Autonomous cars: unintended consequences

Discussion in 'Techforge' started by MikeH92467, Mar 21, 2018.

  1. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    I was going to post this in the thread about the Uber car running over a pedestrian, but I think it really is better as a standalone in this forum. Anyway, I've been thinking that autonomous cars will mean the most massive change in American society since the original horseless carriages came out, but in this article, the writer has some fascinating speculation about their impact.
    Here's a sample:
    Media Consumption
    Media consumption should increase dramatically, because folks who currently are driving to work and unable to consume visual media or read books during their commute will be able to do so.

    Many will choose to work either coming or going, but most likely will use at least some of the time to watch movies, play video games, or read books and magazines.

    Feel free to weigh in with your ideas and whether you think he's on target or full of shit.
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  2. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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    If I didn’t have to be behind the wheel I might surf the web on a drive to work, but I live too close to my job to get in any real reading or video-watching. It takes me 10-15 minutes to get to the office, depending on traffic.
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  3. K.

    K. Sober

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    Interesting stuff. Some of it is being discussed a lot -- I have seen plenty of media startups getting ready to fill that niche, in fact. But organ supply is something I hadn't considered at all.
  4. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed

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    One I've heard that wasn't mentioned in the article is the impact on employment. A large part of the workforce consists of people who drive for a living. Autonomous vehicles will gradually phase out driving as a profession.
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  5. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    Professional driving certainly would take a huge hit. I would guess it will become a specialty like horse training. There will be some but it will not be the mainstream profession it is now. Now here's a thought: what happens to convenience stores that use gas/diesel sales as part of their business models? The impact would be obvious if there were a massive shift to electric, but even if gas remains the main power source wouldn't they be using depot-style stations instead of there being one on every corner? Just an aside, just outside Port Angeles, Washington there is an automated fuel station that just has a couple of pumps and an above-ground tank. It was lit by one orange streetlight. On a foggy night, it looked like something out of the X-Files...a great place for some poor sap of a trucker to get ambushed by BigFoot. I always wanted to get a picture of it. Sorry, back to our regular programming...
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  6. We Are Borg

    We Are Borg Rey of sunshine

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    Those damn mechanical buggies!

    Won't someone think of the horses and drivers? :weep:
  7. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed

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    Yep, can't stop progress.

    However, large numbers of people becoming unemployed could have political consequences.
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  8. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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    10-15 minutes? We all hate you. :brood:
  9. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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    go for it! Try to take that picture - big foot is banking on it. And he's got nothing but free time to waste. :D
  10. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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    I essentially drive for a living, so the last thing I want to do is spend even more time getting to and from my office.

    I have better things to do with my time.
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  11. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    I heard an interview with a libertarian economist where he refused to talk about self-driving cars because if people found out that the tech would lead to a large number of people being unemployed, they'd outlaw them. All of which shows an ignorance of history. Railroads came about because the horse cart lobby made driving steam cars on public roads too onerous. The economic benefits of steam wagons were so great that people quickly realized that they could build their own roads (and thus not have to worry about regulation) and still turn a massive profit.

    Self-driving cars are no different. The cost savings are so great that people will quash any objections to the technology.
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  12. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    I work out of my home office. My doctor, dentist and bank are easy walks. It was a 5 minute drive to Home Depot when I worked there. :ramen:
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  13. Zombie

    Zombie dead and loving it

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    Self driving cars will certainly impact everything.

    The professional drivers are done for. Truckers and cab drivers. Gone.

    Interestingly enough the delivery industry will still have some people since you still need a person to physically deliver the package to the door. Once robots show up though those people will be fired of course.

    There will be less need for police and fire as the number of road incidents goes down. Those can be redirected to other areas now.

    Even the companies that make road signage will suffer since cars don't need signage and there is likely to be less signage on the road.

    Less people owning a car is guaranteed. If the cost of renting one is cheaper or roughly equal to than the cost I pay monthly in gas, insurance, and maintenance three is zero reason to own a car. Plus it's easier if the ride plan I have let's me choose what car I need. Going to work I'll need a small car. Got a big job? I call up a truck. Going on a trip? Call up the SUV. If the plan let's you switch like that than yeah I'm doing that.

    Even bank robbers will be having a hard time. Their cars will be ordered to pull over at the nearest jail. ;)

    Media consumption will absolutely increase. Getting to places will actually be faster because traffic will be smoother.

    Even trains and planes would suffer as well. Driving 1500 miles to Tennessee was hell but if the car drove itself I would be much more likely to want to repeat the trip in a car. I might not get there as fast as the plane but if the cost is low enough it's worth it. Pop some movies in, sleep, read, play games, stop at some nice restaurants on the way. Trains would suffer because why would I want to pay for a ticket to go on one when my car can drive itself and because traffic runs great now I don't need to worry about traffic jams? We may even see speeds on highways increase because the traffic is running so smoothly. In a lot of cases the cars will now beat the trains time wise. A train has to make multiple stops for different passengers. A car with one person or group going to one destination doesn't have to stop to pick people up or drop them off.
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  14. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    The use of driver licenses for voting ID could change that method of voter suppression. Also states like Florida use license suspensions to help punish poor people for being poor. I mean it's awesome thinking to take someone's ability to make money by taking away their license because they couldn't pay some bullshit fine or fee. Part of the problem in Florida is that local governments have so many unfunded mandates that they have to raise money through fines and fees which impact the poor much harder than the rich...eh...sorry....moving along...
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  15. Ancalagon

    Ancalagon outta my way Administrator Formerly Important

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    I'm 16-22 minutes if I walk to the station or 11-17 minutes if the bus is coming so I take it one stop (trains come every 6 minutes, thus the variable).
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  16. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Piffle. I'm six minutes from work. On foot. :P

    And here's an unintended benefit from autonomous vehicles.
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  17. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    Fascinating article from the Atlantic. By Waymo's calculations we're two years away from the beginning of the great changeover. Just a couple of quick hits:

    With orders now in for more than 20,000 of these vehicles and thousands of minivans that Chrysler announced earlier this year, Waymo will be capable of doing vast numbers of trips per day. They estimate that the Jaguar fleet alone will be capable of doing a million trips each day in 2020.
    2020 is not some distant number. It’s hardly even a projection. By laying out this time line yesterday, Waymo is telling the world: Get ready, this is really happening. This is autonomous driving at scale, and not in five years or 10 years or 50 years, but in two years or less.
    Let’s assume Waymo is wildly successful. They take over the ride-sharing market from human drivers in both ride-hailing companies and traditional taxicabs. In so doing, they’ll complete the shift in consumer spending on car transportation from thousands of taxicab drivers across thousands of cities to one technology company. It’s not unlike thousands of newspapers making money from classifieds and then a couple of technology companies taking all of that revenue. It’s certainly easier to buy stuff from other people now, but local journalism is in a hopeless business situation.

    I'm neither endorsing or rejecting the material in the article. I think the questions are fascinating and exactly the questions I think need to be raised.

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  18. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed

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    Although I consider autonomous vehicles to be fairly unequivocally progressive, I also expect a reaction from people displaced from jobs driving, and the politicians who will take up their cause. I also expect city officials, whose taxi licensing is in jeopardy, to put impediments in the way of autonomous vehicles.
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  19. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Free rides in California.
  20. Ancalagon

    Ancalagon outta my way Administrator Formerly Important

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    Mine is 14-23 minutes depending on if I catch the bus (1 minute ride to the station) or have to walk (5 minutes) and then how long I have to wait for a train (max 6 minutes). Train ride is 12 minutes and my office is literally across the street from the station I get off at.

    I pretty much just read the news, argue with you fuckers the whole time.
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  21. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Used to live on Queen Anne Hill and worked at 5th and Virginia. Bus ride was the highlight of my day. 10 minutes and the bus came every 15 or so.

    Now I work in Midtown Atlanta and live in Marietta, 20 miles away. If I take the bus, I have to drive 3 miles to the transit center (bus from our street adds another hour), express bus downtown takes 20 minutes, wait for marta to take me back up to midtown takes another 30. Total commute, 1 hour for 20 miles. It's worse on the way home, 90 to 120 minutes. I drive (but I do carpool). Takes about 30 minutes each way. The Cobb County assholes won't let MARTA up here so we have no good options for commuting; just half-assed ones.

    I argue with the fuckers in my car (no, I'm not schizo, I carpool).
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  22. We Are Borg

    We Are Borg Rey of sunshine

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    That's pretty cool. I especially liked the video with the tanker truck rolling over. Fuck that guy.

    I look forward to the day that all truck drivers can be replaced by computers. Transport trucks are a necessity of commerce, but I can't fucking stand truck drivers in general. I think commercial licensing standards have been dropped so low these days that a monkey could qualify for one.
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  23. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    Coincidentally, I have it on good authority that all truck drivers are apes, so yeah. Monkeys.
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  24. TheBurgerKing

    TheBurgerKing The Monarch of Flavor

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    as a SCADA guy, i can tell you that implementing this is going to be a nightmare. All vehicles will have to be on the same network running the same GPS program to get any form of efficiency out of it. Yeah, the autonomous stuff does alright for the most part fitting in in a non autonomous world, but stand alone sensor packages only do so much for the driving minutae. It would require massive infrastructure upgrades to every settled area in the country coordinated across every city and state government. An dont get me started on what the bandwith requirements would need to be to reliably run every vehicle in someplace like L.A.
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  25. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    Yeah, it's not a matter of putting in a magic box with GPS a little AI and wi fi. I expect there are places where the needs and the technology will match up well enough for some long-ass, lonely hauls can have some stretches where they can operate autonomously. The need is growing since the word is out that long haul big-rig driving makes for a really shitty life for not nearly enough money. But it will be a process, not something that happens overnight.
  26. TheBurgerKing

    TheBurgerKing The Monarch of Flavor

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    vehicles can go into autonomous mode on the interstate and outside any city/town, dont need supervisory computer control for straight lines with nothing merging.
  27. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Driverless cars could make city life worse.
  28. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    I just realized this the other day, you know who else will be largely out of a job (though there still will be one or two positions available on occasion)? Automotive designers. Think about it, if you don't own a car, but simply hail an automated car via Lyft/Uber/Whatever, you're not going to give two-shits about how it looks. Maybe if you're getting one for a special occasion (birthday, party, wedding, etc.) you might want a vehicle with a specific look. Otherwise? Who cares? It's not your car, and all it's doing is taking you to work/station/store/wherever, so what's it matter what it looks like?
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  29. Dinner

    Dinner 2012 & 2014 Master Prognosticator

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    http://amp.miamiherald.com/news/business/article215299675.html

    Iber drivers, who often work very long hours at rates below minimum wage, have a new scam where they commit "vomit fraud". They is where they falsely claim a rider vomited in their car in order to get the $150 clean up fee.

    At least self driving cars wouldn't be committing such fraud.
  30. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    On a related note, this also means that customizers, aftermarket suppliers, body shops, and shade tree mechanics (yes, there's still some of them around) are going to see their business almost completely dry up. If most people don't own cars, and autonomous vehicles have fewer wrecks, there's going to be almost no need for these services.