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Sharing the road with an algorithm

Google self-driving car

The concept of self-driving cars sounds wonderful until certain realities are examined. What if four cars come to a four-way stop at the same time and two of them are driverless? Will the driverless cars know the first car at the intersection has the right of way and all cars are supposed to yield to cars on their right? Further, it is customary to make eye contact in such situations. Obviously, that’s not possible with self-driving cars. What if another driver has their turn signal on accidentally and instead goes straight as you enter the intersections when you assume he’s turning? I’m not saying human drivers will always handle this well. However, I’m more skeptical about driverless cars doing so. Will they pull over automatically when an emergency vehicle is coming with siren on? Will it not pull over if an emergency vehicle is coming the other way on a divided highway?

Driverless cars in many instances will be useful and helpful. However, driving encompasses all sorts of rules, some unspoken. Can AI handle that well? This is a separate issue from AI-enhancements in cars with drivers will put on the brakes if it senses you are about to hit the car in front of you. Such technology already has saved lives.

However:

This whole thing seems like a recipe for disaster. And, I agree with Adam: there’s no way it’s going to work. I mean, it’s 2015 and my bluetooth still doesn’t work half the time. Why would I ever believe they can make a full car integrate into the modern traffic system.

And, let’s not kid ourselves. We all know what this is about. The utopian future that Google dreams about is one where we all use these driverless cars in Uber fashion. And, then, they can pump out advertisements to us over in-car media as we ride. That’s the ultimate goal: Ad’s. As always.

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