walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

People confuse me

I was thinking about driverless cars, and why they seem to inspire so much naked and unjustified belief in venues that ought to be treating them as marginally more respectable than flying cars or jetpacks (all of which sort of exist, and would be kind of exciting, but are so insanely problematic as to be, in my opinion, easy to continue to ignore as a real product category for a while yet). At the same time, the ebook transition was characterized by wild and unrelenting disbelief and mockery, even as the product was widely deployed and in the process decimating an ancient and respected industry. For that matter, people keep predicting that Apple/iPhones/iPads are going to die a pitiful death, Real Soon Now. The threat varies, but it's always gonna wipe Apple/iPhones/iPads off the market.

[ETA: As long as I'm making fun of self-driving/driverless car coverage, I'm trying to find any speculation about driverless cars and lightning strikes. Assuming you are in a "normal" car -- not all carbon fiber, with a driver, etc. -- lightning strikes are very survivable, but they tend to toast the electronics in the car. One wonders about the implications for selfdriving/autonomous/driverless cars. There are a few of these incidents a year, at least, in the US.]

If all the coverage was Ain't Gonna Happen, or all the coverage was Tomorrow! the world of the Jetsons' is gonna be here Tomorrow! Day after next at the VERY LATEST! -- either one would be weird, but having a combination of the two just makes me go, I bet there's some kind of human factor involved that I am not getting.

Any input welcome, at this point.

[ETA: An unusually good response to the Driverless Will Be Safer argument. http://www.driverlesstransportation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/UMTRI-2015-2.pdf The authors missed a couple things -- temporary signals, for example -- and really missed an opportunity to dig into a particular case that no one ever touches -- hitting the ped who does something the ped strictly speaking should not have done, but which in no way mitigates the driver's responsibility if it is a kid chasing a ball or someone misunderstanding a signal cycle or a horde of teenagers or whatever. You're not supposed to hit them, and if you see them on the side of the road/at the intersection, you are expected to be ready.]

[Here's Google showing vid of its car playing nicely with a spandex clad adult cyclist. http://www.buzzfeed.com/charliewarzel/new-footage-shows-how-googles-self-driving-cars-handle-real#.unADkxjNM I want to know what happens when the goog's car is behind a family composed of one adult with a child on a surrey bike or in a bike seat, and a second, somewhat older but still elementary school aged child behind. Good luck!]

[Make smartphones talk to cars to get them to slow down? Intriguing. . . http://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmuller/2014/09/11/baby-steps-toward-driverless-cars-deliver-huge-leaps-in-safety/]

ETA: Similarly, this article at BI compares TransferWise to Hawala (noting that Quartz and others have done so before) and commenters drag in other religious communities -- but no one can bring themselves to point out that TransferWise is at least as closely related to bills of exchange in our own history as hawala. Maybe that's because TransferWise knows who their market it better than I do?

Ooops, here's the link:

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