Autonomous cars: unintended consequences

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

  1. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Another thought hit me today: You're going to see a specialization of vehicle design in ways which aren't practical now, for example, see this van:

    [​IMG]

    The reason the sides are made out of corrugated sheet metal is because that enables them to use a thinner gauge of material, thus saving weight. (Fun fact: They got the idea from this German plane.)

    Since a vehicle which is only going to be used for trips on city streets where speeds are below 55 MPH doesn't need to worry about aerodynamics, it can have features not found on a car that would be used at freeway speeds. So, they could use corrugated sheet metal on the car, for example, to save weight.
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  2. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    what, like this?:
    [​IMG]
    or this?:
    [​IMG]

    I'm confused.
  3. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Heard about a cool automated vehicle business.

    A vehicle with an automated pizza preparation line--including the oven--that is dispatched to your address when you order. Everything is timed so that the pizza is ready just as it arrives, so you'll get a fresh pie right out of the oven.
  4. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    This is an interesting article from an expert who cautions that autonomous vehicles might aggravate road congestion instead of easing it. I'm not sure I buy his conclusions, but his theory is well-argued and it would be good food for thought when it comes to trying to figure out what the impact of those things will be.
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  5. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    It's a good article. It points out that unless we share rides, we'll be worse off.
  6. Zombie

    Zombie dead and loving it

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    That article makes an argument that the number of cars on the road would increase leading to more problems but I disagree.

    I think AI driven cars would cause a drop in the number of cars. Once all non-AI cars are off the road.

    You won't need as many cars. The cost of owning one will be higher than just calling one up from the many companies like Uber and Lyft. So instead of me taking my car which only I use and sits idle for almost 21-23 hours a day I'll take a Uber car which will be in use 24 hours a day. I and I'm willing to bet a whole lot of people would just get rid of our cars if we had reliable AI driven cars to rent. One day I need a car to go to work. One day I need a truck or SUV. You could have monthly plans. I don't have to worry about paying for the car or the maintenance or the gas or the insurance. I just tell Uber to send a car at a particular time.

    A lot of traffic in cities is caused by people looking for parking. Don't need parking if you can just get out of the car and release it to go pick up other people. That will decrease traffic.

    Traffic is also caused by idiots driving. Once it's all AI things will run more smoothly. Also because traffic is AI controlled you can spread cars out. Instead of everyone taking I-95 the AI can judge that a shorter trip should just use regular roads.

    Also cars will get smaller. If all I need is to get from A to B I don't need a truck, a big SUV or even a sedan. I can use one of those tiny cars. You can fit more people in a given space with smaller cars.

    Ride share is never going to be popular. Or safe. One can imagine the horror stories that will crop up from ride sharing with strangers.

    A bus at least has a large number of people on it.

    We do need a mix of buses and cars but I can't see ride sharing a car ever working out.

    I did like this comment which I admit had not thought of until I read it:

    "A lot of great comments here but I saw no mention of a HUGE problem when vehicle ownership becomes a thing of the past. What happens when a natural disaster strikes like say a hurricane and everyone is told to evacuate? Will there be enough self-driving cars to get everyone to safety in time? What about belongings and supplies? What happens when they get people to safety, do they go back for more? Will the companies that own them put protecting their investment over human lives and send all of the vehicles out of danger leaving people stranded?" - J.T. Brunner

    Take the fires in California. What happens when people don't have cars?

    "Well kids looks like we're going to die. Uber says they are having delivery delays due to the fire." ;)
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
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  7. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    That's why I liked that article. There's no way to ever anticipate the consequences of every innovation, but the more we talk about it, the better we are going to do at adapting to the changes they will bring.
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  8. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Or, "Well, kids, thanks to 'surge pricing' we can't afford to hire an Uber or Lyft. We're going to die."

    This is why, no matter what one thinks of capitalism, things like survival shouldn't be tied to things like profit and loss. Companies which are focused on things like quarterly profits tend not to worry about what happens when shit hits the fan (see the financial meltdown in '08, which all them knew was coming, but didn't care to stop because they were making so much money, until they weren't). One of the things a city should be looking at is, "If we have to evacuate the city in just a couple of hours, can we actually get the population out of there in time?" In an autonomous vehicle society, it is possible, provided that the society has a mixture of different types of vehicles capable of moving people and plenty of overlap, for this to happen. It's foolish to rely on one method alone for getting people out of a city. It'd suck real bad if the city planned to get everyone out by train, but a quake had destroyed the rail lines, or the only bridge out of town got wiped out in the flood and now everybody's got to swim.
  9. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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  10. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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    truck driving has a very high turnover rate - I don't know if they are dropping their licensing standards to keep up with the demand, but even if they are not the sheer lack of experience cannot help the average driver's skills. I wouldn't drive a truck even if I had the ability. Too many hours worked for not enough pay. Those guys must have every bit of luck on their side (weather, traffic, detours, etc) to make any money. Coming from a blue-collar background I know a lot of people who drove a truck professionally - no thanks to that job! :no:
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  11. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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  12. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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  13. TheBurgerKing

    TheBurgerKing The Monarch of Flavor

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    Also, I don't think people are gonna take to carmunism. Its one thing for an Uber or Lyft, its a taxi service with a human monitoring the condition of the vehicle. what happens when that goes away? In the case of my area, theres about a good 50% chance that the last person to use the vehicle will be a junkie that will leave needles in the car.
  14. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Passengers will be identifiable and may even be observed while in the vehicle.
  15. Zombie

    Zombie dead and loving it

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    Yeah. At first there won't be cameras but after some high-profile or viral cases you'll see signs in every car: "Audio and video recording in progress."
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  16. We Are Borg

    We Are Borg Rey of sunshine

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    I'm wondering how we're going to deal with the rash of jaywalking once autonomous cars are the norm.

    As a pedestrian, if I know the car's AI simply will not allow it to hit me, why the hell should I wait for a cross signal or green light? I can just step out into traffic and cross at my leisure.
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  17. Captain X

    Captain X Responsible cookie control

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    Huh, with a robot driving, I wonder how long it is before people start having sex while the car drives itself. "just passing the time, officer." ;)
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  18. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

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    [​IMG]
  19. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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  20. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    B083585F-CAFF-4A7E-9939-E58BDBE5B939.jpeg
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  21. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne Sheithforge Formerly Important

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    Many of the stagecoach designers and builders eventually went on to be the pioneers of the automotive industry, most notably Rolls-Royce.

    Necessity breeds innovation. :shrug:

    Ehhhhhh, I wouldn't play chicken with an automated Benz...:flow:

    It's insane. A navy buddy of mine is married to a truck driver and his company is absolutely taking the piss. But they make good money for that area in Alabama that they live in.
  22. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Not in the US. Literally the only company to do so was Studebaker. And they've been gone for over 50 years now. They did, however, have a pretty good run. Something like 160 years building vehicles, and then another 30+ years as an investment firm. To put that in perspective, at 160 years, they were around longer than IBM or GM have been. Not to mention Ford.
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  23. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Yes, but I wasn't talking about people who build cars.

    I was talking about people who drive for a living. Those people--and there are millions of them--are otherwise largely unskilled and will have few good employment prospects.

    Definitely am not saying we shouldn't have technological progress, just saying we should be aware of potential political fallout.
  24. Marso

    Marso High speed, low drag.

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    Hell, it's probably going to happen with planes before it happens with cars. As a pilot, I consider myself an endangered species. We probably won't live to see it, but our grandkids will.
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  25. Zombie

    Zombie dead and loving it

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    There is no doubt that automating vehicles will result in large job losses.

    And it's not just the drivers that will be dealing with losing their jobs.

    Eventually those lost jobs will turn into new jobs but for a couple decades it's going to be painful.

    It's happening at the same time but I think we will have pilots long after the drivers are gone simply because people will have a fear of getting up to 35,000 feet at 500 plus mph with a computer in control.
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  26. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne Sheithforge Formerly Important

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    Aren’t flights mostly automated nowadays anyway? I’ve heard pilots only really do anything during takeoff and landing and just monitor screens for the rest of the time.
  27. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne Sheithforge Formerly Important

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    My whole generation went to school and got 4 years degrees that were worthless, even for “good” majors, and we all survived with minimal fallout (the Occupy Wall Street stuff from 2009/2010 has been largely forgotten about).

    Like, not trying to be glib here, but what political fallout are you expecting when even the college educated elites could barely put a dent into their own redundancy? :unsure:
  28. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Not trying to minimize the problems faced by recent college graduates, but it's much easier to find *something* with an education than without one.
  29. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    In the case of a highly skilled (and educated) friend of mine, that *something* is driving for Uber and Lyft.
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  30. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne Sheithforge Formerly Important

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    I grew up in a somewhat affluent area and the first of the my classmates graduated college months before the 2008 crash. A Cal Berkeley grad had to move back home for two years and one who became a substitute teacher was also the manager at Peets Coffee.

    This is probably getting more into Red Room territory, however.