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Author Topic: The robots are coming  (Read 38057 times)
Chimpy
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Reply #350 on: July 16, 2016, 10:24:27 AM

It is also different to drive in places where ice, snow, and heavy rain happen.

An autonomous vehicle that is able to drive in California or in the southwestern US is great, sure, but actual weather is a concern too.

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
ezrast
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Reply #351 on: July 18, 2016, 07:30:17 PM

Ugh, yes, I really wish the bulk of this R&D wasn't being performed by people who literally do not know what weather is.

That said, we're not looking for perfect. We're just looking for better. The moment autonomous vehicles come in anywhere south of 1.08 road deaths per 100 million miles traveled in a representative, statistically significant sample, computers will be objectively better drivers than humans. This is not a technology that has a lot of far-reaching impacts beyond what statistics can show us, and we keep pretty good traffic statistics. At that point, screw incremental change. I want myself and every other schlub replaced with a robot ASAP.
Merusk
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Reply #352 on: July 18, 2016, 08:14:42 PM

Having grown-up and driven in places with all of the above for my entire life, please to explain exactly what you, mr. human, can do that the computer can't or won't?

For example, braking systems NOW are exceptionally superior at pumping brakes in adverse conditions. To the point that you are no longer trained to pump them as a new driver. It's actually MORE dangerous than just hitting the break and letting the system take over.

Losing traction? The car knows it long before you, mr. meatsack, do. Right now, in your car built after the turn of the century, you have sytems that already detect and redistribute power to slipping wheels. Think ice is going to be significantly different?

Not to mention an autonomous car? It's actually going to slow the fuck down OR (bigger problem) not slow to a goddamn crawl on the highway because they're flipping their shit about thunder, lighting, snow.

Systems built with actual parameters for things like, "Hey dipshit, it's coming down at 1" per half hour. No, just because you have 4wd doesn't mean you can charge down the highway at 70mph"  Or, "No, lady. Just because lighting terrifies you doesn't mean it's ok to stop in the middle of the highway because you're panicked and it's raining hard. (A former coworker did this several times when we worked on the East side. I'm still surprised she hasn't been killed.)

These will drive far, far better than humans do. They'll adjust for things impassionately while humans let terror, ego, and aggravation impede all decision making skills and consideration for others. 

Radar is obstructed by weather. Yes, this is a problem. The actual driving, though? Cars are *already* better at it than us. We just haven't given them enough control to do so.

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Khaldun
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Reply #353 on: July 18, 2016, 08:53:37 PM

I don't think any single challenge is something that an autonomous car will do more poorly at than a human.

It's the combination of challenges, some of which take judgment that isn't purely about the car itself. As long as the environment is a mixed environment of human/autonomous drivers or has humans and animals in it that are prone to unexpected behaviors, I think there will be situations where AIs simply don't perform well. I also think if you read up on vision that it remains a really difficult challenge if you need the AI to accurately understand every object it is seeing and there are a very large number of objects. If you simplify the number of objects (say, in a controlled autonomous-car only highway lane) where you can safely tell the AI to ignore most of what it's seeing and just check ahead and behind in the lane and accept information from some sort of external guidance system, no problem. If you have to tell the AI, "watch for children and pets and toys and human drivers and Pokemon Go players and some of the humans will be wearing heavy coats and there might be black ice on the road and also it's New Year's Eve so some drivers may be drunk" that's a lot to work with.
Rendakor
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Reply #354 on: July 18, 2016, 09:41:44 PM

I don't think any single challenge is something that an autonomous car will do more poorly at than a human.

It's the combination of challenges, some of which take judgment that isn't purely about the car itself. As long as the environment is a mixed environment of human/autonomous drivers or has humans and animals in it that are prone to unexpected behaviors, I think there will be situations where AIs simply don't perform well. I also think if you read up on vision that it remains a really difficult challenge if you need the AI to accurately understand every object it is seeing and there are a very large number of objects. If you simplify the number of objects (say, in a controlled autonomous-car only highway lane) where you can safely tell the AI to ignore most of what it's seeing and just check ahead and behind in the lane and accept information from some sort of external guidance system, no problem. If you have to tell the AI, "watch for children and pets and toys and human drivers and Pokemon Go players and some of the humans will be wearing heavy coats and there might be black ice on the road and also it's New Year's Eve so some drivers may be drunk" that's a lot to work with.
People aren't great at that last bit either. All a robot has to be is better than the average person.

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Merusk
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Reply #355 on: July 18, 2016, 09:50:18 PM

Any time these conversations come up, all I see is the resistance of fear. Fear of humans becoming irrelevant.

Well, we will be. Within our grandchildren's lifetime if things keep progressing at this rate. We're on the cusp of something amazing and it's fascinating and terrifying all at once.

As Rendakor says, humans have to do all that shit now and we're pretty garbage at it. We're not parallel processors. It's just that we have the capaicty to learn from experience and apply that in the future. A 16 year old is a shitty driver but has better reflexes. A 40 year old has more experience and decent reflexes still. An 80 year old has a lifetime on that 40 year old but can't move fast enough.  Learning machines will leave them all in the dust within a few days.  But that's a dream right now.

So yeah, all it has to be is better than that 16-25 year old demographic. That's not a hard target to hit.

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ajax34i
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Reply #356 on: July 18, 2016, 09:52:15 PM

People aren't great at that last bit either. All a robot has to be is better than the average person.

No, because we're all perfect drivers, and the robot has to be better than us.  

What I mean is, I think I'm a very good driver (even if I'm not), robot would have to be better than me to be acceptable to me.  Otherwise I won't trust it.  

Everybody thinks like that.

"The average" is shit.

« Last Edit: July 18, 2016, 09:54:22 PM by ajax34i »
Khaldun
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Reply #357 on: July 19, 2016, 07:11:33 AM

Honestly, no, the robot doesn't just have to be better than us. It has to be nearly perfect. That's not a fair standard, but it's how people will think. As long as they have it in their minds that a robot is driving, if the robot does something even once in a great while that's an unambiguous error--runs over a kid because the robot's vision misperceived the kid as asphalt because he was wearing a big grey coat and was hunched over, or crashes into a pregnant lady because somebody flew a drone across the road and because there was a dog on the other side of the street that was chasing the car--there will be a huge outcry despite the fact that human drivers made vastly more catastrophic mistakes with graver consequences in the same day. That's what happens at the time of new technological adoptions when people are intensely focused on them--the standard has to be better than "better". Doesn't matter that the actual adoption of driving itself in the U.S. was bloody in the extreme, if you go back to the earliest integration of cars with horses and pedestrians.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 11:01:41 AM by Khaldun »
Malakili
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Reply #358 on: July 19, 2016, 07:57:56 AM

Any time these conversations come up, all I see is the resistance of fear. Fear of humans becoming irrelevant.

Well, we will be. Within our grandchildren's lifetime if things keep progressing at this rate. We're on the cusp of something amazing and it's fascinating and terrifying all at once.

As Rendakor says, humans have to do all that shit now and we're pretty garbage at it. We're not parallel processors. It's just that we have the capaicty to learn from experience and apply that in the future. A 16 year old is a shitty driver but has better reflexes. A 40 year old has more experience and decent reflexes still. An 80 year old has a lifetime on that 40 year old but can't move fast enough.  Learning machines will leave them all in the dust within a few days.  But that's a dream right now.

So yeah, all it has to be is better than that 16-25 year old demographic. That's not a hard target to hit.

I see this kind of thinking all the time and can't help but think that it entirely ignores how humans actually think about these kinds of topics. This isn't just a matter of the technology "being there." You have to convince people to relinquish control over their vehicles. That's going to be as much of a problem as getting the technology to work at whatever arbitrary standard you want to set. 

Khaldun is right that it has to be nearly perfect and the reason is that it's the same AI in every car (to an approximation at least). When an idiot drives a car into a tree you can say "Oh, that was an idiot, I wouldn't do that." When an AI drives into a tree, that's the same AI driving your car. Even if it happens incredibly rarely, there's a social and psychological difference here between people crashing their cars and the AI crashing a car. 

I think that a lot of very tech-oriented people are so immersed in it that they can't see how people wouldn't just totally embrace it. All that's left from their perspective is "fear." I think that's a terribly simplistic and frankly reductionist analysis of the issues in play here and ignores that how people experience the differences is an important factor in how these things are going to have to work to catch on.
Chimpy
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Reply #359 on: July 19, 2016, 08:48:50 AM

I was not saying I am a perfect driver or that autonomous cars are necessarily a bad thing.

My point about the weather thing is that everyone keeps predicting that robot cars will be in widespread use soon because Google has driven a lot of miles around placed that road conditions are consistent. Yet the very technologies they use to allow the car to know where it is going (cameras reading lane lines, radar, etc) have huge issues dealing with the kind of road conditions that come up in large swathes of the US and Europe.

Until they start to seriously address variable road conditions I can't see autonomous cars operating on normal roads getting a lot of uptake. Segregated roadways designed solely for autonomous vehicular traffic would be different, but we aren't likely to see that kind of massive infrastructure built since the private sector doesn't build infrastructure and the government (at least in the US) is broken and can't even keep existing roads in decent shape, much less build a whole new parallel infrastructure.

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Khaldun
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Reply #360 on: July 19, 2016, 11:10:10 AM

Basically, think of technological history this way:

a) a technology can be highly imperfect if it is adopted slowly, is voluntary at the start, and does not displace (at least at first) any actually existing technology. So, for example: computers and the Internet. People put up with something like early MS-DOS because they mostly didn't *have* to use a computer for many of the tasks we now use them for. I worked as a temp in an office while I was in graduate school back in the 1980s and they'd just bought a complicated new DOS machine to run some consumer surveys for their products using a scan-tron reader. They had no idea how to use it though, so they just kept doing it all by hand. I showed them how to do it and they moved over to the new system, but I could tell they'd like be back to hand-tabulating the first time it crashed or broke down, and that was not a big deal.

b) a technology can be decisively rejected if it turns out that actual implementation of it is highly expensive *and* failure-prone due to unanticipated design complexities despite the fact that the technology is highly anticipated and believed to be necessary. Nuclear power is a good example: a lot of nation-states put a lot of effort into adopting it, but the first generation or two of power plants just were not very good versions of the technology and even the better designs were very expensive to build.

c) a technology that replaces what people think of as an absolute core functionality in their everyday lives has to be better than better--regulators and consumers alike will place enormous burdens on the new technology at the stage of adoption even if there's good reason to think it's in good shape and ready for implementation. That's particularly true now, as compared to 60-80 years ago, when industry sometimes could push something new through via brute forcing it.
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Reply #361 on: July 19, 2016, 05:02:25 PM

Image recognition is already pretty good, per experience in a 2015 Cadillac, and we all know GM sucks balls.  These last few posts give me some ideas, though.  I've been thinking about how I could do something like Waze but use Watson as the back end, but I am probably thinking too small.  Also weather data.

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Malakili
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Reply #362 on: July 19, 2016, 06:29:33 PM

The real money is in robotic pokemon trainers that hang out at poke gyms and interact with people.
Merusk
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Reply #363 on: June 08, 2017, 09:42:58 PM

Just terrifying.. thanks IFL Science...

World's first BJ robot:
http://www.iflscience.com/technology/meet-the-worlds-first-adult-service-droid/

Oh, and Alphabet has agreed to sell Boston Dynamic to Softbank; a Japanese telecommunications firm.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/8/15766434/alphabet-google-boston-dynamics-softbank-sale-acquisition-robotics

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Tale
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Reply #364 on: June 09, 2017, 12:05:06 AM

Oh, and Alphabet has agreed to sell Boston Dynamic to Softbank; a Japanese telecommunications firm.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/8/15766434/alphabet-google-boston-dynamics-softbank-sale-acquisition-robotics

That's Masa, the guy who came to see newly-elected Trump and promised to spend $50 billion on the US and provide 50,000 jobs, and turns out to be using Saudi money.

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Cyrrex
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Reply #365 on: June 09, 2017, 12:36:42 AM

Saudi funded blow job robots?  Where do I sign!

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Chimpy
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Reply #366 on: June 09, 2017, 02:04:28 AM

Oh, and Alphabet has agreed to sell Boston Dynamic to Softbank; a Japanese telecommunications firm.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/8/15766434/alphabet-google-boston-dynamics-softbank-sale-acquisition-robotics

That's Masa, the guy who came to see newly-elected Trump and promised to spend $50 billion on the US and provide 50,000 jobs, and turns out to be using Saudi money.

That guy promised HUGE investment in network upgrades etc when Softbank bought Sprint a few years ago yet they have not really changed their plans/spending from what it was before he bought them. (They have made upgrades but they were already doing so). I take everything he says as pure bullshit at this point.

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
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