Desperately trying to put the “auto” back into automobile in a flaccid attempt to put the relevance back into motoring.

From the holy logs, liberally sprinkled with adnotations holy water :

mitch_callahan: I just envision the future where Uberi is the mainstream, and it’s gonna suck so much balls, we’re waiting for the next thing. Their surge pricing is such a pain in the ass.ii That’s when I take a normal taxi and I’m stoked.
ben_vulpes: You’re not excited to own a fraction of a self-driving fleet ?

mitch_callahan: Do you mean some Tesla’s or some other fangled contraptions ?
ben_vulpes: Doesn’t matter whose. They will eventually have lower failure rates than humans.

mitch_callahan: I don’t know enough about the technology to comment TBH. From what I’ve seen from the Tesla cars, it looks amazing.

pete_d: Lol it’s a pipe-dream, the self-driving car, like colonising Mars.
mitch_callahan: The current tech is pretty good.iii

pete_d: Pretty good isn’t good enough !
mircea_popescu: You don’t understand the drivers involved. What will drive “self-driving” car adoption is not whether it objectively is better driven or not. Nobody gives a shit about that. Instead, what will drive it is the fact that if it isn’t driven by humans, then there’s no one to blame ! And if you get run over you can sue the company !111 this is the ideal morality for shithead generation : a) no ONE is to blame,iv and b) you ask “a representative of God himself” for “the whole world”.v

ben_vulpes: What is good enough? Turns out, actuaries make that call.
pete_d: A human driver is good enough.

ben_vulpes: Nope, whatever costs the insurance companies less. McDonaldsizing of driving. Americans drive so poorly they need robots to help.
mitch_callahan: I mean, this car gets over the air updates. That freaks me the fuck

pete_d: Lol whatever insurance company thinks they’re getting a deal by having some brogrammers handle situations “no one could’ve predicted” is going bust worse than AIG circa 2007.
ben_vulpes: Sure if you say so pete_d. Faster than real time trajectory analysis sure ain’t a thing.

pete_d: How are all those sensors going to work when your car’s dirty, when it’s snowing, when it’s hailing, etc.
ben_vulpes: How did humans ever drive with foggy windows indeed. And while drinking even. They’ll hurt someone I tell you.

pete_d: How well’s your fancy little futuremobile going to drive when one sensor gets knocked out, along with the warning signal that it’s knocked out, ever so conveniently, and it turns right into oncoming traffic ?
ben_vulpes: Just one ? You don’t want to propose a cascading failure ?

pete_d: Dude, the technology needed to make a self-driving car is not only incredibly complex, but super fragile.vii
mitch_callahan: Like a human who’s a little tired and had too many drinks ?

pete_d: Tired and drunk drivers are a thing, obviously, but isn’t it incredible how few mistakes they make, even so ?
mitch_callahan: They make few mistakes ?

pete_d: Ok, show me the daily piles of bodies at the morgue from all the sleepyheads who didn’t pull over for a coffee.viii
mitch_callahan: Lol. Likewise for Tesla’s driving themselves. The big thing that scares me with the Tesla is those over air updates.. who knows what’s coming through.ix

ben_vulpes: Perhaps if the world of 3 cars per American were to continue, there’d be an economic point to getting normies off the road. Entire US interstate system is a ridiculous boondoggle that’s going away, along with the mass-market car, and drivers who can’t handle an ambush.

pete_d: Anyways, the point stands that all the over-the-air updates and all the sensors and on-board computers in the world can’t compete with the cheapness and robustness of meatrobots. << This being the controlling point.x
ben_vulpes: Yes yes.

In the foreseeable future, if you don’t plan on literally hovering over the dumb “autopilot” thingxi like a helicopter parent with OCD,xii just waiting to save it when it goes wrong, then I’m afraid you’re better off just grabbing the helm from the get-go and saving yourself the anxiety.

Tesla, Audi, Google, and whoever else is filling your head with delusions of half-ways affordable, indirectly operated motorcars isn’t materially different from some tard preaching the benefits of a world without war and a global society without hatefactz. It’s a nice idea. And that’s all it is. No matter how you twist the narrative, the dream of sitting in the backseat, smoking a cigarette and reading Kant’s Critique of Pure Practical Reason is a pipe dream. Unless, that is, you plan on taking a taxi, an Uber, or hiring a chauffeur.

This having all been said, at the end of the day, Bitcoin sorta makes the whole conversation a moot point. So there’s that to consider.

___ ___ ___

Addendum (02/06/18) : There’s a lovely little piece making the rounds at the moment  called “AI Winter Is Well On Its Way” by Filip Piekniewski (archived) and it ties in really rather beautifully with my position from three friggin’ years ago that, no, self-driving cars aren’t about to take over the streets and that, yes, the problem is woefully more complex than commonly understood (as most things are, to be fair). Anyways, Piekniewski is a fellow lone wolf barking at the rocks, the difference being that he actually works in the field of AI and I’m but a humble homme d’affairs, so he’s definitely worth a read.

___ ___ ___

  1. Yes, the same Uber smartph0ne thingy that I tried last winter, with entertaining results.
  2. “Surge pricing” is this sorting mechanism that adjusts the price of an Uber cab based on demand. So when there’s a “tey-woh-wist” attack somewhere in the States, as there is basically every third day, and everyone and their dog wants to get the hell out of dodge all at once, prices go up.

    This is obviously seen as “unfair” and “racialist” by those who can barely afford bus fare and may suddenly find themselves with no other option but to use either public transport, one of those olde fashioned (and non-tech-savvy) taxicabs, or the two feet that God gave them. How hard life can be !

  3. And from what I’ve seen of Tesla’s “safe green future,” it’s not such a clear-cut winner, nor does Musk even claim that autonomous driving is happening anytime soon. Autopilot ≠ Autonomous !!! Ask airline pilots, who intervene in 90%* of take-offs and landings, how far we are from fully “self-driving” vehicles.

    ___ ___

    *Figure is from David Mindell, Frances and David Dibner Professor of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing (STS) as well as Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT.

  4. Specifically :

    Works exactly the way being fat works : yes you’re fat because of all the shit you ate, but you’re not eating it RIGHT NOW, while you are fat right now, so that’s a save! And yes you’re dressed like you don’t want men to ask before sticking it in, but that was back when you dressed, not right now!

    Insane as it may sound, that’s the “logic” involved.

  5. Specifically :

    She figures the value of one of the cattle is, for no reason whatsoever, “everything that exists”.

    Literally, the world, that’s what she thinks. Her dumbass son that she made broken (hey, do you know what leukemia correlates with ? Down syndrome.), her dumbass son that couldn’t make it, her dumbass son that failed the only true exam there is – to keep on breathing – is worth the world literally, the whole universe. Everything.

    Do not be fooled by the numbers she may spew, they reflect nothing to her. The woman does not have the general capacity to even understand what numbers are, or how they work, or why. Yet she confidently, Dunning-Krugerly relies on a firm if sorely misplaced, utterly misguided conviction that her son is worth everything that the other people, the people who know what numbers are, and how they work, and why, ever could be. All, together.

  6. As well it should ! Just look at what happened with Chrysler’s Uconnect system !!1
  7. Since I have a longer memory than most when it comes to technological fads in the automotive industry, I can tell you that this whole “autonomous” fluffery has more than a faint whiff of the “hybrid-electric” futurism that was being trumpeted as “inevitable” 5-10 years ago (if not 25 years ago). If the world had listened to Shai Agassi (of Better Place), the market would’ve already “tipped” and we’d all be driving battery-swappable golf carts instead of anchorless boats-on-wheels. But alas.

    Not that there won’t be eye-watering amounts of “R&D” “invested” into the area of “self-driving car” research, because of course there will be, but I fully expect that it will ultimately prove as fruitful as the “blockchain technology” investments that all these dickless bankers (who couldn’t not have Down syndrome) seem so intent on pursuing, which is to say that there will literally be more TED talks on YouTube about this shit than actual autonomous cars on the streets by the time the decade’s out, and quite possibly before the subsequent decade as well.

  8. Seriously, the cost of all the “public health promotion” billboards and TV ads advocating rest stops for tired drivers, never mind the cost of developing and implementing the “tiredness warning” systems in new cars (yes, this is a thing ! Mercedes calls theirs “Attention Assist” and they apparently spent a decade developing it), surely challenges the overall cost of the accidents, particularly given that, for the automotive engineers at least, their time is actually worth something. While public healthists claim whatever 15k deaths per year, as they do, unless those engineers are spending less than $100/pair of shoes * 15000 “lives” = $1`500`000, which is but one single (useful) automotive engineer’s time for a decade, then it’s a raw deal for humanity.

    So really, when you think about it, those public health guys gals are little more than a merry band of wreckers. But no one could’ve predicted that plankton would coalesce into the same amorphous blob on this continent, right ?

  9. Me thinks MC needs moar tinfoil on his hat, or just be done with it and buy une voiture classique, comme moi !
  10. Specifically :

    We are not currently able to produce an artificial dragonfly for the simple reason that we can’t reproduce its brain, that thing going through frames with such a devilish speed it renders the whole assemblage capable of catching mosquitoes in flight. Try this, by the way, catch mosquitoes while they fly around you, with your feet solidly anchored on the floor. From what I’ve seen, the average Joe manages in about a case of ten. With a little training you can do it with one hand, I manage about 60% of the time. Imagine you were doing this while flying through the room at a speed roughly equal to a hundred of your body lengths. Each second. It’s pure fantasy, we can’t think as fast as the dragonfly, and here’s the kicker : it uses just about two calories to do all this. Two calories a day. One tic-tac.

  11. Quite simply, AI isn’t up to the task of urban or rural motoring, or even, well, much of anything. To quote :

    Proper AI would be a Manhattan Project level of endeavour, the type only achievable by concentrating the wealth of a war-time global superpower with the mental faculties of the world’s brightest post-war minds ; those sharpened by technology, conflict, and a classical education. That, and time. Lots of time.

    So AI is not only struggling from a lack of sensible specification, it’s also fighting the thermodynamic inefficiency of creating artificial life compared to biological life. Mother Nature has been at this game a lot longer than we have, and in 9 months, plus another decade for training, she can produce a hearty little servant that will understand commands and be able to execute them reliably. And, thanks to the power of the decentralised factory that is the uterus and the decentralised practise facility that is the family unit, at scale too ! Isn’t life magical ?

  12. This just so happens to be how I interpret the kosher prohibition against mixing milk and meat : aside from the potential for indigestion, a more layered reading might equate milk with the mother and meat with the child. So, while it’s one thing to feed your child milk, it’s another to bathe (ie. smother) him in it. Thus, this “dietary” law may be seen instead to be a 6`000 year-old admonition not to be a helicopter parent. Neat huh ? (Or aren’t jooz the wackiest!) ?

19 thoughts on “Desperately trying to put the “auto” back into automobile in a flaccid attempt to put the relevance back into motoring.

  1. mh says:

    People still use (et al) to this day… and will continue to do so until they can’t anymore.

    I will refrain from putting my life into the hands of a “ developer” – thank you very much.

    • Pete D. says:

      Heh. I like this bc.i analogy because it calls into focus the key weak spot in the whole “autonomous” charade (as in the webwallet charade*) : the calibre of the people behind the scenes as well as their willingness to make compromises. You can have all the data you want from all the lasers and radar sensors you want, but for as long as you have code coolies taking that data and filtering it through their dumb heads via millions upon millions of lines in a vain attempt to capture all possible real-life driving scenarios, your robocar will be more of a death trap than it would be if you were behind the wheel, even if after 3 beers and an early morning job interview. There’s simply no accounting for the magnitudes of stupidity inherent in the types of coders that are currently being and will be deployed on this task, certainly not to the degree that one might feel safer in their hands (or in point of fact be safer in their hands) to the degree that a switch to “autonomous” driving would even be anywhere near +EV.

      This all being said, if all the cars on the road were to be instantaneously replaced with the best autonomous tech from the best minds on the planet, who’d be collected together for this sole purpose and given an unlimited budget of actual money (ie. Bitcoin), I suppose I could concede that accidents would be reduced, but at what cost would this come ? Probably one that would outweigh the cost of research, much less implementation, and any “in-between” scenario between all autonomous (ideal future) and no autonomous (today) cars is untenable for the simple reason that it’s likely to increase the number of accidents as the code coolies slowly but surely amass more real-world data.

      Any volunteers to be their guinea pigs ?
      ___ ___ ___

      *One might be inclined to view MPEx or BitBet as examples of webwallets that do work for the simple reason that the people behind the scenes are both uncompromising and rather smart indeed.

  2. mh says:

    Maybe accidents would drop, maybe not. There’s a lot of retarded people behind the wheels texting, putting on lipstick and what not. Mebbe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if retards could enter a retard selfdrive car.

    Anecdotally it’s the same type of people always crashing and the same type of people never crashing. A self-driving car is a walled garden after-all. So one day it’ll only drive you certain places, from home to work and only leisure driving in the weekend because climate change. Maybe Ben could use it to pick up food-coupons. Who knows.

    • Pete D. says:

      The issue with retards (there’s no such thing as retarded people, per se) isn’t so much that they’re behind the wheel, but that they exist longer than is strictly necessary. Horrific car accidents could well be used to cull such undesirables from the general population (leaving aside that some good men and women may also meet their maker too early in this manner), just as was the case 60 years ago, when getting behind the wheel of a car carried cachet because, as much as anything, it carried risk. But noooo… today it’s all safety first and #weizppl. Now every life is worth infinity billion dollars and it’s our collective duty to protect and prolong each and every one of them presently on earth, even if in doing so we completely fuck over the next two or three generations in our puerile attempts “to just,” etc.

  3. […] be mankind’s blood-soaked salvation in the way that autonomous cars could safely and quickly whisk you to work and back. Doesn’t mean that either is anywhere on […]


  5. […] :To tie this in to another domain, this is pretty well the same as having a car “drive itself,” as if this could lead to anything other than uncreative destruction. […]

  6. […] it up, it’s a thing. And unlike fully autonomous cars, it actually sorta works. Furthermore, using the auto-parking feature gives you some notion as to […]

  7. […] there are, as most everywhere else, automatic – it doesn’t also stand to reason that the death of the automobile for the common man is in anyway related, at least not anymore than your personal inability to find a date has anything […]

  8. Pete D. says:

    Autonomous driving is all fun and games until someone gets mothed or snowed on or into a light bit of curbing. Then you’re fucked.

  9. […] is, incidentally, the exact same reason that autonomous vehicles are nowhere on the horizon. AI is effectively in the same backwards-looking boat as regulation. […]

  10. […] can’t see gaps, be it in streams of knowledge or in streams of traffic. They can’t tell reflections in puddles from reflections in oncoming headlights because they […]

  11. […] for the good mod6, the Jewish mind is nothing if not a finder, seeker, and exploiter of multiple interpretations and loopholes. It’s what we’re trained to do from birth! Just like debating. So it was […]

  12. Pete D. says:

    Updated with Piekniewski piece.

  13. […] think that everyone’s life but yours is unimaginably perfect with nary a hiccup much less an autonomous car crash because that’s what you saw on social media hurr durr, it ain’t. It just ain’t. […]

  14. […] of life is lonely, which is why helicopter parents do their children such a cruel disservice. The best thing you can do for your children, after […]

  15. […] is it applied to the microprocessors-on-wheels that we’re still hilariously calling “cars” in the same way that we call mobile productivity/entertainment […]

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