[ExI] self driving cars

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Fri May 18 15:03:04 UTC 2012

On Thu, May 17, 2012 at 7:45 AM, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, May 16, 2012 at 11:57 PM, Kelly Anderson <kellycoinguy at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Economics will push speeds faster if safety isn't an issue. Unless Al
>> Gore is in the white house, or OPEC starts throwing their weight
>> around ala 1973, I can't see a speed limit for fuel economy because
>> the overall economics is that the time of the car's occupant is more
>> valuable to the overall economy than the gasoline.
> True.  We rarely discuss a peak for the preciously limited resource Time.

Time is the most limited resource any of us has.  Though it has no
peak because we are in constant shortage of it. However, since time is
money, sometimes we will trade time for money (like a job) and we will
use extra time to save money (like running to two stores instead of
just one because of a sale)...

>> If all the data were known, there could be car pooling, larger
>> mini-van type cars for car poolers, etc. The best thing about pooling
>> cars like this is that you then have all the data you need to
>> facilitate real mass transit.
> You just said each occupant's time was more valuable than the fuel -

True. And in some cases, you'll want to ride alone.

> now you want me to wait for this machine to go out of my way to pick
> up other passengers?  Perhaps you weren't intending to trigger my
> negative association with 'carpooling' where the first unlucky
> participant has to be ready to go early enough to wait for every other
> participant.

I did mean car pooling in that sense, and it would make sense for some
people for some trips. It's a time vs. money choice you can make each
time if the system is flexible enough.

> I guess you meant drawing as-needed from a 'pool' of
> cars.

I meant that too, but separately.

> Mass transit is an equally poor name:  Are we hauling the
> masses as figurative terminology for what spike calls proles or
> discussing a physics problem of weight vs. volume?  Of course I know
> what the term means, I sometimes wonder how subtle inflections of
> meaning can bias usage long after the name has become ubiquitous.

I assume you are familiar with the coffee house argument for why
England became an industrial superpower. What if car pools became that
kind of social force? Design self driving cars with a round table
around which people sit. Then there would be the opportunity to meet
people by chance again. Something our society severely lacks at this
point. Maybe it will be seen as community building. Maybe you can hold
out to ride with people with similar interests or careers, or maybe
even the computer could be smart enough to say, "These two people
really should talk, I'll arrange a ride for them, and even propose a
topic for discussion"... it could be a really good thing.

>> I absolutely agree, until eventually some lawyer brings a class action
>> suit that ends all human driving except in the most exceptional
>> conditions. Sort of like how we go drive fast at the race track now.
> What if the self-drive software anticipates your maneuver and
> communicates it to your neighbors before you can act?  I imagine this
> traffic network is constantly broadcasting state (and capability) to
> surrounding cars to create ad-hoc traffic streams (each car is a
> router too, right?)

I'm sure that will be the case. Think of the smart car like your smart
phone. It will have an app store where you can download all kinds of
extra software to accomplish all kinds of things.

> The driver's profile may include more than the
> preference of seat and mirror positions; a heuristic on past behavior
> as well as time of day, present location, etc. and the car will
> probably know your mood well enough to predict your likelihood of
> stomping on the accelerator.  If the traffic system approves the
> human-initiated action, the car will allow it.  Those who avail
> themselves the luxury of dedicated personal vehicles can pay extra for
> prioritization of their desire over others - much as it is now, only
> it'll be a software feature rather than social/pack order.  (pull up
> to a 4-way intersection in an old beater vs newest luxury car - see
> who gets the right of way)

So are you proposing a kind of system where the human gets to think he
is driving, but the car is actually in charge to the extent of
avoiding accidents and such? That might be a nice transitional

>> The fate of the average prole has never been all that super, in
>> comparison to the successful... I see no reason for that to change in
>> the future. So when you say feed-lot, are you thinking soilient green
>> or something less horrid than that?
> I wasn't in that literal a mind.  Continuing with your economic value
> proposal... The average consumer is groomed via commercial
> advertising, memes, etc to support corporate product lines.  Soylent
> green isn't likely to be as valuable as a lifetime of purchase power
> each forced-fed consumer represents.  'depends on your perspective
> which is less horrid.

LOL... I suppose so. Soylent green never made any sense to me either.


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