Uber Enters Race to Perfect Driverless Vehicle Technology

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,536
14,007
0
Central U.S.
This is an issue that extends beyond autonomous cars.

One of the big issues of the century will be figuring out how society will operate in a world where labor (across the board) is obsolete.
Yeah, and I figured I picked a relatively safe career path in design/photography/programming. But newer AI is even tackling those things. It will be interesting to see what comes of that. If all else fails, I can always fall back on art. Surely there will always be someone who wants human art, just because it's human made and rare.

We need to figure out a good balance. If people don't have something to do, they might just start killing themselves and society descend into chaos. I remember reading about this scientist who ran dozens of the same study over and over with rats. We would basically build them little rat utopian societies. Even though all of their regular needs were met, eventually their little rat societies would collapse into chaos with suicide and loss of desire to procreate. As the population expanded there was little need for certain members of the rat society. The point being that people need something to do and generally need to feel valued and important to someone or some entity. There are so many psychological issues that will arise over the coming century from people feeling worthless. We already see that to a certain extent.
 

TheRealTVGuy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2010
643
903
0
Orlando, FL
I'm sure their drivers love to hear this. Could you imagine working for a company that was actively working towards a goal of getting rid of about 99% of their workforce? I'm all for progress, but that would make me feel really weird.

According to this quote from the Washington Post:



That's going to be a lot of people to lay off several years down the road, and that's only the tip of the iceberg. According to the website All Trucking:



So that's a lot more people who will be eventually replaced. See this story about semi-autonomous trucks driving across Europe to get a glimpse of where things are headed. Then there are other jobs to consider: Postal and package delivery drivers, bus drivers, chauffers, maybe even tow truck drivers and more. Then you have tertiary industries, such as automotive insurance, which could eventually no longer be needed or at least have a very reduced role. That means adjusters, agents, managers, call centers and more jobs would be no longer needed, or have a severe reduction in number of positions. The reduction in accidents would also mean that auto mechanics would have a reduced role in society, especially for collision repair. This also means that fewer auto parts would need to be made, which impacts other industries, and could make auto repair in general more costly. You would also need fewer patrol officers, and cities would get less income from speeding tickets, parking tickets, and more—which is, perhaps surprising to some, a big part of many city budgets.

And I'm not even touching on the job impacts of a move from oil to electric.

To reiterate, I'm all for progress, and am in no way saying that these changes are bad. I'm all for a more efficient system that makes life easier and is better for the environment. But I just hope that organizational think tanks and governing bodies are acting now to research the impacts that this will have on our economy and the employment outlook, because this is going to be a tremendous period of transformation affecting many fundamental aspects of our society. And yet again, I'm not even touching on the privacy aspects revolving around government surveillance, the law aspects for whose fault an unlikely accident would be, and more. That's a whole other can of worms. It's really incredible how much change this will bring. It's an exciting time to be alive, but change can be difficult, especially when it has the potential to be this disruptive. But I'm hopeful our society will eventually benefit greatly from these improvements. The potential to greatly empower the elderly, people with disabilities and more with easy access to transportation will be fantastic, as well as the reduction in automobile deaths and pollution from energy efficient autonomous driving.
I would submit that many of the Uber driver's drive for the service part-time or for secondary income.

After all the talk about unionization, I think Uber's drivers know exactly what kind of company they're working for.

I can't wait for more commercial vehicles to be autonomous. Part of my current duties involve DOT compliance and many of the driver's that work for us are primadonnas who drive our safety scores as well as our insurance rates up. They think they're indispensable. I'd love to see a few of them have to change industries.

The insurance companies have been raping us for years, so I'm sure they'll find a way to continue their obscene rates and profits, even for autonomous vehicles. They'll claim there's additional liability even though we all know that there's not. But since they provide a government-mandated service and they all communicate short of flat out collusion, they'll be fine.

I think America is built on progress and so you either adapt or get out of the way. I would hate to see any kind of legislative interference that supports those who can't adapt. (Can't make money from your cornfields? Then do something else! NO GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES!)

/end rant.
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Yeah, and I figured I picked a relatively safe career path in design/photography/programming. But newer AI is even tackling those things. It will be interesting to see what comes of that. If all else fails, I can always fall back on art. Surely there will always be someone who wants human art, just because it's human made and rare.

We need to figure out a good balance. If people don't have something to do, they might just start killing themselves and society descend into chaos. I remember reading about this scientist who ran dozens of the same study over and over with rats. We would basically build them little rat utopian societies. Even though all of their regular needs were met, eventually their little rat societies would collapse into chaos with suicide and loss of desire to procreate. As the population expanded there was little need for certain members of the rat society. The point being that people need something to do and generally need to feel valued and important to someone or some entity. There are so many psychological issues that will arise over the coming century from people feeling worthless. We already see that to a certain extent.
Look at Star Trek. They have machines to do the farming, the mining (for all the materials to build Star Ships) and even replicate food. While fictitious, the world of Star Trek provides a vision of a world where technology completes so many tasks, money isn't the sole goal of civilization, and the nations of Earth banded together. People found new ways to contribute to the galactic society. Sciences, Arts, Engineering, etc.

I think as technology becomes even more omnipresent, that humans will adapt to the next age of civilization.
 

roland.g

macrumors 603
Apr 11, 2005
6,496
1,370
0
That's a ridiculous statement. You're blending two distinct parts of driving: knowing the rules and safety precautions and actually following them. Humans know the former well, which are algorithmic and can be coded; it's the latter that we suffer with. Computers won't have to deal with distractions. Additionally, the driverless cars will be able to communicate with each other, allowing the cars to have a much more complete picture of the road and possible hazards than people do.

I'm not claiming that there won't be any more deaths once we have driverless cars, but if programmed properly, it will be a lower number.
Ever seen an iPhone not respond to touch at all. Ever seen a computer lock up or freeze. I've actually been on a sailboat with autopilot based on gps and the system froze and there was no way to turn the wheel. The autopilot controlled it. Luckily we were able to reboot the system after 10 frantic minutes of heading towards land, in chop, with weather worsening and a pregnant woman on board. You don't think an autonomous car can lock up or freeze the computer, not disengage to give the passenger-now needs to be driver control, and crash. Imagine being on a highway at 55 and have the car lock you out but not be doing the driving itself either.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,584
368
0
Redondo Beach, California
Ever seen an iPhone not respond to touch at all. Ever seen a computer lock up or freeze. I've actually been on a sailboat with autopilot based on gps and the system froze and there was no way to turn the wheel. The autopilot controlled it. Luckily we were able to reboot the system after 10 frantic minutes of heading towards land, in chop, with weather worsening and a pregnant woman on board. You don't think an autonomous car can lock up or freeze the computer, not disengage to give the passenger-now needs to be driver control, and crash. Imagine being on a highway at 55 and have the car lock you out but not be doing the driving itself either.
In a sail boat, of course you could have dropped a sail or get out a sheet and in effect turned off the engine. Most autopilots do have a mechanical disconnect but every installation is unique.

As for cars. Have you seen a new car in the last few years that does NOT already have a computer controlling fomenting important like the engine? I doubt there are any computer less cars. When is the last time one of those computers failed? Yes they do but it is very rare

As I wrote above human driven cars today KILL 20,000 people every year in the US alone. Human drivers set such a low bar. If there were 1,000 accidents as you describe every year we'd be 20 times better off.

I doubt driverless cars will be prefect but they might be 10 times better than human driven cars.