention that, although the wing roots were thick enough to provide access to the engines in flight. (The noise must have been incredible!) I've read the B-36's engine configuration had two problems. First, putting the engines in the wings meant that the prop blades moved in and out of the slipstream, creating stress on the blades and the propeller shaft. Most pusher configurations place the engines on nacelles either aft on the fuselage or over the wings. Second, the engine was not designed as a pusher engine and it had carburetor icing problems. There may have been a program to convert the B-36 to a tractor configuration, but the advent of the all-jet B-52 made it pointless. I think the B-36 was sometimes called "The Aluminum Overcast."

    There is a B-36 at the Air Force museum in Dayton Ohio along with lots of other cool planes. Highly recommended.

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    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    Saw it there for the first time. There's one at the SAC Museum at Offut Air Force Base in Omaha. Even in an age of Jumbo Jets, it remains an impressive aircraft. But not an easy one to fly or maintain.
  80. Hacienda says:
    @Wade
    Look, I'm a software developer and I love technology but if there is one technology that I hate and hope fails it is self-driving cars. There's simply no need for them. For crying out loud, people need things to do to make life worth living and that includes risk-taking. I'm of course thinking of robot technology in general. Things aren't going to be better for people when there's no productive occupation left for us to do. There's no human freedom without work and risk taking. Things will be miserable and life won't be worth living.

    The people inventing this stuff are a scourge.

    It’s the people making the self-driving cars and the people who will be replaced
    by them that are taking and accepting the risks. I don’t see the net totality of risk
    being reduced with or without technology. What I see self driving cars doing is reducing the amount of pointless risk – like driving.

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  81. Rob McX said, “A lot of cybercrime is committed by Asians and Middle Easterners with the collusion of co-ethnic employees within the targeted companies.”

    Agreed. That is almost certainly how the OPM hack happened. I would not trust or hire any of them, especially the Chinese. But the Stupid Party voted recently to -increase- the number of H1-B visas. And they wonder why Trump is winning.

    Here’s the Short Answer: You have sold out your fellow citizens and people are tired of it.

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  82. Russell says:
    @Realist
    I very much agree. A few months ago I wrote a comment about how hacking of robot cars would be a disaster. There were a number of replies to my comment, that it would not be possible to hack auto pilot cars. This is just plain stupid. Since these cars would need to get information about their surroundings hacking them would be too easy.

    The difficulty of hacking depends on how much of their information is provided by their sense and how much is provided by external communications.
    Some influential players believe that Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) is both not necessary and not, at least initially, desirable .
    The reason given is as you stated, security.
    Google’s car which is the only one anywhere near approaching total autonomy relies on google maps, and no other external communications (AFAIK) for its operation.
    This seems like the best approach for now.
    On a general note, awareness of the technology and further development will be aided by delivery drones.

    http://techcrunch.com/2015/11/05/skype-co-founders-launch-the-starship-ground-drone-for-deliveries/

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  83. Yak-15 says:

    The New York Times

    December 18, 2027

    Minorities are less likely to own self-driving cars. In fact, African Americans are 12x more likely to die in traffic accidents…

    … It’s time to buy them self-driving cars to correct historical wrongs and stop reinforcing hyper-white privilege.

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  84. Bill P says:

    Why aren’t freight trains robotic already? All they need to do is start, stop and go back and forth from time to time. No need to steer them. But as it is you need at least two guys to make a freight run: a conductor and an engineer.

    I’m sure liability has something to do with it, because people can be held responsible unlike machines. And if someone higher up screws up, a subordinate can fix the problem before it becomes a catastrophe. Furthermore, people can reason with each other to some degree and come to more satisfactory arrangements in groups. Human commerce can be a pretty chaotic thing, and machines can’t make decisions based on intuition like people. I can imagine, for example, a robotic freight train leaving a bunch of oil cars in an urban railyard and exciting the fury of dimwitted locals who think they are bombs waiting to explode at any moment.

    This is an issue with self-driving cars as well. There is a cultural component to human movement that changes from place to place. What might be appropriate driving in suburban Los Angeles might be highly dysfunctional in San Francisco’s Chinatown. If we have robotic cars, do the humans suddenly start “yielding” to robots in public space? Do they allow automatons to dictate the flow of pedestrians, bicycles and machines operated by human drivers? What a silly thought. People would assault the robots regularly, throw things at them, play games with their sensors, etc. There would be none of the customary restraint that comes from the knowledge that a human is operating a vehicle.

    While I can see driving becoming a more automated activity, I can’t see the replacement of the driver coming any time soon. For reasons too numerous to list them all here, even if automated cars do come out in the near future, I’m almost certain that laws will be passed prohibiting them from moving in public without a human within reach of the controls.

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  85. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Pittsburgh Thatcherite
    Automation will reduce the demand for low IQ workers.

    Genetic engineering will increase the supply of high IQ men.

    Therefore, the wages of low IQ men will continue to decline.

    Low IQ men will be drawn to crime and extremism.

    But the population of low IQ men is growing.

    This population growth will lead to wars and famines, resulting in a tidal wave of refugees.

    What is the most effective way to halt the population growth of the unemployable?

    Pay a billion women to get on birth control.

    The payment will appeal most to poor women, who on average have low intelligence and high birth rates

    The problem with this is that poor women want sex and men and kids every bit as much as richer women do, and they can be totally careless/oblivious/drunken/drug-addled about whether they’ve taken their birth control pills or not. You’d have to sterilize them. Otherwise you’d end up with a caste of women who would agree to take the money to avoid having kids, then they’d have a dozen kids (Oops!) and end up on welfare, which the state would be forced to pay. Once the last kid is past 18, the women would then start demanding money again to avoid pregnancy, and you’d be surprised to find out how many women insist they can get pregnant past age 70.

    That’s how they’d con the system. Believe me, they’d figure out every angle to get the largest amount of money out of the state as possible.

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    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    They already do. Welfare benefits in DC approach the equivalent of a $50k after-tax income.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    The problem with this is that poor women want sex and men and kids every bit as much as richer women...
     
    More so.
  86. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Polynikes
    Is drunk driving crack downs really a driving factor?

    I moved to a smallerish, but nice, downtown city from a small town. As a drinker, I have to say that one of the nicest benefits is having a hundred or so (very rough estimate) bars and restaurants within walking or a 5 dollar uber distance. That's up from about 3 at my old town (no burr and not very walkable).

    Still it isn't one of the reasons I moved, but it may be one of the reasons I don't want to move out. I would say the crack down on drunk driving combined with smart phone prevalence are the two main forces behind uber.

    I would think it is. A DUI conviction can cost thousands of dollars, and, in some highly-regulated fields, can cost you your job.

    But another factor is probably sex. If you hit it off with a girl in a bar in a city, you’ve got a better shot of her sharing a cab with you back to your apartment in the city than, say, getting in your car and driving back with you to the suburbs, or getting in her car and following you, or taking the train with you.

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  87. Vendetta says:
    @Pittsburgh Thatcherite
    Automation will reduce the demand for low IQ workers.

    Genetic engineering will increase the supply of high IQ men.

    Therefore, the wages of low IQ men will continue to decline.

    Low IQ men will be drawn to crime and extremism.

    But the population of low IQ men is growing.

    This population growth will lead to wars and famines, resulting in a tidal wave of refugees.

    What is the most effective way to halt the population growth of the unemployable?

    Pay a billion women to get on birth control.

    The payment will appeal most to poor women, who on average have low intelligence and high birth rates

    You’re ignoring the part where their extremist husbands and fathers will kill them if they do that. Especially if it’s any permanent or long-term option. On the other hand, if you’re just paying them to take the pill, you’ll get plenty of them pocketing the cash and flushing the pill.

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    • Replies: @Pittsburgh Thatcherite
    Long-term birth control can be implanted anywhere, even in a public park.

    This is an important advantage, because it may not be possible to have a permanent birth control clinic.

    Implanting a nation’s women with birth control could provoke hostility.

    Birth control advocates could walk around a city, discreetly offering women cash to be implanted with Nexplanon.

    Nexplanon is a tube the size of a match that is implanted just under the skin of the upper arm.
  88. Ttjy says:
    @Vendetta
    This country can't even get trains to run on time. Your dream system will be gridlocked to shit, you'll be treated like an airline passenger, you'll no longer be free to bring whatever you damn please since it's no longer your car (no food unless you pay the additional cleanup service charge, no cigarettes if you smoke, etc. etc.), you'll probably have some other asshole who's done spilled his drink on the seats anyway and they haven't bothered cleaning the car yet since the system is backed up and they're an hour late getting it to you anyway. And of course you'll be on camera the whole time and nickel and dimed if you so much as fart in the wrong direction.

    Fuck that. Soviet boondoggle.

    I doubt it will ever work. I think it would be more complicated to do that it seems. Plus the initial cost would be large I would assume if they ever did get it to work.

    Even if they could get it functioning people have to have confidence that they won’t crash. Once there are some accidents people wouldn’t trust them and it will be over.

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  89. Ttjy says:
    @Wade
    Look, I'm a software developer and I love technology but if there is one technology that I hate and hope fails it is self-driving cars. There's simply no need for them. For crying out loud, people need things to do to make life worth living and that includes risk-taking. I'm of course thinking of robot technology in general. Things aren't going to be better for people when there's no productive occupation left for us to do. There's no human freedom without work and risk taking. Things will be miserable and life won't be worth living.

    The people inventing this stuff are a scourge.

    I think self-driving cars will never work, but the possibility of dying in a car accident doesn’t make life worth living.

    Dying in a car is the most absurd way to die according to Camus, which is how he died.

    If we could actually make cars perfectly safe I would be for it.

    If we could I would reduce the car in daily life as much as possible. Now that would improve life.

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  90. @Wade
    Look, I'm a software developer and I love technology but if there is one technology that I hate and hope fails it is self-driving cars. There's simply no need for them. For crying out loud, people need things to do to make life worth living and that includes risk-taking. I'm of course thinking of robot technology in general. Things aren't going to be better for people when there's no productive occupation left for us to do. There's no human freedom without work and risk taking. Things will be miserable and life won't be worth living.

    The people inventing this stuff are a scourge.

    You make a good point. I can see robotics in highly dangerous jobs (mining) and highly repetitive ones (industrial assembly lines), but it will have to be managed or we’ll have an enormous number of people with almost no genuine economic utility, and not just low IQ people either.

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  91. TWS says:

    There’s less traffic in the air and they get designated parking spaces. I once had long conversations with a programmer who worked on the auto-pilot for airplanes. Their biggest problem was programming the plane to act as if a human were piloting.

    The plane would fly just fine on auto-pilot but if it did not mimic a human closely enough the human pilot would take over needlessly. The hardest part was the pilot ‘Turing test’. This was over ten years ago and he was confident he could get a plane to within feet of the ground safely with just the autopilot.

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  92. Ed says:
    @Alec Leamas
    Herein lies the problem: in my suburban county outside of Philadelphia, it is approximated that 40% of the criminal docket is DUI offenses. That means several judges, attorneys, and countless police officers owe their livelihoods to people driving drunk and getting caught. They're also the sorts of people who know well and make political contributions to state representatives as individuals and through their political organizations and PACs. I would predict that long after automobile autopilot programs are proven safer than stone sober drivers it will still be a requirement that a licensed adult in the car be within the legal limit on the pretext that an emergent situation could arise and require sober operation of the vehicle.

    “Herein lies the problem: in my suburban county outside of Philadelphia, it is approximated that 40% of the criminal docket is DUI offenses. ” (# 65)

    There are a slew of laws and regulations on the books that are now basically there to drum up business for the government, regardless of whether they are still serving the original reason for their enactment. Even in cases where the original reason is still valid, it could be handled in a way less taxing on the wallets and liberties of ordinary citizens. The DUI system is probably the one people are most familiar with.

    In fact, I think liberatarians and liberatraian-leaning people are enthusiastic about the prospect of self driving cars precisely because it would circumvent alot of this stuff. Probably 98% of the time that a middle class person comes into contact with the law enforcement system involves getting into a car. Its one reason I have taken to avoid driving. The problem is that the same dynamic may well short circuit the development of self-driving cars in the first place.

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    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Right. And the needless complexity of the tax code keeps many people employed, which is why it will never be "simplified". Plus, as Insty says, there would be too few opportunities for graft.
  93. Ed says:

    The original post and most of the comments have some excellent analysis.

    I tend to agree that one thing about where the technology behind self-driving cars is unlikely to be applied is to personal cars, that will take one or two people, and only them, from their house to some store or office and back. Sci Fi movies and TV shows sometimes feature this, and it may even happen in the distant future, but its a “not in our lifetime” thing.

    Most of the reasons for this have been commented on here. Many people like driving because its their own car, and they can order the interior as they want (and I’ve seen some really messy cars) and treat it as a sort of extension of their home, which can’t be done in any sort of shared car. Government will be sure to make the principal user of a personal vehicle “responsible” for anything involving that vehicle, removing much of the benefit of the self driving car in terms of dealing with the DMV and law enforcement bureaucracies. A single user would have to stay alert during the trip to take over the controls as needed. The hardest part of the technology to bring online happens to be navigating lanes, cul-de-sacs, and parking lots with potentially lots of pedestrian traffic and unforseen obstacles. What commentators did not bring up is that self-driving cars do not address the main problem behind personal cars, and what is really the main impetus behind any post-automobile development of mass transit, which is simply traffic. They also don’t help with fuel efficiency or exhaust pollution, but many people can over-look that and still have problems with congested roads.

    Where the technology will probably be applied first will most likely wind up being mass transit, which can be made much cheaper by getting rid of the human operators. This will take away, since these jobs tend to be quasi-patronage jobs that will wind up being grandfathered away, and they will be partially replaced with safety officers, but over time the result will be mass transit with fewer accidents and lower operating costs.

    A step closer to personal self-driving cars will be self-driving vans, that will run between locations that don’t have manueverability/ pedestrian issues. They will differ from busses in being smaller and not having fixed routes. It won’t be a complete origin to destination trip, but you would walk a short distance to a marked point on a main road, call for a van to pick up you, and it will drop you off at a similar point near your destination. But you will have to share it with up to half dozen other passengers and it will be making stops to pick other people up or drop them off. The service will be similar to existing airport shuttles, just much more flexible and useful. I think this will be an improvement, but people are envisaging something much more utopian. And for the reasons I outlined above, it will co-exist with a diminished number of personally operated vehicles and traditional mass transit.

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    • Replies: @granesperanzablanco
    Mass transit like subways? That is already reality for 40 years.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_automated_urban_metro_subway_systems

    Driverless cars could have a roll with the first and last mile issue moderate density cities have in the US. You need to get to the train and when you get off your job site is in an inner ring suburb 2 miles from the station
  94. Busby says:
    @penntothal
    The jump to fully-autonomous passenger vehicles is too big for society to accept in one step.

    Smaller steps are more likely.

    My money on the first step: Long-haul trucking of cargo will be run by remote-control vehicles manned at a central control-station (like aerial drones are now). At least for the freeway portion of the haul (special freeway lanes could be created for truck drones and for cars that were willing to accept the implied risk of sharing those lanes with the unmanned vehicles.)

    Commercial drivers would likely have to meet the cargo trucks at the exits to navigate the non-freeway part of the haul. This would still save tremendous cost for the trucking companies since one operator could operate 4-5 freeway vehicles at a time from the control desk (partial autonomous driving with periodic alerts to the operator will help here) and since actual drivers who take the trucks off the freeway to the local streets could be employed locally and live where they work, thus reducing the inconvenience premium on truckers' salaries.

    Remote control of cargo jet planes has been technologically possible for a while now and will probably also be implemented soon.

    We call these trains.

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  95. @Wade
    Look, I'm a software developer and I love technology but if there is one technology that I hate and hope fails it is self-driving cars. There's simply no need for them. For crying out loud, people need things to do to make life worth living and that includes risk-taking. I'm of course thinking of robot technology in general. Things aren't going to be better for people when there's no productive occupation left for us to do. There's no human freedom without work and risk taking. Things will be miserable and life won't be worth living.

    The people inventing this stuff are a scourge.

    The people inventing this stuff are spergs. They’re the folks who watch Blade Runner and think, “Wow, wouldn’t it be cool to live in a world like that?” Many of them are into weird shit like “voluntary human extinction.”

    Their techno-über-alles wet dream is soon to be our nightmarish reality.

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  96. Luke Lea says: • Website

    Defensive driving might be a problem, recognizing those odd situations in which some fool might do something really crazy. OTH, machine reaction times will exceed human reaction times by a lot, so that even if they don’t anticipate they can still take avoidance maneuver. It might be safer if all cars are robots, not a mix, so that, for example, some asleep at the wheel tractor trailer driver doesn’t trap one against a concrete road divider as he drifts out of his lane.

    Then there is the problem that people enjoy driving. They might not want to give up their autonomy. Will be boring, like riding in a bus.

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  97. Mr. Anon says:
    @Vendetta
    This country can't even get trains to run on time. Your dream system will be gridlocked to shit, you'll be treated like an airline passenger, you'll no longer be free to bring whatever you damn please since it's no longer your car (no food unless you pay the additional cleanup service charge, no cigarettes if you smoke, etc. etc.), you'll probably have some other asshole who's done spilled his drink on the seats anyway and they haven't bothered cleaning the car yet since the system is backed up and they're an hour late getting it to you anyway. And of course you'll be on camera the whole time and nickel and dimed if you so much as fart in the wrong direction.

    Fuck that. Soviet boondoggle.

    Not to mention that you’ll be sitting down in a bunch of other people’s germs. The guy who used that public driverless car before you was probably picking his nose or scratching his balls just before he grabbed the seat-belt buckle and the door-handle on his way out the door. Or the drunk who took the car before you threw up all over the dash. Or that randy young couple had a quickie on the seat. Or some gay dudes had a hook-up in it. Or some guy heading home from the bar after getting shot down by the girl he’d been fantasizing about was whacking off in there.

    People are pigs. Just look at an airplane nowadays. They’re petrie dishes. And with a car, we’re talking about a means of transportation that affords people privacy.

    No thanks. I’ll drive my own car.

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  98. @Vendetta
    You're ignoring the part where their extremist husbands and fathers will kill them if they do that. Especially if it's any permanent or long-term option. On the other hand, if you're just paying them to take the pill, you'll get plenty of them pocketing the cash and flushing the pill.

    Long-term birth control can be implanted anywhere, even in a public park.

    This is an important advantage, because it may not be possible to have a permanent birth control clinic.

    Implanting a nation’s women with birth control could provoke hostility.

    Birth control advocates could walk around a city, discreetly offering women cash to be implanted with Nexplanon.

    Nexplanon is a tube the size of a match that is implanted just under the skin of the upper arm.

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    • Replies: @Vendetta
    These advocates in the park will get beaten, hung, beheaded, necklaced by those who don't want the evil Western imperialists sterilizing their women.
  99. @Anon
    The problem with this is that poor women want sex and men and kids every bit as much as richer women do, and they can be totally careless/oblivious/drunken/drug-addled about whether they've taken their birth control pills or not. You'd have to sterilize them. Otherwise you'd end up with a caste of women who would agree to take the money to avoid having kids, then they'd have a dozen kids (Oops!) and end up on welfare, which the state would be forced to pay. Once the last kid is past 18, the women would then start demanding money again to avoid pregnancy, and you'd be surprised to find out how many women insist they can get pregnant past age 70.

    That's how they'd con the system. Believe me, they'd figure out every angle to get the largest amount of money out of the state as possible.

    They already do. Welfare benefits in DC approach the equivalent of a $50k after-tax income.

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  100. @Ed
    "Herein lies the problem: in my suburban county outside of Philadelphia, it is approximated that 40% of the criminal docket is DUI offenses. " (# 65)

    There are a slew of laws and regulations on the books that are now basically there to drum up business for the government, regardless of whether they are still serving the original reason for their enactment. Even in cases where the original reason is still valid, it could be handled in a way less taxing on the wallets and liberties of ordinary citizens. The DUI system is probably the one people are most familiar with.

    In fact, I think liberatarians and liberatraian-leaning people are enthusiastic about the prospect of self driving cars precisely because it would circumvent alot of this stuff. Probably 98% of the time that a middle class person comes into contact with the law enforcement system involves getting into a car. Its one reason I have taken to avoid driving. The problem is that the same dynamic may well short circuit the development of self-driving cars in the first place.

    Right. And the needless complexity of the tax code keeps many people employed, which is why it will never be “simplified”. Plus, as Insty says, there would be too few opportunities for graft.

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  101. snorlax says:

    OT:

    So Trump is going back to the birther well a third time with Rubio.

    I love the guy, and I certainly have no love for Rubio, but this is getting to the point where even I find it too much. If Rubio’s ineligible because he has an immigrant parent, then so is Trump. And I’m having a hard time seeing how he’s planning to win Florida/the election while losing 95% of the Cuban vote.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    Neither of Rubio's parents were American citizens when he was born. He is not a natural born citizen of the United States.

    If simply being born on American soil makes one a natural born citizen, then why did the founders go to the trouble to use the phrase "natural born" rather than simply "born"? Everyone is born. Everyone is born somewhere. Everyone is born to two parents.

    Interestingly, if Cruz (born in Canda with one American citizen parent) and Rubio (born here, but neither parent was an American citizen) were both forced to argue their claim to the status "natural born citizen" they could end up invalidating each other's claim. It seems to me than unless the term "natural born" has no meaning whatsoever over-and-above the word "born", then they cannot both be "natural born citizens".
  102. Svigor says:

    It’s only useful if it never gives back control to you, which is only possible if the system running it is fully controlling the whole traffic on the highway, much the same way the whole railway traffic is controlled by the same system.

    Humans are autonomous agents, and we’re okay with them driving.

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  103. Svigor says:

    Anti-collision seems like a straightforward problem. If robot cars are smacking into kids in parking lots, they aren’t ready for prime time. Take your average healthy adult human; if he’s paying attention, he’s not smacking into kids in parking lots. Ever. It’s when his attention lapses, or he’s backing up and his vision is obstructed, that he gets into trouble. But robots don’t have those problems. Their attention is always 100% focused, and they can see through cameras mounted around the car. So, if they can get the robot car to the point where it’s otherwise as good as an average healthy adult human who’s paying attention, then it’ll definitely be ready for prime time. It’ll never smack into kids in parking lots.

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  104. Romanian says:
    @Anon7
    No kidding.

    India's constitution, adopted in 1950, inaugurated the world's oldest and farthest-reaching affirmative action programme, guaranteeing scheduled castes and tribes - the most disadvantaged groups in Hinduism's hierarchy - not only equality of opportunity but guaranteed outcomes, with reserved places in educational institutions, government jobs and even seats in parliament and the state assemblies.

    The logic was simple: they were justified as a means of making up for millennia of discrimination based on birth.

    In 1989, the government decided to extend their benefits to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) - those hailing from the lower and intermediate castes who were deemed backward because they lacked "upper caste" status.

    As more and more people sought fewer available government and university positions, we witnessed the unedifying spectacle of castes fighting with each other to be declared backward.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-35624547

     

    In my magnanimity, I’m willing to view them all as backward.

    But this could be a solution for the US – define the racial totem pole (1 Black in college is worth 2 Mestizos and 5 White Hispanics), and expressly use the Backward Classes designation.

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  105. Romanian says:
    @Pittsburgh Thatcherite
    We are not maximizing wealth creation when a venture capitalist is sitting in traffic congestion next to a maid.

    We should charge a congestion fee on every road, and raise the fee in real time until the road is not congested.

    Therefore, no road would ever be congested.

    High-income people would always be able to drive fast, even at rush hour.

    Low-income people could cluster into buses.

    I understand you were joking (I think), but the problem is that it is very important for poor people to have price stability, so they can factor it in properly in their economic calculus. Raising the fee in real time is the opposite of that. Will the poor man leave his car on the side of the road when his fee become too onerous and schlep it to the nearest bus station?

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    • Replies: @Brutusale
    In John Varley's SF novel Red Thunder, the autopilot roads have different speed lanes. Usage of the faster lanes are lanes are dictated first, by the safety status of your equipment and second, by the fee you pay.

    Is it that big a deal that the rich guy with the Ferrari gets to use the 120 mph lane while the working class guy with the '99 Corolla has to make do with the 55 mph lane?
  106. @Ed
    The original post and most of the comments have some excellent analysis.

    I tend to agree that one thing about where the technology behind self-driving cars is unlikely to be applied is to personal cars, that will take one or two people, and only them, from their house to some store or office and back. Sci Fi movies and TV shows sometimes feature this, and it may even happen in the distant future, but its a "not in our lifetime" thing.

    Most of the reasons for this have been commented on here. Many people like driving because its their own car, and they can order the interior as they want (and I've seen some really messy cars) and treat it as a sort of extension of their home, which can't be done in any sort of shared car. Government will be sure to make the principal user of a personal vehicle "responsible" for anything involving that vehicle, removing much of the benefit of the self driving car in terms of dealing with the DMV and law enforcement bureaucracies. A single user would have to stay alert during the trip to take over the controls as needed. The hardest part of the technology to bring online happens to be navigating lanes, cul-de-sacs, and parking lots with potentially lots of pedestrian traffic and unforseen obstacles. What commentators did not bring up is that self-driving cars do not address the main problem behind personal cars, and what is really the main impetus behind any post-automobile development of mass transit, which is simply traffic. They also don't help with fuel efficiency or exhaust pollution, but many people can over-look that and still have problems with congested roads.

    Where the technology will probably be applied first will most likely wind up being mass transit, which can be made much cheaper by getting rid of the human operators. This will take away, since these jobs tend to be quasi-patronage jobs that will wind up being grandfathered away, and they will be partially replaced with safety officers, but over time the result will be mass transit with fewer accidents and lower operating costs.

    A step closer to personal self-driving cars will be self-driving vans, that will run between locations that don't have manueverability/ pedestrian issues. They will differ from busses in being smaller and not having fixed routes. It won't be a complete origin to destination trip, but you would walk a short distance to a marked point on a main road, call for a van to pick up you, and it will drop you off at a similar point near your destination. But you will have to share it with up to half dozen other passengers and it will be making stops to pick other people up or drop them off. The service will be similar to existing airport shuttles, just much more flexible and useful. I think this will be an improvement, but people are envisaging something much more utopian. And for the reasons I outlined above, it will co-exist with a diminished number of personally operated vehicles and traditional mass transit.

    Mass transit like subways? That is already reality for 40 years.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_automated_urban_metro_subway_systems

    Driverless cars could have a roll with the first and last mile issue moderate density cities have in the US. You need to get to the train and when you get off your job site is in an inner ring suburb 2 miles from the station

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    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Driverless subways would run up against the powerful transit unions. If the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) is any guide, with this week's story about an MBTA worker who made over $300K last year approving his own overtime, the fight will be eternal.

    State-run transit authorities are sinkholes of the double whammy sort: employees are either patronage (Whitey Bulger's brother Billy, former state Senate president, used the T as his own jobs program) and affirmative action. Any iStevers use the T? Seen a white male bus driver in this millennium?
  107. Romanian says:
    @Pittsburgh Thatcherite
    Shared driverless cars and congestion pricing will result in transportation that is always fast and inexpensive.

    This will change the structure of cities.

    No need to own a car, houses do not need garages, offices and malls do not need parking lots, cities do not need to build mass transit systems.

    Today, a city’s roads intersect in a central hub, surrounded by concentric loops.
    In the future, roads will be a simple grid, which can be extended infinitely.

    Shared driverless cars and congestion pricing will enable the creation of new continent-sized cities that move people and goods more efficiently than existing cities.

    There are some levels of sophistication I’d rather we avoid, because we’re courting disaster if somebody takes the system offline or messes with it somehow. Big cities are already death traps in the event of a societal collapse. Continent sized cities where you can’t get anything anywhere except on foot will be something apocalyptic.

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  108. George says:
    @2Mintzin1
    Mr. Tor has a good point...self-driving cars could work, I suppose, on a surface with perfectly uniform traction...but what happens when/if the vehicle loses traction quickly, let's say on a sheen of black ice, or on spilled fuel/oil?
    The vehicle would hand off control to the driver, but the driver could not possibly acquire "road feel" in the few seconds it would take to avoid going sideways.

    Losing traction is probably more uniform than the varying traction of typical road surfaces. So the computer probably would be able to figure out what to do more capably than they typical human. A robot might also be able to see in spectra beyond visible light so it might identify black ice clearly at a distance.

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    • Replies: @2Mintzin1
    OK, "seeing" is one of the problems I was most concerned. With.

    On, let's say, a night-time winter drive from New York City to Syracuse NY, I can anticipate road conditions which vary from "dry pavement", to "snow/ice, with two wheel ruts ," or "full snow whiteout with no visible pavement" in which to drive, sometimes within the space of a few miles. In a whiteout, you may not be able to see more than a few hundred feet in front of the car.

    If technology advances to the point where these conditions are visible , understandable , and safely drivable, to a machine equal to a human being, I'm with you. That posits a machine so advanced that control will never have to be handed back to the human driver.

    I doubt that this will be anytime soon.
    Of course, if they are, Mr. Tor's point would be moot.
    I'm betting with Tor.
  109. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Wade
    Look, I'm a software developer and I love technology but if there is one technology that I hate and hope fails it is self-driving cars. There's simply no need for them. For crying out loud, people need things to do to make life worth living and that includes risk-taking. I'm of course thinking of robot technology in general. Things aren't going to be better for people when there's no productive occupation left for us to do. There's no human freedom without work and risk taking. Things will be miserable and life won't be worth living.

    The people inventing this stuff are a scourge.

    We don’t have self-driving cars yet, and people aren’t out there “risk-taking.” The average person spends half their waking life on the internet or watching TV:

    http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/internet-pushes-media-use-more-8-hours-day-165067

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  110. @Jim Don Bob
    There is a B-36 at the Air Force museum in Dayton Ohio along with lots of other cool planes. Highly recommended.

    Saw it there for the first time. There’s one at the SAC Museum at Offut Air Force Base in Omaha. Even in an age of Jumbo Jets, it remains an impressive aircraft. But not an easy one to fly or maintain.

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    • Replies: @Former Darfur
    I'd love to see a B-36 fly again, but it probably won't happen.

    It was not a terribly tough airplane to fly, it was just big-it was the biggest thing in the air for its entire flying life. Modern jumbo jets are heavier, but not much bigger.

    It wasn't especially expensive to maintain except for needing a lot of whatever it needed. No special fuels, materials or procedures were used or required. The R-4360 is still in the air occasionally, in corncob Corsairs, modified Sea Furies, et al. If the Air Force decided to do as every other first world air force does and operate a "Historic Flight" of warbirds, (most use them for test pilot training-they are, after all, a unfamiliar type to modern UPT trainees who rarely have any outside flying experience beyond Cessnas and Cherokes or Bonanzas) getting a KC-135 or B-52 crew current on type would not be especially tough. Flight engineers would be a problem, I 'm guessing they would have to send candidates to Alaska freight operations who operate DC-4/6/7's and set up a simulator, or else use outside contractors with a lot of radial mechanical experience.

    It's not going to happen, thanks to the Barstooler mentality that prevails.
  111. Taco says:
    @Former Darfur
    It was the FAA that required two pilots even on such tiny jets as the original 23 and 24 Lears, because the category of certification under which these airplanes were certified. Then Cessna built the first Citations, which were much more similar to a light twin in how they flew than the fighterlike Lear, which had some dangerous quirks in handling. They eventually recertificated the Citation in the category that allowed for single pilot operation, and one of the first SP Citations promptly crashed with Thurman Munson in the left seat. He was killed, and the FAA was lambasted for its 'excessive leniency' despite the fact that Munson's check captain/flight instructor was in the right seat at the time. (IIRC he walked out of the wreck.)

    Light piston twins are much more in need of two pilot operation than are turboprop and light jet twins, because turbine engines are much simpler to operate. The induction and ignition systems of the free air cooled Lycoming and Continental engines still in use are unchanged from pre-WWII aircraft and require constant manual operation just as in a B-17 or DC-3, but those aircraft had a two man flight deck. The B-24 had a dedicated flight engineer and required three people to fly, which was, if not a first, definitely unusual at the time. So did the B-29 and the (wartime designed, but not flown until after the war) B-36-the last model actually required TWO flight engineers.

    The B-24 had a dedicated flight engineer and required three people to fly, which was, if not a first, definitely unusual at the time. So did the B-29

    Those planes also had navigators and radio operators. (Also bombardiers, radar technicians and gunners, but they probably weren’t necessary for a non-combat sortie). Really, they were designed to be flown by 5 people.

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    • Replies: @anonymous
    Full operational crew on a B-17 was, depending on type, two pilots, FE/gunner, Bombardier, Navigator, Radio Op, two waist gunners, ball turret gunner and tail gunner. But for many sorties this wasn't necessary or desirable. From a flight standpoint, if they could find where they were going, two man operation was very possible and common. In warbird ops such as airshow visits or hauling jumpers we never saw more than two people "needed". I remember the famous Rev. Junior Burchinal and a student landing at someplace in Oklahoma where I was doing an instrument XC with a safety pilot. We were given a short tour of Junior's Fort and he told me that he'd be happy to train me for the type rating (I don't remember if it was a type rating or a LOA) but it was $500 an hour. Today you'd probably have to buy the airplane to get trained on it.

    That airplane had a full standard civilian radio stack up front, which military ones did not, but I think they could set the "Command Set" for control from the 'flight deck', I think they would have had to have a navigator or bombardier for serious instrument operations back then. In those crews there was a lot of cross training-bombardiers could navigate, everyone could operate the radios and some guns, et al.

    With airplanes with a real flight engineer's station, you had to have someone in that seat to fly under any imaginable circumstance. He had all the engine instruments and controls besides the throttles, the fuel tank switches, pressurization if it had it, AC/heating, and a lot of incidentals.

    The British configured several of their heavies with one pilot station and a FE station, so two man operation was possible, and in an absolute emergency many three man heavies could be flown that way but it was not permissible under military procedures to do that intentionally. Certainly not under the FAR's in civilian life.

    Automation has caused most heavy aircraft to go from a three to a two man crew, but even so the flight deck can get pretty busy in airline operations on these aircraft from what I am told.
  112. It is a Huuuuuuuuuuge plane. They rolled it in and then built the roof over it.

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  113. @Anonymous
    You are close to an important point in system design which is new capabilities generally require new systems to take advantage. Much has been made about the difference between the lifestyle changes of late industrial age vs early information age. This is simply because society has not yet been willing or able to adopt systems which can take advantage of what computers are good at. We may never be capable of that but if anybody does its going to look like a complete overthrow of everything. It is unrealistic to believe that computer augmented transport would look like cars anymore than the internet looks like newspapers. Usually this transition is managed poorly for example WW1 and the American Civil War as shifts from militaristic government to commercial democratic government. In fact I can't think of any examples of the transition going smoothly thought you have a better historical memory than I.

    Which isn't to say self-driving cars won't happen, drone cars with MMO style control and voting could allow first world cars to be driven by smart phones from around the world with prizes and money for route efficiency and safety. The tech to make that happen exists today and packing up enough to put Uber out of business would cost less than Uber has raised. Its just that as you have also frequent pointed out people like thinking certas paribus but all the real gains will come from domino style waves of change. The trick is working out what you 'know' that's worth hanging on to while aggressively wiping out all of the dross, which if history is any kind of a guide will turn out to be basically nothing and everything.

    This has to be one of the worst iSteve threads i’ve ever read. Lots of stupid “this isn’t going to happen” or “this is too hard” comments.

    The difficult transitions are those where there’s some sort of “hump” to get over to get to the new state. For example a better system but one that requires a huge infrastructure expense, and\or deserting a bunch of current sunk costs.

    In contrast this is an *easy* transition. It’s incremental on top of the system–human driven cars–we have now, and can produce immediate incremental benefits.

    For starters auto transport is far and away our most dangerous “system”. It has about a 1% chance of killing you during your lifetime. We already have systems of insurance and legal resolution. So rather than an area where the failure of the new system is uncharted, potentially legally perilous territory, automated driving only has to be “as good as typical human” to gain significant traction.

    Most people can drive adequately, but are not particularly good drivers. People are just *bad* at the core task of “paying attention”. Some people are just bad at even simply “looking down the road”. (The most annoying insist on looking at you when they talk–talk to the windshield jackass, i’ll still hear you.) Cell phones are have made the paying attention problem much worse, plus are chipping away at folks’ attention spans. And even the best drivers have human reaction times. (Which lengthen as you age.) In contrast, the automated cars can *always* pay attention, and have very fast reaction times.

    And we’re already seeing the incremental technology. Cruise control long back. Then anti-lock brakes. Now we have collision avoidance systems and lane warning. We know Google has a bunch of fully autonomous vehicles already out there driving. There some obvious areas–like freeway driving, especially congested freeway driving–where it’s clear automated systems can already beat what humans do, improving both safety and capacity\congestion. The capability will only ramp up. Because of the failure of humans and it’s high cost, driving is actually a *ripe* area to be automated.

    Finally there’s the obvious–there are huge cost savings from replacing humans. Even if the systems simply reached more or less safety parity with humans, ask yourself “does UPS want this?”. They can pay for a lot of extra accidents when they are saving the cost of a driver pulling down 50-100k in wages and benefits, taking holidays and paid vacations. (Postal service, even easier to automate at the delivery end. )

    This is coming. It’s not my area of expertise, i don’t know timeline. But it’s obviously an area where rather than some big barrier to the “brave new world”, incremental improvement is both possible and already happening and the incentives for it are immediate and potentially enormous. Maybe this isn’t as clear cut as the case against open immigration, but it really is at that level. There’s no serious debate about this by anyone thinking critically.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ttjy
    I read somewhere that 3% of Americans will die in a car accident. A ridiculous number that we put up with for reason. We certainly don't try to build a society without cars, we just put more safety equipment in them.


    Hopefully, years from now we can go back to streets on a human scale with cars used only in rare cases.

    Streets for People is a great book by Bernard Rudofsky.

    http://www.amazon.com/Streets-People-A-Primer-Americans/dp/0385042310



    I hate driving and would love not to even own a car. If I had to drive, I would love a self driving car.

    There was an ad for Metra in Chicago in 30's or 40's on a billboard that said: Driving is Work take Metra instead.

    We should gradually reduce car usage but in the meantime we can have self driving car.

    I wonder if it would be an all or nothing. Meaning that everybody would have to have a self driving car. That would be the best way.
  114. @Anonymous
    For a "people mover" to work you actually have to have some people that want to be moved.

    For a “people mover” to work you actually have to have some people that want to be moved.

    Ah, but the people of Detroit do want to be moved. Unfortunately (for Detroiters) the people mover doesn’t extend to Bloomfield Hills.

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  115. @Anon
    The problem with this is that poor women want sex and men and kids every bit as much as richer women do, and they can be totally careless/oblivious/drunken/drug-addled about whether they've taken their birth control pills or not. You'd have to sterilize them. Otherwise you'd end up with a caste of women who would agree to take the money to avoid having kids, then they'd have a dozen kids (Oops!) and end up on welfare, which the state would be forced to pay. Once the last kid is past 18, the women would then start demanding money again to avoid pregnancy, and you'd be surprised to find out how many women insist they can get pregnant past age 70.

    That's how they'd con the system. Believe me, they'd figure out every angle to get the largest amount of money out of the state as possible.

    The problem with this is that poor women want sex and men and kids every bit as much as richer women…

    More so.

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  116. @Diversity Heretic
    Saw it there for the first time. There's one at the SAC Museum at Offut Air Force Base in Omaha. Even in an age of Jumbo Jets, it remains an impressive aircraft. But not an easy one to fly or maintain.

    I’d love to see a B-36 fly again, but it probably won’t happen.

    It was not a terribly tough airplane to fly, it was just big-it was the biggest thing in the air for its entire flying life. Modern jumbo jets are heavier, but not much bigger.

    It wasn’t especially expensive to maintain except for needing a lot of whatever it needed. No special fuels, materials or procedures were used or required. The R-4360 is still in the air occasionally, in corncob Corsairs, modified Sea Furies, et al. If the Air Force decided to do as every other first world air force does and operate a “Historic Flight” of warbirds, (most use them for test pilot training-they are, after all, a unfamiliar type to modern UPT trainees who rarely have any outside flying experience beyond Cessnas and Cherokes or Bonanzas) getting a KC-135 or B-52 crew current on type would not be especially tough. Flight engineers would be a problem, I ‘m guessing they would have to send candidates to Alaska freight operations who operate DC-4/6/7′s and set up a simulator, or else use outside contractors with a lot of radial mechanical experience.

    It’s not going to happen, thanks to the Barstooler mentality that prevails.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
    In the UK the last flying Avro Vulcan, a magnificent beast of a Cold War bomber, has just been permanently grounded as the sponsors removed support.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Vulcan_XH558

    http://www.vulcantothesky.org/history/post-flight/end-of-flight-2.html

    "Unfortunately, having evaluated a great many factors, the three expert companies on whom we depend – BAE Systems, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group and Rolls-Royce, together known as the ‘technical authorities’ - have collectively decided to cease their support at the end of this flying season. Without that support, under Civil Aviation Authority regulations, we are prohibited from flying.

    At the heart of their decision are two factors. First, although we are all confident that XH558 is currently as safe as any aircraft flying today, her structure and systems are already more than ten percent beyond the flying hours of any other Vulcan, so knowing where to look for any possible failure will become gradually more difficult. Second, maintaining her superb safety record requires expertise that is increasingly difficult to find. Our technical partners already bring specialists out of retirement specifically to work on XH558; a solution that is increasingly impractical for those businesses as the necessary skills and knowledge become distant in their collective memories."


    I was lucky enough to see her last year - queues for the airshow gridlocked roads for five miles around the airfield and I (without a ticket) watched from the roadside in company with dozens of ticket-holders who couldn't get in because of the traffic.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvFvBbsQVI4
  117. There is some agreement that one of the root causes of the crash of Air France flight 447 in June 2009 was the effect of reducing pilot workload except in exotic emergencies.

    The automated systems on the plane could handle things 99.99% of the time. That 0.01% of the time they couldn’t handle it was because the plane was in a situation not even the engineers that built the planes could anticipate, much less correct. If the engineers didn’t know how to handle it, what hope did the pilots have of working through the conflicting information they were getting from deep layers of control systems that were, in some ways, working against them?

    Wiener pointed out that the effect of automation is to reduce the cockpit workload when the workload is low and to increase it when the workload is high.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/news/business/2014/10/air-france-flight-447-crash

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  118. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Has anyone ever studied whether wearing racing helmets in cars for regular driving would reduce the risk of fatalities and serious injuries significantly?

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  119. Jack D says:

    It’s only useful if it never gives back control to you

    This is correct – Google is planning for its driverless cars to not even have a steering wheel.

    , which is only possible if the system running it is fully controlling the whole traffic on the highway, much the same way the whole railway traffic is controlled by the same system.

    This is completely wrong. We are not living in the 19th century with choo choos. That’s not how it’s gonna be.

    You drive your car autonomously even though you have no control over the other cars. There are signals at some intersections but mostly each driver is responsible for staying away from other vehicles. Self driving cars will do exactly the same. This means that accidents are still possible (as long as there are human drivers, drunken idiots will go thru stop signs and T-bone driverless cars, etc. ). The driverless cars will inevitably make mistakes and be at fault in accidents, but at a MUCH lower rate than even the best human driver. And many human drivers are NOT the best – by definition half are below average (although no one thinks of HIMSELF as a below average driver), not to mention those who are impaired by drugs, alcohol, fatigue, etc. Driverless cars will NEVER have one drink too many. Driverless cars don’t have to be PERFECTLY safe, just safer than the best human driver.

    As driverless cars become dominant there will probably be some telemetry between them which will increase safety even further (once we get rid of human drivers then you can also get rid of stop signs and just zoom thru if the coast is clear) but it will be another layer on top of an already safe system.

    The biggest problem with driverless cars is psychological – people won’t like the idea that they can’t “take control in an emergency”, even though that capability is mostly worthless. Maybe there should be some sort of emergency brake button for comfort. The 2nd biggest problem will be lawyers suing them every time there is an accident.

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    • Replies: @Ed
    There is a good point here, which has been made in other discussions of driverless cars.

    These things will work alot better if every car on the road is driverless, and the human occupants can't override the driver.

    (I would always, however, allow the human occupants to order the car to pull over to the side of the road and let them get out of the car)

    This eliminates the "what if humans driving other cars do something crazy!" objections. There would be no human drivers and no one would be doing anything crazy. If a driverless car malfunctions, the protocol would be once anything went wrong with the wiring, it would pull over to the side of the road, let the human occupants out, and give them a message about what went wrong. They would then call for a new car.

    That pretty much leaves pedestrians and weather. The simplest solution would be to have the cars avoid both -they just avoid pedestrian heavy areas, pulling over short of them and then people have to walk a short distance or take the remaining mass transit options. They just wouldn't operate in extreme weather conditions and bosses would just have to accept that they can't have the office open when there is a blizzard.

    However, there would be alot of opposition to this, people for whom this is too similar to Blade Runner, people who want to drive their own cars, people who want to keep their businesses open in extreme weather conditions, entire professions and trades that make money off of car accidents, and people who just don't like walking a few blocks which would be necessary in pedestrian heavy areas. I think this is enough to stop it.
    , @Hacienda
    The 2nd biggest problem will be lawyers suing them every time there is an accident.

    -----

    Class action suits always work against the perpetrator. The misdeed done. But shouldn't there be an opposite, opposing credit given to makers who prevent accidents. If a company sells a self-driving car that is 10-100x safer than a driven car, the liability for injury should be weighed against that general benefit. Tort lawyers, then, who prevent the adoption of driverless cars should then be subject to some kind of penalty themselves.

  120. Montezuma says:

    “If you are in the middle of reading a book”

    Impossible. It’s too juddery for this, I’m often driving with friends or relatives, and there is no way you can really read a book in a car. Why would that be different with self-driving cars?

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  121. Ed says:
    @Jack D

    It’s only useful if it never gives back control to you
     
    This is correct - Google is planning for its driverless cars to not even have a steering wheel.

    , which is only possible if the system running it is fully controlling the whole traffic on the highway, much the same way the whole railway traffic is controlled by the same system.
     
    This is completely wrong. We are not living in the 19th century with choo choos. That's not how it's gonna be.

    You drive your car autonomously even though you have no control over the other cars. There are signals at some intersections but mostly each driver is responsible for staying away from other vehicles. Self driving cars will do exactly the same. This means that accidents are still possible (as long as there are human drivers, drunken idiots will go thru stop signs and T-bone driverless cars, etc. ). The driverless cars will inevitably make mistakes and be at fault in accidents, but at a MUCH lower rate than even the best human driver. And many human drivers are NOT the best - by definition half are below average (although no one thinks of HIMSELF as a below average driver), not to mention those who are impaired by drugs, alcohol, fatigue, etc. Driverless cars will NEVER have one drink too many. Driverless cars don't have to be PERFECTLY safe, just safer than the best human driver.

    As driverless cars become dominant there will probably be some telemetry between them which will increase safety even further (once we get rid of human drivers then you can also get rid of stop signs and just zoom thru if the coast is clear) but it will be another layer on top of an already safe system.

    The biggest problem with driverless cars is psychological - people won't like the idea that they can't "take control in an emergency", even though that capability is mostly worthless. Maybe there should be some sort of emergency brake button for comfort. The 2nd biggest problem will be lawyers suing them every time there is an accident.

    There is a good point here, which has been made in other discussions of driverless cars.

    These things will work alot better if every car on the road is driverless, and the human occupants can’t override the driver.

    (I would always, however, allow the human occupants to order the car to pull over to the side of the road and let them get out of the car)

    This eliminates the “what if humans driving other cars do something crazy!” objections. There would be no human drivers and no one would be doing anything crazy. If a driverless car malfunctions, the protocol would be once anything went wrong with the wiring, it would pull over to the side of the road, let the human occupants out, and give them a message about what went wrong. They would then call for a new car.

    That pretty much leaves pedestrians and weather. The simplest solution would be to have the cars avoid both -they just avoid pedestrian heavy areas, pulling over short of them and then people have to walk a short distance or take the remaining mass transit options. They just wouldn’t operate in extreme weather conditions and bosses would just have to accept that they can’t have the office open when there is a blizzard.

    However, there would be alot of opposition to this, people for whom this is too similar to Blade Runner, people who want to drive their own cars, people who want to keep their businesses open in extreme weather conditions, entire professions and trades that make money off of car accidents, and people who just don’t like walking a few blocks which would be necessary in pedestrian heavy areas. I think this is enough to stop it.

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  122. Ttjy says:
    @AnotherDad
    This has to be one of the worst iSteve threads i've ever read. Lots of stupid "this isn't going to happen" or "this is too hard" comments.

    The difficult transitions are those where there's some sort of "hump" to get over to get to the new state. For example a better system but one that requires a huge infrastructure expense, and\or deserting a bunch of current sunk costs.

    In contrast this is an *easy* transition. It's incremental on top of the system--human driven cars--we have now, and can produce immediate incremental benefits.

    For starters auto transport is far and away our most dangerous "system". It has about a 1% chance of killing you during your lifetime. We already have systems of insurance and legal resolution. So rather than an area where the failure of the new system is uncharted, potentially legally perilous territory, automated driving only has to be "as good as typical human" to gain significant traction.

    Most people can drive adequately, but are not particularly good drivers. People are just *bad* at the core task of "paying attention". Some people are just bad at even simply "looking down the road". (The most annoying insist on looking at you when they talk--talk to the windshield jackass, i'll still hear you.) Cell phones are have made the paying attention problem much worse, plus are chipping away at folks' attention spans. And even the best drivers have human reaction times. (Which lengthen as you age.) In contrast, the automated cars can *always* pay attention, and have very fast reaction times.

    And we're already seeing the incremental technology. Cruise control long back. Then anti-lock brakes. Now we have collision avoidance systems and lane warning. We know Google has a bunch of fully autonomous vehicles already out there driving. There some obvious areas--like freeway driving, especially congested freeway driving--where it's clear automated systems can already beat what humans do, improving both safety and capacity\congestion. The capability will only ramp up. Because of the failure of humans and it's high cost, driving is actually a *ripe* area to be automated.

    Finally there's the obvious--there are huge cost savings from replacing humans. Even if the systems simply reached more or less safety parity with humans, ask yourself "does UPS want this?". They can pay for a lot of extra accidents when they are saving the cost of a driver pulling down 50-100k in wages and benefits, taking holidays and paid vacations. (Postal service, even easier to automate at the delivery end. )

    This is coming. It's not my area of expertise, i don't know timeline. But it's obviously an area where rather than some big barrier to the "brave new world", incremental improvement is both possible and already happening and the incentives for it are immediate and potentially enormous. Maybe this isn't as clear cut as the case against open immigration, but it really is at that level. There's no serious debate about this by anyone thinking critically.

    I read somewhere that 3% of Americans will die in a car accident. A ridiculous number that we put up with for reason. We certainly don’t try to build a society without cars, we just put more safety equipment in them.

    Hopefully, years from now we can go back to streets on a human scale with cars used only in rare cases.

    Streets for People is a great book by Bernard Rudofsky.

    http://www.amazon.com/Streets-People-A-Primer-Americans/dp/0385042310

    I hate driving and would love not to even own a car. If I had to drive, I would love a self driving car.

    There was an ad for Metra in Chicago in 30′s or 40′s on a billboard that said: Driving is Work take Metra instead.

    We should gradually reduce car usage but in the meantime we can have self driving car.

    I wonder if it would be an all or nothing. Meaning that everybody would have to have a self driving car. That would be the best way.

    Read More
  123. Hacienda says:
    @Jack D

    It’s only useful if it never gives back control to you
     
    This is correct - Google is planning for its driverless cars to not even have a steering wheel.

    , which is only possible if the system running it is fully controlling the whole traffic on the highway, much the same way the whole railway traffic is controlled by the same system.
     
    This is completely wrong. We are not living in the 19th century with choo choos. That's not how it's gonna be.

    You drive your car autonomously even though you have no control over the other cars. There are signals at some intersections but mostly each driver is responsible for staying away from other vehicles. Self driving cars will do exactly the same. This means that accidents are still possible (as long as there are human drivers, drunken idiots will go thru stop signs and T-bone driverless cars, etc. ). The driverless cars will inevitably make mistakes and be at fault in accidents, but at a MUCH lower rate than even the best human driver. And many human drivers are NOT the best - by definition half are below average (although no one thinks of HIMSELF as a below average driver), not to mention those who are impaired by drugs, alcohol, fatigue, etc. Driverless cars will NEVER have one drink too many. Driverless cars don't have to be PERFECTLY safe, just safer than the best human driver.

    As driverless cars become dominant there will probably be some telemetry between them which will increase safety even further (once we get rid of human drivers then you can also get rid of stop signs and just zoom thru if the coast is clear) but it will be another layer on top of an already safe system.

    The biggest problem with driverless cars is psychological - people won't like the idea that they can't "take control in an emergency", even though that capability is mostly worthless. Maybe there should be some sort of emergency brake button for comfort. The 2nd biggest problem will be lawyers suing them every time there is an accident.

    The 2nd biggest problem will be lawyers suing them every time there is an accident.

    —–

    Class action suits always work against the perpetrator. The misdeed done. But shouldn’t there be an opposite, opposing credit given to makers who prevent accidents. If a company sells a self-driving car that is 10-100x safer than a driven car, the liability for injury should be weighed against that general benefit. Tort lawyers, then, who prevent the adoption of driverless cars should then be subject to some kind of penalty themselves.

    Read More
  124. 2Mintzin1 [AKA "Mike"] says:
    @George
    Losing traction is probably more uniform than the varying traction of typical road surfaces. So the computer probably would be able to figure out what to do more capably than they typical human. A robot might also be able to see in spectra beyond visible light so it might identify black ice clearly at a distance.

    OK, “seeing” is one of the problems I was most concerned. With.

    On, let’s say, a night-time winter drive from New York City to Syracuse NY, I can anticipate road conditions which vary from “dry pavement”, to “snow/ice, with two wheel ruts ,” or “full snow whiteout with no visible pavement” in which to drive, sometimes within the space of a few miles. In a whiteout, you may not be able to see more than a few hundred feet in front of the car.

    If technology advances to the point where these conditions are visible , understandable , and safely drivable, to a machine equal to a human being, I’m with you. That posits a machine so advanced that control will never have to be handed back to the human driver.

    I doubt that this will be anytime soon.
    Of course, if they are, Mr. Tor’s point would be moot.
    I’m betting with Tor.

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  125. Mr. Anon says:
    @snorlax
    OT:

    So Trump is going back to the birther well a third time with Rubio.

    I love the guy, and I certainly have no love for Rubio, but this is getting to the point where even I find it too much. If Rubio's ineligible because he has an immigrant parent, then so is Trump. And I'm having a hard time seeing how he's planning to win Florida/the election while losing 95% of the Cuban vote.

    Neither of Rubio’s parents were American citizens when he was born. He is not a natural born citizen of the United States.

    If simply being born on American soil makes one a natural born citizen, then why did the founders go to the trouble to use the phrase “natural born” rather than simply “born”? Everyone is born. Everyone is born somewhere. Everyone is born to two parents.

    Interestingly, if Cruz (born in Canda with one American citizen parent) and Rubio (born here, but neither parent was an American citizen) were both forced to argue their claim to the status “natural born citizen” they could end up invalidating each other’s claim. It seems to me than unless the term “natural born” has no meaning whatsoever over-and-above the word “born”, then they cannot both be “natural born citizens”.

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    • Replies: @gcochran
    Clearly, "natural born" means "not a C-section".
    , @snorlax
    Andrew Jackson's parents were both born in Ireland. James Madison, who wrote the Constitution, was still living at the time of Jackson's election and raised no objection.

    Just because Trump says to jump off a bridge does not mean you have to do it.

    , @Jack D
    Blackstone, whom the founders knew and relied upon, wrote "Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown" . You are allowed to use adjectives - even if natural born adds nothing to born, it's clearer. No one (except you) has ever seriously argued that Rubio is not an American citizen.

    Putting aside Obama, Chester A. Arthur was the son of an Irishman who became a naturalized United States citizen in 1843, fifteen years after his son Arthur’s birth (in the U.S.) in 1829, but no one ever questioned whether he was natural-born. How does "natural" born imply that both (or either) of your parents have to be citizens at the time of your birth? What's "natural" about that?

    Cruz is a harder case but Coke (another well known legal authority of the time) wrote "[I]f any of the King's ambassadors in foreign nations, have children there of their wives, being English women, by the common laws of England they are natural-born subjects, and yet they are born out-of the King's dominions."

    In Coke's example, both parents are citizens - it's less clear what they meant to happen if only one was (especially if that one was not the father). But it's clear that under common law that under certain circumstances you could be born outside the country and yet be a "natural born" citizen.
  126. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Taco

    The B-24 had a dedicated flight engineer and required three people to fly, which was, if not a first, definitely unusual at the time. So did the B-29
     
    Those planes also had navigators and radio operators. (Also bombardiers, radar technicians and gunners, but they probably weren't necessary for a non-combat sortie). Really, they were designed to be flown by 5 people.

    Full operational crew on a B-17 was, depending on type, two pilots, FE/gunner, Bombardier, Navigator, Radio Op, two waist gunners, ball turret gunner and tail gunner. But for many sorties this wasn’t necessary or desirable. From a flight standpoint, if they could find where they were going, two man operation was very possible and common. In warbird ops such as airshow visits or hauling jumpers we never saw more than two people “needed”. I remember the famous Rev. Junior Burchinal and a student landing at someplace in Oklahoma where I was doing an instrument XC with a safety pilot. We were given a short tour of Junior’s Fort and he told me that he’d be happy to train me for the type rating (I don’t remember if it was a type rating or a LOA) but it was $500 an hour. Today you’d probably have to buy the airplane to get trained on it.

    That airplane had a full standard civilian radio stack up front, which military ones did not, but I think they could set the “Command Set” for control from the ‘flight deck’, I think they would have had to have a navigator or bombardier for serious instrument operations back then. In those crews there was a lot of cross training-bombardiers could navigate, everyone could operate the radios and some guns, et al.

    With airplanes with a real flight engineer’s station, you had to have someone in that seat to fly under any imaginable circumstance. He had all the engine instruments and controls besides the throttles, the fuel tank switches, pressurization if it had it, AC/heating, and a lot of incidentals.

    The British configured several of their heavies with one pilot station and a FE station, so two man operation was possible, and in an absolute emergency many three man heavies could be flown that way but it was not permissible under military procedures to do that intentionally. Certainly not under the FAR’s in civilian life.

    Automation has caused most heavy aircraft to go from a three to a two man crew, but even so the flight deck can get pretty busy in airline operations on these aircraft from what I am told.

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  127. Vendetta says:
    @Pittsburgh Thatcherite
    Long-term birth control can be implanted anywhere, even in a public park.

    This is an important advantage, because it may not be possible to have a permanent birth control clinic.

    Implanting a nation’s women with birth control could provoke hostility.

    Birth control advocates could walk around a city, discreetly offering women cash to be implanted with Nexplanon.

    Nexplanon is a tube the size of a match that is implanted just under the skin of the upper arm.

    These advocates in the park will get beaten, hung, beheaded, necklaced by those who don’t want the evil Western imperialists sterilizing their women.

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  128. gcochran says:
    @Mr. Anon
    Neither of Rubio's parents were American citizens when he was born. He is not a natural born citizen of the United States.

    If simply being born on American soil makes one a natural born citizen, then why did the founders go to the trouble to use the phrase "natural born" rather than simply "born"? Everyone is born. Everyone is born somewhere. Everyone is born to two parents.

    Interestingly, if Cruz (born in Canda with one American citizen parent) and Rubio (born here, but neither parent was an American citizen) were both forced to argue their claim to the status "natural born citizen" they could end up invalidating each other's claim. It seems to me than unless the term "natural born" has no meaning whatsoever over-and-above the word "born", then they cannot both be "natural born citizens".

    Clearly, “natural born” means “not a C-section”.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    "Clearly, “natural born” means “not a C-section”."

    Indeed. I guess only those "not of woman born" are ineligible - like MacDuff.
  129. snorlax says:
    @Mr. Anon
    Neither of Rubio's parents were American citizens when he was born. He is not a natural born citizen of the United States.

    If simply being born on American soil makes one a natural born citizen, then why did the founders go to the trouble to use the phrase "natural born" rather than simply "born"? Everyone is born. Everyone is born somewhere. Everyone is born to two parents.

    Interestingly, if Cruz (born in Canda with one American citizen parent) and Rubio (born here, but neither parent was an American citizen) were both forced to argue their claim to the status "natural born citizen" they could end up invalidating each other's claim. It seems to me than unless the term "natural born" has no meaning whatsoever over-and-above the word "born", then they cannot both be "natural born citizens".

    Andrew Jackson’s parents were both born in Ireland. James Madison, who wrote the Constitution, was still living at the time of Jackson’s election and raised no objection.

    Just because Trump says to jump off a bridge does not mean you have to do it.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Why would Madison have raised an objection? Here's the relevant part from the Constitution:

    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President...
     
    Jackson was born in America before the Constitution was adopted, so he was exempt from the "natural born" requirement.
    , @Mr. Anon
    "Andrew Jackson’s parents were both born in Ireland. James Madison, who wrote the Constitution, was still living at the time of Jackson’s election and raised no objection."

    And both of Jackson's parents came to America in 1767, were American citizens, and were themselves eligible to be President by virture of the explicit language that Madison (presumably) put in the Constitution:

    "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;"

    Both of Michael Dukakis' parents were immigrants. And they were both citizens at the time Dukakis was born in Brookline, Mass. Nobody questioned Dukakis' eligibility for the office, as well they should not of; he was eligible.

    Cruz isn't. Rubio probably isn't either.
  130. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @snorlax
    Andrew Jackson's parents were both born in Ireland. James Madison, who wrote the Constitution, was still living at the time of Jackson's election and raised no objection.

    Just because Trump says to jump off a bridge does not mean you have to do it.

    Why would Madison have raised an objection? Here’s the relevant part from the Constitution:

    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President…

    Jackson was born in America before the Constitution was adopted, so he was exempt from the “natural born” requirement.

    Read More
    • Replies: @snorlax
    Vice-President George Dallas (Polk's term, 1845-1849) was also born, in 1792, to two parents born outside the United States (the "natural-born citizen" requirement applies to both the POTUS and VP). Granted, all the founders were dead by then, but they also took the Constitution quite a bit more seriously than we do today.

    The notion that "natural-born citizen" = "a US-born parent" has absolutely zero historical evidence behind it (like, any of the framers of the Constitution writing that's what they meant by the phrase, or a court ruling to that effect). It's what one might call "making sh*t up." Why is having one US-born parent good enough? Why not require two?

  131. snorlax says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Why would Madison have raised an objection? Here's the relevant part from the Constitution:

    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President...
     
    Jackson was born in America before the Constitution was adopted, so he was exempt from the "natural born" requirement.

    Vice-President George Dallas (Polk’s term, 1845-1849) was also born, in 1792, to two parents born outside the United States (the “natural-born citizen” requirement applies to both the POTUS and VP). Granted, all the founders were dead by then, but they also took the Constitution quite a bit more seriously than we do today.

    The notion that “natural-born citizen” = “a US-born parent” has absolutely zero historical evidence behind it (like, any of the framers of the Constitution writing that’s what they meant by the phrase, or a court ruling to that effect). It’s what one might call “making sh*t up.” Why is having one US-born parent good enough? Why not require two?

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    "Vice-President George Dallas (Polk’s term, 1845-1849) was also born, in 1792, to two parents born outside the United States (the “natural-born citizen” requirement applies to both the POTUS and VP). Granted, all the founders were dead by then, but they also took the Constitution quite a bit more seriously than we do today."

    See the clause that both Dave Pinsen and I mentioned above. Neither Madison nor Washington were born under U.S. jurisdiction either. They were grandfathered in by an explicit exception called out in the Constitution.

    "Why is having one US-born parent good enough? Why not require two?"

    Actually, I suspect that is exactly what the founders thought, and that it was widely enough assumed that no further explication was deemed necessary.

  132. Mr. Anon says:
    @snorlax
    Andrew Jackson's parents were both born in Ireland. James Madison, who wrote the Constitution, was still living at the time of Jackson's election and raised no objection.

    Just because Trump says to jump off a bridge does not mean you have to do it.

    “Andrew Jackson’s parents were both born in Ireland. James Madison, who wrote the Constitution, was still living at the time of Jackson’s election and raised no objection.”

    And both of Jackson’s parents came to America in 1767, were American citizens, and were themselves eligible to be President by virture of the explicit language that Madison (presumably) put in the Constitution:

    “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;”

    Both of Michael Dukakis’ parents were immigrants. And they were both citizens at the time Dukakis was born in Brookline, Mass. Nobody questioned Dukakis’ eligibility for the office, as well they should not of; he was eligible.

    Cruz isn’t. Rubio probably isn’t either.

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  133. Mr. Anon says:
    @gcochran
    Clearly, "natural born" means "not a C-section".

    “Clearly, “natural born” means “not a C-section”.”

    Indeed. I guess only those “not of woman born” are ineligible – like MacDuff.

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  134. Mr. Anon says:
    @snorlax
    Vice-President George Dallas (Polk's term, 1845-1849) was also born, in 1792, to two parents born outside the United States (the "natural-born citizen" requirement applies to both the POTUS and VP). Granted, all the founders were dead by then, but they also took the Constitution quite a bit more seriously than we do today.

    The notion that "natural-born citizen" = "a US-born parent" has absolutely zero historical evidence behind it (like, any of the framers of the Constitution writing that's what they meant by the phrase, or a court ruling to that effect). It's what one might call "making sh*t up." Why is having one US-born parent good enough? Why not require two?

    “Vice-President George Dallas (Polk’s term, 1845-1849) was also born, in 1792, to two parents born outside the United States (the “natural-born citizen” requirement applies to both the POTUS and VP). Granted, all the founders were dead by then, but they also took the Constitution quite a bit more seriously than we do today.”

    See the clause that both Dave Pinsen and I mentioned above. Neither Madison nor Washington were born under U.S. jurisdiction either. They were grandfathered in by an explicit exception called out in the Constitution.

    “Why is having one US-born parent good enough? Why not require two?”

    Actually, I suspect that is exactly what the founders thought, and that it was widely enough assumed that no further explication was deemed necessary.

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  135. map says:

    The self-driving car will be an utter failure.

    Human traffic moves because people have different driving styles at different intervals that are randomly distributed.

    A self-driving car will be powered by algorithms that are standardized across all vehicles.

    Imagine the following problem: A car wants to exit the highway. How does a vehicle handle a turn into another lane when turn-signals are not a right-of-way? Moreover, different drivers migrate into the exit lanes at different rates. Imagine the massive congestion when the standardized algorithms jam traffic at an exit? You are looking at massive increases in commute time if self-driving cars are adopted.

    This poorly conceived automation projects are simply the result of marketing hype outpacing systems analysis. Take the robot that Boston Dynamics was building. They touted this as a combat tool. The Marine Corp passed on it because it was too noisy. Or, Momentum Machines burger making tool. Sounds good until you ask how to clean it. E. Coli can collect in the smallest of spaces.

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  136. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @The most deplorable one
    One thing is for sure, self-driving cars will be a boon for terrorists.

    No need to kill yourself nor risk running out of courage on the drive to the target.

    Just pack a self-driving car with explosives, place a couple of dummies in the car and give it a target.

    Sounds like a winning combination.

    One thing is for sure, self-driving cars will be a boon for terrorists.

    Maybe once. Like airliners were. Then they will be regulated beyond all recognition, like air transport was.

    Drones have been around for some years now. They seem more straight forward to be perverted for illicit uses. But only a few “sneak cell phones to jail” uses made it to the news, nothing sensational so far.

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  137. @Former Darfur
    I'd love to see a B-36 fly again, but it probably won't happen.

    It was not a terribly tough airplane to fly, it was just big-it was the biggest thing in the air for its entire flying life. Modern jumbo jets are heavier, but not much bigger.

    It wasn't especially expensive to maintain except for needing a lot of whatever it needed. No special fuels, materials or procedures were used or required. The R-4360 is still in the air occasionally, in corncob Corsairs, modified Sea Furies, et al. If the Air Force decided to do as every other first world air force does and operate a "Historic Flight" of warbirds, (most use them for test pilot training-they are, after all, a unfamiliar type to modern UPT trainees who rarely have any outside flying experience beyond Cessnas and Cherokes or Bonanzas) getting a KC-135 or B-52 crew current on type would not be especially tough. Flight engineers would be a problem, I 'm guessing they would have to send candidates to Alaska freight operations who operate DC-4/6/7's and set up a simulator, or else use outside contractors with a lot of radial mechanical experience.

    It's not going to happen, thanks to the Barstooler mentality that prevails.

    In the UK the last flying Avro Vulcan, a magnificent beast of a Cold War bomber, has just been permanently grounded as the sponsors removed support.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Vulcan_XH558

    http://www.vulcantothesky.org/history/post-flight/end-of-flight-2.html

    “Unfortunately, having evaluated a great many factors, the three expert companies on whom we depend – BAE Systems, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group and Rolls-Royce, together known as the ‘technical authorities’ – have collectively decided to cease their support at the end of this flying season. Without that support, under Civil Aviation Authority regulations, we are prohibited from flying.

    At the heart of their decision are two factors. First, although we are all confident that XH558 is currently as safe as any aircraft flying today, her structure and systems are already more than ten percent beyond the flying hours of any other Vulcan, so knowing where to look for any possible failure will become gradually more difficult. Second, maintaining her superb safety record requires expertise that is increasingly difficult to find. Our technical partners already bring specialists out of retirement specifically to work on XH558; a solution that is increasingly impractical for those businesses as the necessary skills and knowledge become distant in their collective memories.”

    I was lucky enough to see her last year – queues for the airshow gridlocked roads for five miles around the airfield and I (without a ticket) watched from the roadside in company with dozens of ticket-holders who couldn’t get in because of the traffic.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvFvBbsQVI4

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  138. Brutusale says:
    @Romanian
    I understand you were joking (I think), but the problem is that it is very important for poor people to have price stability, so they can factor it in properly in their economic calculus. Raising the fee in real time is the opposite of that. Will the poor man leave his car on the side of the road when his fee become too onerous and schlep it to the nearest bus station?

    In John Varley’s SF novel Red Thunder, the autopilot roads have different speed lanes. Usage of the faster lanes are lanes are dictated first, by the safety status of your equipment and second, by the fee you pay.

    Is it that big a deal that the rich guy with the Ferrari gets to use the 120 mph lane while the working class guy with the ’99 Corolla has to make do with the 55 mph lane?

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  139. Jack D says:
    @Mr. Anon
    Neither of Rubio's parents were American citizens when he was born. He is not a natural born citizen of the United States.

    If simply being born on American soil makes one a natural born citizen, then why did the founders go to the trouble to use the phrase "natural born" rather than simply "born"? Everyone is born. Everyone is born somewhere. Everyone is born to two parents.

    Interestingly, if Cruz (born in Canda with one American citizen parent) and Rubio (born here, but neither parent was an American citizen) were both forced to argue their claim to the status "natural born citizen" they could end up invalidating each other's claim. It seems to me than unless the term "natural born" has no meaning whatsoever over-and-above the word "born", then they cannot both be "natural born citizens".

    Blackstone, whom the founders knew and relied upon, wrote “Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown” . You are allowed to use adjectives – even if natural born adds nothing to born, it’s clearer. No one (except you) has ever seriously argued that Rubio is not an American citizen.

    Putting aside Obama, Chester A. Arthur was the son of an Irishman who became a naturalized United States citizen in 1843, fifteen years after his son Arthur’s birth (in the U.S.) in 1829, but no one ever questioned whether he was natural-born. How does “natural” born imply that both (or either) of your parents have to be citizens at the time of your birth? What’s “natural” about that?

    Cruz is a harder case but Coke (another well known legal authority of the time) wrote “[I]f any of the King’s ambassadors in foreign nations, have children there of their wives, being English women, by the common laws of England they are natural-born subjects, and yet they are born out-of the King’s dominions.”

    In Coke’s example, both parents are citizens – it’s less clear what they meant to happen if only one was (especially if that one was not the father). But it’s clear that under common law that under certain circumstances you could be born outside the country and yet be a “natural born” citizen.

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    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    "No one (except you) has ever seriously argued that Rubio is not an American citizen."

    I think an argument could be made to that effect. He is an anchor baby. Anyway, that is not what I am arguing. In Rubio's case, neither of his parents were citizens. They were, apparently, both legal residents. I think however that a higher standard is in order for the office of President. The intent of the requirement was to insure that holders of the highest office be loyal to - and only be loyal to - the United States. And Rubio isn't, so that kind of shows the rationale behind the parentage requirement.

    Cruz's mother wasn't an ambassador, and of course his father wasn't even a citizen, so your example from Coke is irrelevant. Cruz was a Canadian citizen up until just a year or so ago.
  140. Mr. Anon says:
    @Jack D
    Blackstone, whom the founders knew and relied upon, wrote "Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown" . You are allowed to use adjectives - even if natural born adds nothing to born, it's clearer. No one (except you) has ever seriously argued that Rubio is not an American citizen.

    Putting aside Obama, Chester A. Arthur was the son of an Irishman who became a naturalized United States citizen in 1843, fifteen years after his son Arthur’s birth (in the U.S.) in 1829, but no one ever questioned whether he was natural-born. How does "natural" born imply that both (or either) of your parents have to be citizens at the time of your birth? What's "natural" about that?

    Cruz is a harder case but Coke (another well known legal authority of the time) wrote "[I]f any of the King's ambassadors in foreign nations, have children there of their wives, being English women, by the common laws of England they are natural-born subjects, and yet they are born out-of the King's dominions."

    In Coke's example, both parents are citizens - it's less clear what they meant to happen if only one was (especially if that one was not the father). But it's clear that under common law that under certain circumstances you could be born outside the country and yet be a "natural born" citizen.

    “No one (except you) has ever seriously argued that Rubio is not an American citizen.”

    I think an argument could be made to that effect. He is an anchor baby. Anyway, that is not what I am arguing. In Rubio’s case, neither of his parents were citizens. They were, apparently, both legal residents. I think however that a higher standard is in order for the office of President. The intent of the requirement was to insure that holders of the highest office be loyal to – and only be loyal to – the United States. And Rubio isn’t, so that kind of shows the rationale behind the parentage requirement.

    Cruz’s mother wasn’t an ambassador, and of course his father wasn’t even a citizen, so your example from Coke is irrelevant. Cruz was a Canadian citizen up until just a year or so ago.

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  141. At 144 comments I don’t have the time to check to see if I’m repeating a previous comment but here goes. It seems probable to me that driverless long haul trucking will happen before driverless cars become accepted. Highway navigation and vehicle avoidance seem much simpler for trucks carrying commodities than for cars. Terminals are already located in reasonably close proximity to major highways. I think the public would readily accept of such a system. We are already conditioned to driving on highways on which trucks stick to the right hand lanes and drive along in convoys. Driverless Semi’s programmed to keep safe distances may be even more palatable to drivers than what we have now.

    A lot of driver infrastructure like truck stops, driver motels, etc. could be eliminated. Long haul drivers are already under stress from federal regulations. Massive truck stops now devoted to driver needs like food, drink and bathing would be automated with tiny staffs devoted to gassing up the trucks. Perhaps this to could be automated. Too bad for one more great American workforce. I’ll miss them.

    Once people acclimate to sharing the interstates with driverless trucks they may be more amenable to driverless cars.

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  142. M_Young says:

    What I don’t get it these smart guys like Elon Musk predicting that significant numbers of people will give up personal autos for what they seem to envision as a fleet of autonomous cars cruising around like some many robotic Uber drivers. It may happen among young unmarried folks in dense urban centers (people like those who, say, work for Musk), but it isn’t going to happen in the suburbs and not even among 30+ folks in the city.

    Why? Because a car is mobile storage. Becky will put her freshly laundered workout clothes in the back of her SUV, pack up the kids with their gear, drop them off at school (reserving their after school sports gear), got to Tuesday Morning and buy some new plants and a vase, stick that in the back of the Escalade, got to her Pilates class (getting her workout close out of the back), finish her work out, shower, put the stinky clothes into the back of the SUV, pick up the kids, drop them off at lacrosse practice with their sticks, pads and helmets, go meet a friend for coffee and gossip for 90 minutes, pick up the kids with their gear, drop by the Ralphs for some ground beef and veggies, put the groceries in the SUV…well, you get the idea.

    Believe me, I tried as a single, childless dude to get around North San Diego county with only a bike and a bus/coaster pass. Took a huge amount of mental energy to plan each day, what I’d need, where I’d go. Even with a robocar at beck and call, unless it is a personal vehicle, that planning would still be required, and you’d have to schlep a bunch of stuff around.

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  143. Brutusale says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    That's one of the ideas in Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.

    Yeah, I’m about 100 pages into Ernest Cline’s Ready, Player One, and the education scenarios are direct ripoffs of Stephenson’s.

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  144. Brutusale says:
    @granesperanzablanco
    Mass transit like subways? That is already reality for 40 years.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_automated_urban_metro_subway_systems

    Driverless cars could have a roll with the first and last mile issue moderate density cities have in the US. You need to get to the train and when you get off your job site is in an inner ring suburb 2 miles from the station

    Driverless subways would run up against the powerful transit unions. If the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) is any guide, with this week’s story about an MBTA worker who made over $300K last year approving his own overtime, the fight will be eternal.

    State-run transit authorities are sinkholes of the double whammy sort: employees are either patronage (Whitey Bulger’s brother Billy, former state Senate president, used the T as his own jobs program) and affirmative action. Any iStevers use the T? Seen a white male bus driver in this millennium?

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