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Old September 30 2013, 07:43 PM   #151
DarthTom
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Re: Technological Stagnation

MacLeod wrote: View Post
We could of course say restricted automated cars to High Speed Roads i.e. Motorways, whilst letting the driver control the car when its not on the Motorway.
That's essentially what the new Mercedes coming out this fall can already do which I posted earlier in this conversation. In fact, not only can it operate the car, stay in its lane and using radar pace the car from the one ahead on a freeway it also can drive itself in a traffic jam - breaking the car from the one ahead.

You just need $92,000 to get one today.
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Old October 2 2013, 12:20 AM   #152
farmkid
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Re: Technological Stagnation

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Central control creates more problems than it solves. Allowing cars to go a lot faster makes little sense because of how energy inefficient it is. Your average car tops out its fuel efficiency around 55 miles an hour, and declines precipitously beyond that point. Cars that can easily go 200mph and do it efficiently aren't even on the drawing board today. You'd have to address that before it makes any sense at all to have central control. As gturner said, there's also a much higher accident risk at such speeds. The only place such high speeds even make sense is intercity/interstate highways, in which case you'd be much better served having high-speed trains instead.

Autonomous self-driving cars exist today and could be a common sight in the next decade or two. Central control of them makes very little sense, though.
I agree that it causes more problems than it solves; that was kind of my point. Self-driving cars are touted as bringing to the table huge improvements in speed, efficiency, and safety. My point was that in order to really see the huge increases people talk about the cars can't be autonomous; they must be coordinated in some way. But, doing so introduces some other serious, probably deal-killing, issues.

Regarding speed, the primary reason that fuel efficiency drops off at higher speeds is because of increases in air resistance. If the cars were traveling at high speeds and very close to one another, that air resistance would be dramatically reduced, and therefore the efficiency penalties for high speeds would be similarly reduced.
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Old October 2 2013, 04:06 PM   #153
Lindley
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Re: Technological Stagnation

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Alidar Jarok wrote: View Post
The 1970s is an odd cut off since we now have fuel injection instead of carburetors, computer-controlled systems to increase efficiency (incorporating by reference the massive advances in computer technology since the 1970s), etc. Automobile technology today is about as different from 1970 as 1970 was to 1930.
"Different". An interesting choice of words. Meant to obscure the fact that the incremental/limited changes you mentioned did not bring any substantial advancement
Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Not due to the cosmetic approach used by Jobs, though. This was a marketing move - a very successful one. Technologically, it consisted of market-ready touch-screens and little else.
I'd like to point out an inconsistency in your approach here.

In the first quote, you dismiss technological changes as irrelevant because they didn't really affect the way we do things.

In the second, you dismiss changes in the way we do things as irrelevant because they didn't require significant technological changes, just a different application of existing technology.

Both are advancements. If you think one or the other kind of change is more important, that's fine; but if you think neither is important, than what, prey tell, would impress you?
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Old October 3 2013, 07:25 AM   #154
Tiberius
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Re: Technological Stagnation

Hollywood Werewolf wrote: View Post
All this discussion of self-driving cars is a colossal geek-wank. Because IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

We're talking two different transportation paradigms here. There's public transit, which can certainly be made faster, more efficient, and more flexible. And then there's private transportation, i.e., the personal automobile -- the entire POINT of which is that you, the driver, control the vehicle and make the decisions. People will never willingly surrender control of their cars to automation -- because then they won't be cars anymore.

BTW, on my recent poll thread, a majority said they enjoy driving for its own sake. As do I.
You couldn't be more wrong. The primary reason people use their own cars instead of public transportation is the convenience. You aren't waiting for a bus or depending on a timetable, and you don't have to worry about having a long walk at the other end. A person driving a car gets to go straight to their destination whenever they want. You can't do this with public transport. That is why people have their own cars, and it can easily be done with self driving cars.

And no one is suggesting that future self driving cars will completely lack the ability to be manually driven by a person. There are plenty of cases where this might be required. You'll still be able to drive for fun.
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Old October 3 2013, 08:57 AM   #155
Edit_XYZ
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Re: Technological Stagnation

Lindley wrote: View Post
Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Alidar Jarok wrote: View Post
The 1970s is an odd cut off since we now have fuel injection instead of carburetors, computer-controlled systems to increase efficiency (incorporating by reference the massive advances in computer technology since the 1970s), etc. Automobile technology today is about as different from 1970 as 1970 was to 1930.
"Different". An interesting choice of words. Meant to obscure the fact that the incremental/limited changes you mentioned did not bring any substantial advancement
Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Not due to the cosmetic approach used by Jobs, though. This was a marketing move - a very successful one. Technologically, it consisted of market-ready touch-screens and little else.
I'd like to point out an inconsistency in your approach here.

In the first quote, you dismiss technological changes as irrelevant because they didn't really affect the way we do things.

In the second, you dismiss changes in the way we do things as irrelevant because they didn't require significant technological changes, just a different application of existing technology.

Both are advancements. If you think one or the other kind of change is more important, that's fine; but if you think neither is important, than what, prey tell, would impress you?
No inconsistency, Lindley:
First quote: I dismiss the incremental technological improvements that occurred because they didn't advance WHAT the technology can do to any substantial degree.
Second quote: I dismiss the cosmetic changes that occurred because they don't/can't advance WHAT the technology can do.

PS:
What would impress me?
A car that can travel 1000 km for 1 $;
LEO cheap enough to make orbital tourism/asteroid mining/etc
feasible, leading to anyone who wants to make a few billions $ and has the now relatively modest means needed to kickstart a business in space flocking to the new market;
etc.
These would be actual substantial technological improvement; as opposed to the cosmetic changes or the shaving off a few percentages in efficiencies we recite in order to convince ourselves that some fields are advancing.
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Last edited by Edit_XYZ; October 3 2013 at 10:11 AM.
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Old October 3 2013, 12:47 PM   #156
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Re: Technological Stagnation

Okay, so you describe a car that is essentially magical, because there is no known source of energy that can propel a 1-ton vehicle 1000 kilometers for a buck. Then you say cheap access to LEO would be somehow revolutionary, when in fact it would just be a result of competition and technical refinement. I'll note that private space companies actually are driving down costs, but they haven't invented any revolutionary tech to do it, they just took the best of what we already had and refined it and used it a bit differently. The reason there's not some enormous boom in space travel is that there is no good reason to go there for most people.

Also, you don't mine asteroids in LEO.

At this point I'm content to declare that you simply have no idea what you are talking about, and you don't even understand this topic enough to offer examples of revolutionary technologies. You've been given plenty of examples of technological advancements, some of which are revolutionary--strides in materials technology, biotech, and computing are at least as important as anything we did prior to the '70s. You've just staked out this bizarre position and refuse to back away from it, even though you are completely wrong.

Maybe other people want to keep arguing in circles with you, but I won't. I'm done with this.
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Old October 3 2013, 01:19 PM   #157
Edit_XYZ
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Re: Technological Stagnation

TheRedPill wrote: View Post
Okay, so you describe a car that is essentially magical, because there is no known source of energy that can propel a 1-ton vehicle 1000 kilometers for a buck.
Really?
If the energy is cheap enough, it can most definitely propel a vehicle 1000 km for 1 $.
You don't need a perpetuum mobile for that, TheRedPill (nuclear energy doing this - WITHOUT installing a reactor in every car, that is - is quite consistent with physics). You just need energy cheap enough.

Then you say cheap access to LEO would be somehow revolutionary, when in fact it would just be a result of competition and technical refinement. I'll note that private space companies actually are driving down costs, but they haven't invented any revolutionary tech to do it, they just took the best of what we already had and refined it and used it a bit differently. The reason there's not some enormous boom in space travel is that there is no good reason to go there for most people.

Also, you don't mine asteroids in LEO.
Technological advancement is defined by what you can do with the technology. Reaching LEO cheaply IS a revolutionary advancement vis-a-vis what you can do with technology - compared with what we can do today.

Once you're in LEO, you're half-way to anywhere - including asteroids. The harder half, that is.

And, once one can get billions in profits from space, the reason for most people to go there will materialise - unsurprisingly.

At this point I'm content to declare that you simply have no idea what you are talking about, and you don't even understand this topic enough to offer examples of revolutionary technologies. You've been given plenty of examples of technological advancements, some of which are revolutionary--strides in materials technology, biotech, and computing are at least as important as anything we did prior to the '70s. You've just staked out this bizarre position and refuse to back away from it, even though you are completely wrong.
At this point it's obvious that you are the one having no idea even about what I argued in this thread, TheRedPill:
TRANSPORTATION technology stagnated, as I repeatedly said.
I even expressly said - in this thread, no less - that computing, etc are advancing nicely.

But you don't let that stop you from arguing against a straw-man and coming with unsupported dictums.

Maybe other people want to keep arguing in circles with you, but I won't. I'm done with this.
If the straw-men/dictums you presented here are your arguments - well, it's obvious you barely even addressed my points, let alone prove them in error.
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Old October 3 2013, 04:27 PM   #158
Lindley
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Re: Technological Stagnation

I recently read a David Weber book called Out of the Dark. Not his strongest effort, but it had a very cool genre-bending twist at the end which I won't spoil.

Anyway, the point he was making throughout the book is that technological advancement isn't a strict weak ordering. In the book, the underlying technology of the alien race was far in advance of ours; they had FTL travel and whatnot. But our technology was much better applied since we had more experience with warfare than they did. For instance, tanks with energy cannons don't mean squat if your armor isn't able to fend off a penetrator round from an Abrams, and heavy lift shuttles to orbit aren't useful if they can't detect an incoming F-22. In the book, the only reason the aliens were able to get a foothold at all is because of their widespread use of orbital kinetic energy weapons.

The point is simply that while revolutionary technological changes are very cool, you shouldn't be so quick to dismiss incremental improvements or new ways of applying existing technologies. Such things can have very important impacts on our lives and culture.
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Old October 3 2013, 04:43 PM   #159
Edit_XYZ
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Re: Technological Stagnation

We are talking bout technology.
The most important criteria for judging it are 'does it work?' and 'what can it do?'. NOT 'how flashy it is?' or 'how many quantum mechanical tricks does a device incorporates?':

If incremental advances will get us cheaply to LEO, then, at that point, these advances will transmute into a technological revolution.
If whatever newly discovered physical principle has little application in the technological field, then this principle does NOT constitute a technological revolution.

As for incremental technological advances - I merely pointed out how only slow, snail-paced advancements (nothing revolutionary) have been taking place in transportation since the seventies. This remains the case, regardless of whether some like this fact or not.
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Old October 3 2013, 04:52 PM   #160
gturner
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Re: Technological Stagnation

farmkid wrote: View Post
Regarding speed, the primary reason that fuel efficiency drops off at higher speeds is because of increases in air resistance. If the cars were traveling at high speeds and very close to one another, that air resistance would be dramatically reduced, and therefore the efficiency penalties for high speeds would be similarly reduced.
The drag reduction isn't that great. Bump drafting, where the rear car actually pushes the front car, can gain you maybe 15 mph at NASCAR speeds, the equivalent of perhaps 50 to 100 HP per vehicle. But then to go that fast they need 750 HP engines and get about 5 mpg. Drafting might conceivably get the mileage up to 6 or 7 mpg. If the cars were as streamlined as a Prius that might drop to 300 HP or so and get maybe 10 to 15 mpg.

And of course to travel at those speeds with even marginal safety we'd all have to put on our Nomex fire suits, helmets, and crawl into the roll cage through the window because our doors would be welded shut.
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Old October 3 2013, 06:14 PM   #161
sojourner
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Re: Technological Stagnation

The Tesla S can go about 480 kilometers on one full battery charge, about 6 dollars of electricity. Is that good enough for you Edit_XYZ?
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Old October 3 2013, 07:12 PM   #162
farmkid
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Re: Technological Stagnation

Tiberius wrote: View Post
Hollywood Werewolf wrote: View Post
All this discussion of self-driving cars is a colossal geek-wank. Because IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

We're talking two different transportation paradigms here. There's public transit, which can certainly be made faster, more efficient, and more flexible. And then there's private transportation, i.e., the personal automobile -- the entire POINT of which is that you, the driver, control the vehicle and make the decisions. People will never willingly surrender control of their cars to automation -- because then they won't be cars anymore.

BTW, on my recent poll thread, a majority said they enjoy driving for its own sake. As do I.
You couldn't be more wrong. The primary reason people use their own cars instead of public transportation is the convenience. You aren't waiting for a bus or depending on a timetable, and you don't have to worry about having a long walk at the other end. A person driving a car gets to go straight to their destination whenever they want. You can't do this with public transport. That is why people have their own cars, and it can easily be done with self driving cars.

And no one is suggesting that future self driving cars will completely lack the ability to be manually driven by a person. There are plenty of cases where this might be required. You'll still be able to drive for fun.
I have to agree. Most people I know would rather take a bus to get to work, for example, but don't because it would require significant walking, more time, and restrictions on when you can travel. In my case, for example, if I take the bus, I have to walk 1.5 miles to the bus stop (in temperatures ranging from -20 to 100), then ride two buses for nearly an hour. On top of that, I have to hope I don't miss it, because it only runs once per hour. Or, I can drive and go whenever I want and get there in 15 minutes. Hmm, tough choice.
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Old October 3 2013, 08:33 PM   #163
DarthTom
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Re: Technological Stagnation

farmkid wrote: View Post
I have to agree. Most people I know would rather take a bus to get to work, for example, but don't because it would require significant walking, more time, and restrictions on when you can travel. In my case, for example, if I take the bus, I have to walk 1.5 miles to the bus stop (in temperatures ranging from -20 to 100), then ride two buses for nearly an hour. On top of that, I have to hope I don't miss it, because it only runs once per hour. Or, I can drive and go whenever I want and get there in 15 minutes. Hmm, tough choice.
Public transportation is great until you have to make multiple stops, go to the grocerey store and get large/bulky items or a lot, or have a family and/or young children.

I've spoken with several friends who have young children and it's just too much effort to coordinate the transportation and the children at the same time.

Obviously some people have no choice - but given a choice I think anyone with young children prefers a car under most circumstances.
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Old October 4 2013, 12:34 AM   #164
MacLeod
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Re: Technological Stagnation

gturner wrote: View Post
farmkid wrote: View Post
Regarding speed, the primary reason that fuel efficiency drops off at higher speeds is because of increases in air resistance. If the cars were traveling at high speeds and very close to one another, that air resistance would be dramatically reduced, and therefore the efficiency penalties for high speeds would be similarly reduced.
The drag reduction isn't that great. Bump drafting, where the rear car actually pushes the front car, can gain you maybe 15 mph at NASCAR speeds, the equivalent of perhaps 50 to 100 HP per vehicle. But then to go that fast they need 750 HP engines and get about 5 mpg. Drafting might conceivably get the mileage up to 6 or 7 mpg. If the cars were as streamlined as a Prius that might drop to 300 HP or so and get maybe 10 to 15 mpg.

And of course to travel at those speeds with even marginal safety we'd all have to put on our Nomex fire suits, helmets, and crawl into the roll cage through the window because our doors would be welded shut.
Well some modern road cars can have top speeds over 200mph, so the technology is there. As for fuel consumption it is true that you do pay a peanlty for those speeds. But if we look at F1 engines which from 2014 will be 1.6L V6 turbo engines around 600HP and they'll have to be a baout a third more efficent than the current 2.4L norm ally aspirated V8's as the fuel tank reduces from 160kg to 100kg.

Now whilst those cars that are following might recive some fuel benefits the car in the lead won't as it'll have to work the air so that in essence others can draft them. Do you want to be the lead car?

For it to work you woul in essence have trains of cars, where a highly aerodynamic lead car sets the pace. This might have to be run by the state. You could have seperate ones for slower moving traffic such as lorries. Which have there own uniquelt designed lead vehicle.
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Old October 10 2013, 12:19 AM   #165
MacLeod
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Re: Technological Stagnation

And there is this one from Ford, another step along the way to driverless cars

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24464480
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