Lion of the Blogosphere

Autonomous cars are coming!

There’s an article in Friday’s Wall Street Journal about autonomous cars. According to the article, you should be able to buy your own self-driving car sometime in the 2020s, maybe as early as 2020.

But the article was lacking in exploring how the world will change once self-driving cars are available to everyone.

(1) They shouldn’t really cost much more than regular cars, if they cost any more at all. We are just talking about a regular car plus a computer system, so maybe an extra thousand dollars when they first come out.

(2) Self-driving cars will be a lot safer than human-controlled cars. Human-controlled cars are involved in tens of thousands of fatalities each year in the United States alone, plus millions of non-fatal accidents. This means that eventually, maybe by the 2030s, driving a car yourself will become illegal. They will stop making cars with steering wheels, gas pedals, and other controls for humans to ensure that humans don’t try to drive without the computer.

(3) Self-driving cars will make owning your own car a lot more useful than it already is. That’s going make public transportation even less desirable.

(4) We are certainly not going to have to pay people to drive when vehicles can drive themselves. This means that anyone who makes a living driving a car, truck, bus or taxi will be out of work.

(5) The cost of a taxi-ride will decrease because you will only be paying for rental of the taxi and not for the driver’s salary. This will also put pressure on public transportation that adheres to a fixed route such as buses and subways.

* * *

Regarding the jobs that will be destroyed by autonomous vehicles, of course this technology will be a huge net benefit to society even though it will put people out of work.

But the problem that people refuse to even think about is what people should do to earn money in the future economy which will be able to create all the goods and robotic services we need and much more with very little human labor, and especially very little unskilled and semi-skilled labor.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

Posted in Robots, Technology

98 Responses

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  1. Gonna be a bitch when somebody (inevitably) hacks the system.

    peterike

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  2. #5 negates #3. While self-driving cars may make car ownership more useful, it also makes it less necessary. It would also lower the number of cars a given household needs. Car drives wife to work, then comes home and is available for husband’s use all day. Or vice-versa, of course.

    trumwill

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • Great point.

      Interesting to consider the privacy / freedom aspects of this though. In addition to the government reading your emails it will know where you are going and when. And if you’re wanted for questioning, the government can order your car to drive you to the police station.

      Dave Pinsen

      September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  3. This means that anyone who makes a living driving a car, truck, bus or taxi will be out of work.

    Not to worry.

    They’ll all just go into IBanking, BIGLAW, the tech startup industry, academia, and science.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • Nah, most of them will get government jobs.

      E. Rekshun

      September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

      • The Great White Father is kinda too broke to add more “employees” onto payroll.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

      • Technology has displaced workers since the start of the industrial revolution. I don’t pretend to know when the typical pattern will end (maybe it will soon, maybe it won’t, maybe it already has), but I do know that society seems to have adapted a lot better by figuring it out for ourselves, than letting the government do it.

        Some Guy

        September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  4. what’s interesting is that the lion’s goal of a mandatory income for all is already true, and becoming more true, only it is currently used by people with the lowest human capital. so we get a rapidly expanding proletariat while the talented continue to slave away because it isn’t prudent to have kids right now.

    lion of the lionosphere

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  5. services we need and much more with very little human labor, and especially very little unskilled and semi-skilled labor.

    Well, how about starting with deporting non-white Hispanic legal and illegal immigrants whose labor will be completely unneeded.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • Great idea. All you have to do is convince the politicians.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

      • All you have to do is convince the politicians.

        How many times do I have to tell you I’m prepared to accept millions of dollars in consulting fees to serve as Bloomberg’s eugenics and immigration policy adviser for his presidential campaign?

        By God with you, Lion.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

      • I envision great things ahead for eugenics if we can market it to soccer moms and the urban set, especially at the dawn of the reign of Bill “Sandinista” De Blasio. But it has to be translated to feminine language.

        So how do we get the Alison Benedikt’s on board? Maybe we should talk about how public school’s will become “good” if we only we sterilize the “bad” students when they’re still in high school. And sterilize “at risk parents”.

        But without targeting any specific race. Of course.

        Norplant is gentrification’s friend, Alison…

        The Undiscovered Jew

        September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

      • We can market sterilization to white homosexuals by telling them how sterilizing “at risk” citizens speeds along gentrification.

        There has to be a way to sell eugenics to SWPL populations, if they can believe blacks are as smart as whites then they can believe anything.

        But what should our angle be?

        The Undiscovered Jew

        September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

      • Then there’s racist Orthodox Jews like those in East Ramapo who keep trying to defund minority public schools. They’d be open to eugenics.

        But they’re a prole population.

        SWPLs desperate for public schools where their kids won’t be gang raped will need some other marketing schtick.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

      • Feminists;

        “At risk” teenage girls will respond better to “social interventions” if the social engineers, er, educators could be assured their patients won’t get knocked up in mid-treatment.

        Enter Norplant…

        The Undiscovered Jew

        September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

      • “Maybe we should talk about how public school’s will become “good” if we only we sterilize the “bad” students when they’re still in high school. And sterilize “at risk parents”.”

        It would be more humane to give everyone cybernetic implants and then we’d all be smart. People could exchange cortical nodes, instead of wedding rings, on the big day.

        islandmommy

        September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

      • How many times do I have to tell you I’m prepared to accept millions of dollars in consulting fees to serve as Bloomberg’s eugenics and immigration policy adviser for his presidential campaign

        Zilch! Convincing our bureaucrats to eliminate non-Asian minority immigration is a lot more difficult than convincing the Canadian gov’t to accept more Whites, including those from their southern borders.

        I’m moving up to Novia Scotia, if de Blasio shows signs of reverting NYC to its Dinkin days.

        JS

        September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

      • and what will you do in nova scotia?

        there is one HUGE advantage to a NAM underclass…not being a NAM. all my mom’s relatives who staid in AL have bigger houses, etc. than those who left.

        aren’t living standards better for white angelinos than for, say, burlington residents?

        the association of race and class is UNIQUE to america and the americas. visit glasgow sometime!

        Hendrik Verwoerd

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • Nova Scotia seems like a pretty nice place with low crime.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • Nova Scotia seems like a pretty nice place with low crime.

        I grew up there, and look at me! Lots more NAMs than you might think, though.

        Samson J.

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • Nevertheless, Nova Scotia is 93% white and 2% black.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • So basically it’s Maine without the Somalians?

        anon anon

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • “and what will you do in nova scotia?”

        Halifax has several industries which I’m fit to work in. Anything that is related to law, finance or accounting. There seems to be a substantial number of American expats in NS.

        JS

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • But will Canada let you immigrate there?

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • “Nevertheless, Nova Scotia is 93% white and 2% black”.

        The other decent place I could tolerate would be San Diego, with a populaton of 6% black and a relatively smaller Asian demographic when compared to the rest of California. But the laid back culture and the year round sunny weather of the Golden State gets to me as an New Yorker. Novia Scotia is also much closer to Europe, a place where I frequent often.

        JS

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • “But will Canada let you immigrate there?”

        I should be able to get in there with a student visa. Applying for grad school in one of the universities in Nova Scotia would be the 1st step.

        One NYC downgrades itself to a third world cesspool, reminiscent of the Dinkins’ era, it’s no longer about pursuing prestige and status. A person with a sane mind would just want to move out.

        JS

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

    • steve hsu’s bgi study (i’m a volunteer, though i’m an idiot) has been delayed. steve has said he is “not at liberty to discuss” the reasons, and now he’s at ucsf.

      the reasons, if i may guess: the study found NOTHING.

      i’m very much for eugenics, BUT serious eugenics would force something like scandinavian socialism, at least, as the ruling class would no longer have the excuse of “oh well, you know, those people…”

      economic inequality is a reflection, though very imperfect, of INNATE inequality, but this is NOT a justification for inequality; it is only an explanation. inequality is, per se, bad taste.

      nietzsche famously said, “socrates was rabble.”

      well i say, “nietzsche was rabble.”

      eugenics IS necessary to reduce inequality. but the prevailing ideology requires that a larger and larger fraction of human beings be born without the ability to “contribute” anything except the most menial labor, it requires an overclass of super smarties who can look down on the rest.

      this is very bad taste.

      Hendrik Verwoerd

      September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

      • Link? His blog shows nothing.

        Last I heard, he was promoted to Michigan State’s administration, VP for Research or something like that.

        Zoink

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

      • i meant he’s visiting ucsf. my guess is he’s come there in an attempt to find what he couldn’t find.

        Hendrik Verwoerd

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

  6. “But the problem that people refuse to even think about is what people should do to earn money in the future economy which will be able to create all the goods and robotic services we need and much more with very little human labor, and especially very little unskilled and semi-skilled labor.”

    Maybe it will be like Norway without the migrant Swedish workers.

    Dave Pinsen

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • it was mentioned by some self-avowed marxist, i forget his name, that the prevailing ideology assumes that there is no limit to economic growth. he pointed out the absurdity of this, as has lion.

      once one can afford a high quality diet and a merely 2000 sq feet house, can afford to send two children to private school and (perhaps) a stay at home wife, etc. how much is that?

      of course only a small minority can afford this, but still, at some point there is ONLY ONE outlet for economic growth and an outlet which morality requires be available to everyone, namely, longer life.

      and thus the limit of the fraction of a developed country’s economy devoted to medicine is 100%. it will never reach 100% obviously, but however high the percentage it can still increase.

      Hendrik Verwoerd

      September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • Quality private school will never be affordable to the average person because it’s a positional good.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • i thought a positional good was a good used for conspicuous consumption. i can afford it, you can’t.

        but the idea is that the best will always be scarce and so its price will rise forever?

        Hendrik Verwoerd

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

      • highest quality education may not be so positional.

        if the us were like ever other country in the world (except canada) test scores would be the sole criterion in admissions decisions.

        eton or harrow may be only worth the connections and may be even less likely to get one’s child into oxbridge as home schooling for a-levels.

        Hendrik Verwoerd

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

    • if only america’s mexicans were swedes. can you imagine?

      Hendrik Verwoerd

      September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • Yes. It’s called minnesota.

        lion of the lionosphere

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

  7. I wonder how the self-driving cars will avoid collisions with the millions of old-fashioned human-driven cars that will still be on the road for decades.

    Anyway, I’m still waiting for human jetpacks.

    E. Rekshun

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • The self-driving cars do the same thing as humans who drive cars – they observe the car’s position within the environment, forecast it and adjust controls accordingly. In that way, the presence of human-driven cars is not going to be any different.

      The real difference is how robust the technology is. Basically, unless self-driving cars can beat humans on F1 and Nascar tracks with 100% reliability, the technology is very, very unsafe. And I doubt very much that this will actually happen by 2020 because emulating human driving is a lot more difficult that teaching computer how to play chess.

      md

      September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

      • The tech would be very robust if ALL cars in the system are self driving. the issue is mixing self-driving and non-self driving cars on the road. If all cars are self driving, then they can communicate with each other and ‘forecast’ quite easily

        uatu

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

  8. I am sure people will try on purpose to get rear-ended by a self driven car, especially an empty one. The moral problem goes from possible homicide to mere fraud. On the one hand, you have this poor schmuck who is injured and on the other hand, you have a driverless thing controlled by a corporation. Get that in front of a jury. Or will juries be automated too?

    Dan

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  9. I hate to drive, and I sorely miss Manhattan and my life there, but everybody I talk to out here claims to love to drive. People are going to fight for the right to drive, maybe as hard as they fight for the right to own guns.

    Mchokumchild

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • everybody I talk to out here claims to love to drive. People are going to fight for the right to drive, maybe as hard as they fight for the right to own guns.

      I agree. And I guess if I lived in New York or some other big city, I wouldn’t want to fight traffic either, but it’s way different to drive in the country.

      Speaking of traffic, I read the book Traffic a while ago, and while it was otherwise fairly forgettable, one of the things in it that struck me was a description of a survey that had been done about commute times. It turned out that (according to this survey) people’s preferred commute was not zero minutes, or some other negligible amount, but 20 minutes – because that gave them time to chill out before or after the work day. I can’t say I disagree with that.

      Samson J.

      September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • Driving is great on nice sunny days without heavy traffic.

      Zoink

      September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

      • not really, it still blows with radar cameras and speed traps. even in small towns it sucks because enforcement for speeding is a huge source of departmental revenue.

        uatu

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

    • Again, if the suburbs are able to transform themselves into vibrant towns with an efficient public transit system, places such as NYC would be less expensive.

      Only insanely boring individuals would enjoy living in a suburban sprawl. Asians make the perfect demographic for the suburbs because they are your typical beta types.

      It never ceases to amaze me how people are able to wake up 5-6 in the morning, especially in the outlying areas of NYC and drive through the rush hour into the city. It’s like asking for a death sentence!

      JS

      September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

  10. “But the problem that people refuse to even think about is what people should do to earn money in the future economy which will be able to create all the goods and robotic services we need and much more with very little human labor, and especially very little unskilled and semi-skilled labor.”

    Isn’t the question about what people are going to do? Most people aren’t cut out for self actualization. Mankind is disfunctional without work.

    Prole

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  11. “(1) They shouldn’t really cost much more than regular cars, if they cost any more at all. We are just talking about a regular car plus a computer system, so maybe an extra thousand dollars when they first come out.”

    Heh. That reminds me of a former boss who was overly fond of saying “Its only software. How much could it cost?”

    I’m wondering if an extra thousand dollars per unit would cover liability costs. How much do autopilot systems cost per aircraft? My thought is that an “autopilot” system for an automobile would be more complicated (read costlier) than one for an airplane. Over time, I see the cost going well below $1000 bucks, but that is going to take time.

    Polentone

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  12. I can’t wait. Those cars should be on the market about the time I hit retirement age. I’ll be able to drink in bars again instead of drinking at home, and when I get older and lose my ability to drive, I can still keep my independence. Right now, when the oldsters can no longer drive they either have to go to assisted living or move in with the kids.

    Mike

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • Right now, when the oldsters can no longer drive they either have to go to assisted living or move in with the kids.

      This is the only upside that I see.

      Samson J.

      September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • Yep, came here to remark that it should bring back the public drinking culture that MADD and strict DUI laws have eroded. Braukellers in Germantown.

      Bert Derpski

      October 1, 2013 at EDT pm

  13. Autonomy implies consciousness or social consciousness. I think automated might be a better term

    I watched a documentary about this once and the general consensus was that vehicle automation would burden manufacturers with too much liability and thus it would never happened.

    They did conclude that partial automation might one day transpire.

    islandmommy

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  14. […] of the Blogosphere just wrote about autonomous cars, and I remembered that I have much to say about […]

  15. America doesn’t need anymore cars. Cities and towns needs to be pedestrian friendly. Public mass transit will save money on gas. Get rid of the suburban wastelands and our car culture where people drive a distance to get something. How’s Los Angeles working out for you?

    JS

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • I have always found people who want cities to be pedestrian friendly to have few, if any, children. Day care, schools, shopping are difficult issues when you have children and no care. It is one of the marks of being parole in the U.S. to have to get on teh bus with your child.

      Also, if one is laid off from your job, how many people are going to limit their job search to the areas where they can bike or walk. I would guess that very few people would. Pedestrian based lifestyle assumes that one never changes jobs or is laid off.

      superdestroyer

      September 30, 2013 at EDT am

    • “Suburban wastelands?” The suburbs are still where people want to live. They offer a lifestyle for a middle class family far superior to what’s offered in urban cores. If you are a single hipster, very rich, or very poor, the cities are great, but it’s a terrible place to try to raise kids, and people choose not to.

      Mike

      September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • They are popular, but hardly that popular. People have always wanted more space, proximity to services, convenience, and fast commuting times. All 4 are expensive. Suburbs typically only provided 3 of the 4. Some smaller cites, like the one I live in, are striving for a design balance of all 4. That will take time. It’s the schools that make the sale. It’s expensive to raise a child in the city. On top of that American cites are becoming more and more inhospitable to a family lifestyle. I mean family in the true sense of the term, not two hyper individualist parents and a kid who needs someone else to “care” for them so mommy and daddy can both status seek and have a career.

        bikes, real freedom in action

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • “People have always wanted more space, proximity to services, convenience, and fast commuting times. All 4 are expensive”.

        This is the reason as to why cities are expensive. There’s a demand for people of wanting conveniences and proximity to goods and services.

        If the suburbs could replicate the cities with their conveniences, places such as NYC would take a nosedive in real estate prices.

        Going forward, with the younger generation, the suburbs are unremarkable, and raising kids in these boring outlying areas seems to be a form of an arrested development.

        JS

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

    • “Get rid of the suburban wastelands”

      For the perpetual adolescent maybe.

      Prole

      September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • “It’s only teenage wasteland!”

        E. Rekshun

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

  16. We need to start selling long-term birth control to the masses, especially the poor masses. In the future, most low-skilled labor will be automated, so there will be a huge unemployed class of people if we don’t start making changes now. Publicly funded long-term birth control is essential to cutting down on the number of poor people.

    Unfortunately, the GOP is completely out of touch on this issue. The idiot bible thumpers in the GOP are probably never going to support this idea, so the best hope is that this idea become popular in the Democratic party. Free birth control (especially long-term birth control) could easily be sold as supporting women’s rights. We just need the GOP to get out of the way.

    Jay

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • The GOP’ers who are against abortion and birth control know that such programs will be used against them.

      map

      September 30, 2013 at EDT am

    • Americas TFR is 2.06 which is perfectly acceptable.

      Knoxy

      September 30, 2013 at EDT am

    • Hey Sandra Fluke, free or damn-near-free birth control is already available “to the masses.” NAMs have little bastard babies because they want them, not because they can’t figure out where babies come from or how to stop it from happening. Asian and Arab immigrants have four and five kids because they want four and five kids.

      peterike

      September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • Actually, U.S. black birthrate is the lowest that it has ever been. Abortion has helped.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • “NAMs have little bastard babies because they want them…”

        Actually, I think it’s mostly because they lack impulse control and future time orientation and because condoms are less pleasurable than raw.

        E. Rekshun

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

      • If you are a fat and ugly teen girl with low IQ and thus no career prospects, you WANT to get pregnant to have a child to keep you company thru life.

        CamelCaseRob

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

  17. 3. is probably false. I don’t own a car, but subscribe to Car2Go, as I don’t drive everyday and make mostly short in-town trips. If they drove themselves, I’d have even less of a need to own one. Current services like Getaround allow vehicle owners to rent out their own vehicles while they aren’t using them. Such a service as applied to automatic cars would allow owners to relinquish them for automatic pickup of non-car-owning subscribers when they themselves aren’t using them. Whether it would make economic sense to own one or to subscribe to a service would probably depend upon vehicle miles traveled per month.

    anon666

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  18. If the government was actually serious about banning things that are bad for you these days, we would see the moves toward the prohibition of marijuana and unhealthy sex practices for example. Trends are for the law to celebrate both.

    Mayor Bloomberg tried to make it harder to consume 1000 ounces of soda all at once and he was rigorously smacked down. Because you can’t take away our FREEDOM to be morbidly obese.

    Here are some reasons why I don’t think driverless cars will ever be forced on the people:

    (1) I don’t think the car insurance industry is even motivated to have a zero accident world. As long as they can price the risk, they can make money. If risk goes to zero, they are out of business. So count them on the side of ‘driver freedom’ ™.

    (2) People love to drive. That’s why people get huge engines and noisy exhausts and spinny hubcaps. That’s why every car commercial in the last decade has shown the fun of driving that particular car, racing through traffic or on curvy mountain roads.

    (3) The auto industry has zero interest in making consumer cars dull, which is what they would be if they all accelerated and stopped and turned in exactly the same way. People pay up for all the driving features that define a performance car. That is where all the profit is for automakers.

    (4) There are cars on the road from 50 and 100 years ago. Are you going to ban all older cars? Rich people collect those things. Are you going to buy poor people a new car that drives itself to replace the old clunker they have? Even ‘cash for clunkers’ couldn’t force old cars off the road and it was offered when Obama still could push expensive new ideas.

    Dan

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • I thought it was already settled that automatic cars will be able to coexist with non-automatic ones.

      CamelCaseRob

      September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

  19. Every day, “Red Barchetta” seems more prophetic.

    Gilbert Ratchet

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  20. Wonder what 4th Amendment implications it will have when these things violate zero traffic laws for cops to pull them over for, especially with no one inside.

    Also, I don’t think human driving will be made illegal, just that it will become harder to get a license and that manual transmission vehicles will make a comeback because the majority of people who will still drive cars in 20 years will be hobbyists.

    Bilbo Baggins

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  21. I don’t believe these autonomous cars will catch on. People like to feel in control, especially on snowy, mountainous highways. You think anyone wants giant trucks out on the highways with no drivers? I can see a lot of robotic safety features becoming popular, maybe even some sort of autopilot that can be engaged at times. (some cars already have cruise control). But not cars that drive by themselves. That’s crazy. Planes can fly on autopilot because their is not much they can run into up there.

    Melykin

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  22. I see it as probably a negative for employment but I am not nearly as pessimistic as you are about employment. I know an older person who gave up driving a few years ago. He doesn’t go to the coffee shops or restaurants nearly as often has he used to. Basically, that economic activity is lost. There must be millions of people outside of the big cities who fit this description. I see more economic activity and more movement if the self piloting cars take off. How many people stay at home because their vehicle isn’t made for winter driving even though they would like to go out on the town.? If this stuff works, youth insurance should drop substantially and do you think they are going to save that money? Someone, I assume, is going to have to clean these self driving cars. Could you imagine the outrage if there was prole residue in the mighty Lion’s taxi?

    mark

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • Robot janitors will clean the cars.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

      • We already have those. They are called unskilled immigrants.

        Naked Raygun

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

  23. I remember hearing something about flying cars being just around the corner too. The manufacturer liability for these things will be huge, as the car and it’s controlling AI would take the blame for any injuries caused. A human driver would know enough to stop upon seeing a ball roll across the road (as this would imply the strong possibility of a child following said ball), while a simple embedded system would draw no such inference (and might run over this kid approaching at a 90 deg. angle without enough time to stop). Closed systems like interstates, where such variables could be eliminated, would work much better than chaotic, pedestrian rich, urban streets.

    Sanjuro

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • That’s what I was going to say. Automated driving might well happen on interstates where things are predictable (to an extent). But no way will it work in urban driving where you can’t count on pedestrians obeying traffic signals, where bikes are in the mix, etc.

      Still, making the long-haul part of a trip automated would be pretty awesome. Driving is otherwise such a total waste of time that being able to read or sleep away several highway hours would be a great thing.

      peterike

      September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • Truly autonomous cars will be be completely self-driving even in cities, that’s the goal they are shooting for. We are on the verge of it now, so one only needs to imagine evolutionary improvements in computing power and algorithms.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • When cars drive themselves, pedestrians will obey signals. Pedestrians jaywalk because they know their fellow humans will brake for them.

        radicaldesi

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • “When cars drive themselves, pedestrians will obey signals.”

        Gonna be one heck of a breaking in period. I remain deeply skeptical, but hey, I’ll be dead by then anyway.

        peterike

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

      • Yes, the pedestrians will have to learn, or evolution will finally catch up with them. I am sick of the peds who think they own the road. In some parts of the world running them over is not illegal.

        Colmainen

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

      • @Colmainen – And I’m sick of automobile drivers who think they own the road. If things favor pedestrians too much, drivers can always choose to be pedestrians. The reverse is not always possible.

        Kyo

        October 1, 2013 at EDT pm

  24. Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s otherwise pretty astute book Antifragile really got it wrong where he states that a taxi driver has a safer career than a bank clerk.

    One point you don’t mention that was briefly touched on in the WSJ article is that autonomous cars would effectively end all privacy related to where you travel. This is already happening to some extent, although not with my ’99 GMC. I guess you can file this under “no privacy in the future” but it is something to think about.

    Jokah Macpherson

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  25. The lobby of all these drivers are strong enough. Also few people want to give up the illusion of controlling one’s destiny while behind the wheel.

    At most it will be as popular as today’s hybrids. It will be tried by some, and probably forced on older or handicapped drivers with subsidies.

    Would the rich heir driving a lamborghini want to give up his vehicle’s control to some remote computer? That answers this question.

    colmainen

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  26. “That’s going make public transportation even less desirable.”

    I’ve got a weird story about that.

    My immediate managers at PDX’s largest home-grown insurer, both of whom made well into 6 figs 15 years ago and both of whom bought the re-issue of the vw bug in cash, rode the bus to and from work even though parking was only $7 a day and the bus took twice as long. one of them may have been avoiding his wife, but the other wasn’t married. maybe they were what stillman called “public transportation snobs”, but i doubt it.

    my dad’s life was much like that of stillman’s metropolitan. class in america is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

    Hendrik Verwoerd

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  27. “But the problem that people refuse to even think about is what people should do to earn money in the future economy which will be able to create all the goods and robotic services we need and much more with very little human labor, and especially very little unskilled and semi-skilled labor.”

    am i engels to to your marx lion or do you actually read your commenters? so many of my comments you’ve had posts almost identical, so to (badly) speak.

    one point you might make, even though you are a programmer/product manager:

    the g-loadings of the the subtests of a battery of tests (an iq test) vary from one population to another, AND at any one time (in the materio-technical-politcal development of man) there is no reason to expect that those with the highest g-scores (which are determined by the population) will be EXACTLY those who find getting along in the world easiest. vocab is the most g-loaded and most reliable subtest for both the WISC and the WAIS, yet there are technical savants who couldn’t “talk their way out of a paper bag” and great writers who barely make a living.

    Hendrik Verwoerd

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

  28. They will stop making cars with steering wheels, gas pedals, and other controls for humans to ensure that humans don’t try to drive without the computer.

    I don’t know about this. Where I used to live there was a little sort of park where I would sometimes take my truck off-roading after work, to relax a bit. This would not work with a self-driven vehicle. Your theory here isn’t totally implausible, but it doesn’t account for scenarios like mine.

    Samson J.

    September 29, 2013 at EDT pm

    • Is off-roading prole?

      E. Rekshun

      September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • Of course it is. Prole: it’s a better way!

        Samson J.

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

  29. “This means that eventually, maybe by the 2030s, driving a car yourself will become illegal. They will stop making cars with steering wheels, gas pedals, and other controls for humans to ensure that humans don’t try to drive without the computer.”

    Automated cars will be awesome in a lot of ways, but not being able to drive a car by yourself will be a huge letdown. In today’s America, being a man means having a driver’s license and not being a virgin. There are few things that will make you feel like a man like driving around on a road trip with a pretty girl in the passenger’s seat. Advancing technology benefits human beings in so many ways, but it also leaves them ever more androgynous and alienated from the vital pleasures of life.

    Sid

    September 30, 2013 at EDT am

    • I think most guys lose their virginity before getting a driver’s license, so the driver’s license is no longer associated with manhood.

      radicaldesi

      September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • I think you think wrong.

        CamelCaseRob

        September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

  30. I bike commute as much as possible, so does my wife. We hate driving. That’s where we avoid a lot of the hassles ands costs of living in the city. As a matter of fact, bikes can and do supplement several common commuting needs like short convenience trips and trips to friend’s places. I’ve always wondered why conservative types didn’t catch onto this? Suburbs would be a great place for bikes if everyone who lived there actually took it seriously instead of thinking bikes are only for recreational activity; therefore they should be confined to recreational spaces. I’m thinking they are slaves to the status quo bias, roads are car exclusive.

    Automated traffic will be a god send to people like us. So far most people can’t seem to handle the simple skill of being conscientious of others on the road, especially bikers. The day cars drive themselves is the day poor behavior stays inside the car. At that point, my wife and I will still have to deal with losers screaming “get off the road!” out of their window but we won’t have to worry about them swerving at us because the automated car won’t let them. Also at that point, many hold outs who presently won’t bike commute because of this behavior will finally be able to trust roadways as a safe place to bike commute.

    bikes, real freedom in action

    September 30, 2013 at EDT am

    • I don’t like bicycling.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 30, 2013 at EDT am

      • Bicycling is fun. Maybe you have to bike outside of NYC.

        radicaldesi

        September 30, 2013 at EDT am

    • I like bicycling, but it’s too dangerous in most areas. I wish there were better networks of bike trails and lanes. I hope your health and life insurance is paid up.

      E. Rekshun

      September 30, 2013 at EDT pm

  31. It would be interesting to see a Google + Tesla pairing of brains and machine.

    L

    September 30, 2013 at EDT am

  32. Best thing about driverless cars finally becoming a reality: people who can’t drive will no longer be the barely employable second-class citizens that post-WWII American society has turned them into.

    Back in the age of the horse, there was no licensing system, so someone with impaired vision (or some other minor handicap) could get right on a horse and ride as carefully as he could. Not one single job or residence in the USA was dependent on automobile ownership.

    Even immediately after the war, when factory jobs were still plentiful, someone who couldn’t drive could just buy a house within walking distance of the factory or plant where he knew he could stay employed until retirement. And of course the cities were still livable places for people of all races, with much less crime than now.

    Then, starting in the ’80s and ’90s, the transition to a service economy also meant companies relocating their offices with greater frequency than before. Buying a house half a mile from your office isn’t much good if you get laid off, obviously, but also if your office moves even a few miles in any direction. And your employer might just fire you if you can’t get to the new office. Zero job security.

    And today more than two-thirds of all the jobs in America have no transit access.

    Most other handicaps would garner public sympathy at least, if not mandatory installation of special ramps or bathrooms or what-have-you in your office. The ones that prevent driving, on the other hand, go almost completely unnoticed.

    Otherwise-middle-class people who can’t drive cars are in perhaps the worst situation they’ve been in at any point in American history. I can’t wait for driverless cars to finally open up to these people the world of opportunity that has been denied to them for so long. The elderly in particular should be ecstatic. Maybe the huge mass of baby boomers can make this happen as they lose their eyesight and reflexes.

    Kyo

    October 1, 2013 at EDT pm


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