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Old September 9 2013, 07:24 PM   #31
publiusr
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Re: Technological Stagnation

Into Darkness wrote: View Post
Let's be blunt here, technologically speaking we've stagnated.
Well, yes and no. We will never have handwavium--probably never have warp drive, anti-gravity, etc.

My concern is that folks have this idea that Moore's Law applies to everything. We have actually gone so far with consumer technology that I fear it is sapping real imagination.

I'm thinking Newton would not have completed the Principia had he had the distractions of twitter, blogs, e-mail, etc. Andrew Wiles had to shut himself off from the world to deal with Fermat's famous theorum.

Too many consumer gadgets, not enough respect for infrastructure and heavy industry--that's the real problem.

Worse, we have Republicans making statements about "something called volcano monitoring" wanting to destroye the Department of Energy, etc. Everywhere--not just at NASA--is this move by Ayn Rand types to destroy infrastructure.

Everything is getting larger and more expensive. Large Hadron, the Magellan Giant telescope, etc. This is not a bad thing--and people need to understand the need for growth of these systems. Here is a nice book on the subject:

http://www.amazon.com/Big-Science-Gr...ds=Big+Science

Last edited by publiusr; September 9 2013 at 07:35 PM.
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Old September 9 2013, 07:29 PM   #32
DarthTom
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Re: Technological Stagnation

publiusr wrote: View Post
Too many consumer gadgets, not enough respect for heavy industry--that's the real problem
I don't know about that. The Japanese have some highly advanced robotics. In fact, one of their latest robots just joined the ISS crew.

Meet Kirobo, talking robot that can engage astronauts in conversation. The test is to see if such a device could keep humans company on a long solo space mission.
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Old September 9 2013, 07:46 PM   #33
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Re: Technological Stagnation

gturner wrote: View Post
But modern cars are already wide open to hacking, allowing attackers to take over the engine control, brakes, and in some cases the steering. Some think the NSA cyber warfare branch is already doing this. A clever foreign attack could kill or injure millions of drivers simultaneously when they all slam into each other.

We should be building robustness instead of adding even bigger vulnerabilities.
Modern cars aren't "wide open to hacking", but people have demonstrated the ability to take over a car and control the engine, brakes, shifting, etc. The difficulty in doing so, however, is that direct physical access to the car was required. In order to do it, the hacker had to be plugged into the OBDII port; it wasn't done wirelessly.

I like the idea of driverless cars because of the potential to increase travel efficiency, decrease time, decrease accidents, etc. However, in order to achieve this, cars will need to be able to either (1) communicate with others in the near vicinity, or (2) be controlled by some central system coordinating the actions off all the cars in a certain area. Either one requires some sort of wireless communication system that will open the cars to hacking. Of necessity, the same system that controls the brakes, engine, steering, etc. will have to be connected to that communication system.

Even if the systems were made to be very robust and could handle any system malfunction/road hazard/physical breakdown/etc., it would never be hack-proof.
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Old September 9 2013, 07:47 PM   #34
MacLeod
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Re: Technological Stagnation

DarthTom wrote: View Post
RoJoHen wrote: View Post
Driverless cars scare the shit out of me. Technology fails sometimes, and when that happens, humans need to be able to step in and take control. Drivers already don't pay enough attention to the road! I can only imagine how much less they'll be paying attention when they're even not responsible for driving.
In 2010 there were an estimated 5 + million with a capital M car accidents of which ~ 32,000 people were killed in the US. This makes cars IMO the biggest serial killer in America and the people who kill who are driving them.

If automation would even half that number - and I believe it could do even much better than that - you'd think the public would overwhemingly support the driverless car and the technology necessary to run it - occassional failure or not.

Wiki

But like I said earlier in this thread - privacy rights groups I'd imagine will be one of the biggest hurdles to a large scale use of any such tech.
You don't need automation to reduce road deaths. Lets look at some numbers the UK vs US

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ted_death_rate

Road Deaths per 100 000

UK 2.75
US 12.3

Road Deaths per 100 000 motor vehicles

UK 5.1
US 15

Road Deaths ber 1 billion km

UK 3.6
US 8.5

So what other factors are at work, that seemingly make US roads more dangerous than UK roads?

Traffic regulations?
Driving ability?
Culural differences?
Safety features on cars?
Other?
Combination?
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Old September 9 2013, 07:59 PM   #35
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Re: Technological Stagnation

farmkid wrote: View Post
However, in order to achieve this, cars will need to be able to either (1) communicate with others in the near vicinity, or (2) be controlled by some central system coordinating the actions off all the cars in a certain area.
I've seen no indication that this kind of communication or central control is necessary. Google has been operating their driverless cars on public roads in real life traffic for (I think) a few years now. I would say any system predicated on central control or mutual communication (beyond what their sensors can show) is both premature optimization and introduction of unnecessary failure points.

Each car should be self-contained and autonomous, responding to the conditions around it without any illusions that it has any control over or communication with anything else on the road.
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Old September 9 2013, 08:03 PM   #36
DarthTom
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Re: Technological Stagnation

MacLeod wrote: View Post
So what other factors are at work, that seemingly make US roads more dangerous than UK roads?

Traffic regulations?
Driving ability?
Culural differences?
Safety features on cars?
Other?
Combination?
Obviously you'd have to study the problem in more detail. But one big difference off the top of my head is the UK doesn't have nearly the elaborate freeway system the US has and I'd imagine speed coupled with how our freeways are constructed [some having 10 lanes in each direction] contributes to that.
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Old September 9 2013, 08:08 PM   #37
publiusr
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Re: Technological Stagnation

Now the legal questions. Who gets sued if my driverless car hits someone? I only get a ticket if, say, I don't have my car serviced on time?

Let me also give you two scenarios:

Let's say I have been drinking a little bit, get behind the wheel of a car, and drive a bit too fast, say, through a school zone. (something I don't do BTW)

I do look around, and I see a young child chasing a ball down a hill. The ball disappears between two parked cars.

There is no obstruction yet, but I know what is going to happen, In a moment, the ball will appear in front of me, and a second or two later, so will the child.

So I apply the brake in anticipation. Lo and behold, the child jumps out in front of me, and he goes home safe after I get his attention with a horn blast.

Same scenario, but with a driverless car.

It can never be drunk, always obeys all laws, never speeds. But it cannot anticipate. It uses sensors, even visual sensors the way a blind man uses a stick.

Machines image, people see.

I am in the car reading my morning (paper?) newstablet. The car is in the school zone. It can sense no obstruction. Then the ball and boy emerge right in front of it--and the tyke is struck.

So which was safer then, a drunk driver who anticipates, or a perfect reaction time machine with no common sense? In this case, the drunk driver is actually safer.
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Old September 9 2013, 08:12 PM   #38
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Re: Technological Stagnation

This link breaks down the leading causes of car accidents.

In summary, they are:

1. Distracted driving. Well, computers don't get "distracted."
2. Driver fatigue. Computers also don't get tired!
3. Drunk driving. Or drunk.
4. Speeding. Self-driving cars could potentially go faster than is safe for humans, but would be programmed never to go faster than conditions permit be done safely.
5. Aggressive driving. Computers don't get mad, either.
6. Weather. A self-driving system would behave more conservatively in bad weather conditions, and it would have more data (such as infrared) to work with.

publiusr wrote: View Post
Now the legal questions. Who gets sued if my driverless car hits someone? I only get a ticket if, say, I don't have my car serviced on time?
That has yet to be sorted out, but manufacturers should be liable for any defects, while the owner is liable if they aren't doing proper maintenance.

Let me also give you two scenarios:

Let's say I have been drinking a little bit, get behind the wheel of a car, and drive a bit too fast, say, through a school zone. (something I don't do BTW)

I do look around, and I see a young child chasing a ball down a hill. The ball disappears between two parked cars.

There is no obstruction yet, but I know what is going to happen, In a moment, the ball will appear in front of me, and a second or two later, so will the child.

So I apply the brake in anticipation. Lo and behold, the child jumps out in front of me, and he goes home safe after I get his attention with a horn blast.

Same scenario, but with a driverless car.

It can never be drunk, always obeys all laws, never speeds. But it cannot anticipate. It uses sensors, even visual sensors the way a blind man uses a stick.

Machines image, people see.
Such motion can be detected with greater accuracy and anticipation than a human. The car would notice there's a problem before you would. (In fact, there are new cars which will sense impending collisions with pedestrians and stop immediately to avoid them.)

I am in the car reading my morning (paper?) newstablet. The car is in the school zone. It can sense no obstruction. Then the ball and boy emerge right in front of it--and the tyke is struck.

So which was safer then, a drunk driver who anticipates, or a perfect reaction time machine with no common sense? In this case, the drunk driver is actually safer.
The self-driving car is safer because it wouldn't hit the kid. Also, if you think a drunk barreling through a school zone is going to hit the brakes fast enough to avoid hurting anyone, I don't think you get drunk that much. The scenario you describe far, far more often ends with the drunk hitting the kid and not even noticing, on account of being totally shitfaced.
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Old September 9 2013, 09:21 PM   #39
farmkid
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Re: Technological Stagnation

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
farmkid wrote: View Post
However, in order to achieve this, cars will need to be able to either (1) communicate with others in the near vicinity, or (2) be controlled by some central system coordinating the actions off all the cars in a certain area.
I've seen no indication that this kind of communication or central control is necessary. Google has been operating their driverless cars on public roads in real life traffic for (I think) a few years now. I would say any system predicated on central control or mutual communication (beyond what their sensors can show) is both premature optimization and introduction of unnecessary failure points.

Each car should be self-contained and autonomous, responding to the conditions around it without any illusions that it has any control over or communication with anything else on the road.
To get the kind of real efficiency improvements that self-driving cars are capable of, coordination is absolutely necessary. If each car operates autonomously, it has to go slow enough and keep enough distance from other vehicles that it can react appropriately and safely in situations where it doesn't know what the other vehicles are going to do until the other vehicles actually start doing something. If the vehicles communicate with each other, they can safely cruise along at much higher speeds with only inches or perhaps a few feet between them, dramatically decreasing travel times, increasing road capacity, and potentially reducing fuel usage by reducing wind resistance.
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Old September 9 2013, 09:38 PM   #40
DarthTom
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Re: Technological Stagnation

The trucking industry I'm sure sees a huge upside to any self driving technology. I'm surprised they haven't invested more heavily in the technology. No more driver fatigue and there are a many other efficiences for the industry.
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Old September 9 2013, 09:42 PM   #41
iguana_tonante
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Re: Technological Stagnation

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I just have a hard time putting my life in the hands of something other than myself.
You do it every time you go outside your house, every time you take a medicine, every time you switch on a house appliance, etc. You are not thinking this through very much, aren't you.
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Old September 9 2013, 10:02 PM   #42
Into Darkness
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Re: Technological Stagnation

DarthTom wrote: View Post
The trucking industry I'm sure sees a huge upside to any self driving technology. I'm surprised they haven't invested more heavily in the technology. No more driver fatigue and there are a many other efficiences for the industry.
All those goods and products on the back of a driverless truck? bandits will have a field day.
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Old September 9 2013, 10:31 PM   #43
iguana_tonante
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Re: Technological Stagnation

Yes, because truck drivers are known to fend off rabid attackers on the wild roads of the radioactive wastelands.
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Old September 9 2013, 11:01 PM   #44
Mysterion
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Re: Technological Stagnation

Stagnated? Don't think so.

Look at the world in 1900. Now look at the world in 2000. Think we did pretty well in the technological/scientific progress game, don't you? I'm gonna guess that 2100 is going to look just as alien to us as 2000 would to someone from 1900.
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Old September 9 2013, 11:49 PM   #45
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Re: Technological Stagnation

DarthTom wrote: View Post
The trucking industry I'm sure sees a huge upside to any self driving technology. I'm surprised they haven't invested more heavily in the technology. No more driver fatigue and there are a many other efficiences for the industry.
Well, I would imagine truck drivers might not like the idea of putting out of a job.
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