Dude, Where is My Driverless Car?

Dude, Where is My Driverless Car?

For the past decade or so, we’ve been warned that driverless cars will change the world of transportation. It’s all absurdity. It is more like enhanced cruise control than true driverlessness.

The “autopilot”, a term Tesla only uses, is only useful in areas where traffic patterns are predictable like highways. Even then, the driver is supposed to remain fully aware of what’s going on and take control if something goes wrong, because as Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety recently pointed out “these advanced cruise-control features Tesla has are not very good at detecting and then stopping for a vehicle that is stopped in a highway circumstance.”

Every auto maker except Tesla uses GPS to prevent drivers from using “driverless” features on city streets and, as the New York Times recently pointed out: “Tesla owners’ manuals warn customers not to use Autopilot on city streets [because] ‘failure to follow these instructions could cause damage, serious injury or death.'”

Sometimes called the “transportation” of the future, the fully autonomous vehicle is often called Level 5. However, the highest level that has been or is likely to be achieved is Level 2. This is basically advanced cruise control. Because true driverless cars will require intelligent AI, we are not even close to “Level 5”.

Since the 1980s I have written and followed AI developments closely. There has been no significant breakthrough in AI, as we used to call it. The object-avoiding technology that is available at Level 2 in “driverless cars”, was only available to toys robots in the 1990s. Because I built them.

People, the AI “singularity”, although it is possible to make significant breakthroughs in AI, has not yet been achieved. It’s still far from being a reality. There have been incremental improvements in image recognition. This has been made possible by large amounts of data and “self-learning” algorithms which work within closed systems that are easily identified rules.

Social media moderation with AI, for example, is smoke and mirrors; the real work is done by human beings. The AI in customer service is largely useless and horrible. Voice recognition is still a joke. “Autocorrect” is proverbially dumb. It is not closer than 50 years ago when the “singularity”, as it was first predicted, was available in “in 10 year.” AI with common sense has been “10 years away” since then.

The real question is: Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, why is the AI myth still popular?

It is a theory.

The idea that humans could create their own life has been a fascination for men throughout history. I think it is almost entirely male. The concept is illustrated in stories of talking statues from the Greco Roman period as well as in alchemical legends about the homunculus and science fiction.

Science fiction AI examples are nearly always sexbots, from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to Scarlett Johanssen’s Her), or sexless eunuchs. This includes Star Wars’ C3PO and Robin William’s “Millennial Man”. It is quite curious, though, to see that almost all science fiction characters have male genitals.

Perhaps we need to take aggressively macho uberdudes such as Elon Musk and his many imitators out of decision-making on whether or not “driverless car” is ready for primetime when thinking about future “driverless” services.

It’s not a good match, but testosterone and safety for drivers have been there all along.

Inc.com columnsists’ opinions are not the views of Inc.com.

Publited Sat, 21 August 2021 at 09:35.46 +0000

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.