- Autonomous cars will make traffic faster?
- Who programs the autonomous robots?
- What the self-driving car should do in the event of an inevitable accident
- The slowest one sets the pace
Autonomous cars will make traffic faster?
If autonomously driving cars – robots will of course not be behind the wheel – are as reliable as autonomous vacuum cleaners, then we can be prepared for something
Source: Getty Images / Science Photo Library RF
People tend to expect a lot from new technologies. That is a good thing, otherwise there would be no progress. But the prognoses for autonomous driving can only be partially correct?
VYou may be familiar with the phenomenon: There are usually two types of disruptors in school classes. Those who don’t understand anything and are bored because of it, and those who always understand everything immediately and are bored because of it. At first glance, these two groups cannot always be distinguished, but that doesn’t matter, because the objective progress of the whole class is often only as fast as the two or three mentally slowest children allow.
This is a human achievement that sets us apart morally (and makes us think of a lot of stupid pranks when we are young), but it is also incredibly annoying when you are a very intelligent child yourself (not just in your own imagination and that of one’s own parents). Note: In reality, differences in the speed of group members rarely lead to an increase in the average speed.
Another human phenomenon is that we tend to visualize technical solutions – and our own future – in far too optimistic pictures. "When I finally live with my dream man in this house, which is unfortunately far too expensive, but no matter, we’ll manage it, everything will be fine, then we can take a deep breath and be happy."
Or: "My new Porsche will make me totally happy in the long run and irresistible with smart and attractive women.", there are no more accidents and traffic is fast and smooth. "
Who programs the autonomous robots?
As much as I admire this optimism, I fear I cannot share it. Because the first question I ask is: will these autonomous robotic cars come from different manufacturers? If you answer in the affirmative, you can easily get the idea that not all manufacturers, especially those in the lower price segment, provide really smooth machines. Just think of the differences in quality and the effectiveness of vacuum robots.
The next question – which is almost always in the room and which is almost always ignored – is: Who programs the autonomous robots, at least until almighty artificial intelligence has taken control of everything and everyone (i.e. around 2040)? The answer is: people.
Namely people, most of whom have a weakness for strange glasses and printed T-shirts. People who, like all of us, are prone to making mistakes. Lots of mistakes. Faults that get stuck in the brains of the autonomous robots and will sometimes only be recognizable after years. When there was a big crash again.
If you now imagine at the same time that the number of cars will not decrease but increase – regardless of what social democratic or left-wing green preachers tirelessly tell – it quickly becomes funny or even uncomfortable.
What the self-driving car should do in the event of an inevitable accident
Who is liable for an accident involving a self-driving car? Who should the car hit if an accident is inevitable? The ethics committee of the Ministry of Transport has dealt with this. Source: N24 / Matthias Heinrich
Let’s be honest, except for masochists, hardly anyone likes public transport. Yes, commuting from Hamburg to Berlin makes the most sense with Deutsche Bahn, I do not think otherwise. And yes, in real big cities, and we don’t have many of them in Germany, are subways and buses are a great thing. Especially when you don’t have any money. If you have money, then it tends to be less.
When the sun is shining, many prefer cycling, and the further the night has progressed on the weekend, the faster the comfort level (New German "Hyggeligkeit") falls to zero. This has to do with objective and subjective perceived safety and also a little with the appearance and condition of the passengers.
Will this ever change? Only if we introduce socialism and everyone in gray uniforms with one armed political officer per subway car. And who wants that? Please do not answer the last question, otherwise I will lose all optimism, thank you.
The slowest one sets the pace
To stay with the comparison with the school class: Even if all wet traffic dreams come true and by 2030 we will all only be sitting in autonomous electric robots and no longer driving around actual cars (and no cyclists, mopeds, skateboarders, etc.), mine is by no means Anti-progressive thesis that in the end nothing gets faster.
The whole swarm will move as fast as the slowest members. And those will be the flawed, sloppily glued together, or simply poorly programmed robots that people will sit in, who tell us already today that they can hardly wait.
In order to maintain my early morning humor, I like to imagine the whole thing like a 200 square meter loft, full of self-driving vacuum and cleaning robots of all price ranges, all of which try to evade each other and at the same time keep everything nice and clean. Entertaining yes, but …
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