[LMB] Light-flyers and groundcars

pouncer at aol.com pouncer at aol.com
Fri Apr 7 21:42:33 BST 2017


So, Uber and Google are in litigation over claims that
one has stolen proprietary guidance software system
for self-aware vehicles from the other.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-07/uber-to-waymo-we-aren-t-using-your-robocar-laser-beam-secrets

Which is a pretty SF-nal thing to be fighting about...

I am a little worried it may turn out like Kodak vs Polaroid,
which wound up wounding Kodak and failing to save
Polaroid from going the way of the buggywhip makers,
only a few years later. (Shortly followed by Kodak itself.)

I'm a LOT worried that if software guidance isn't perfected
in ground cars, first, the hope of "flying cars" is diminished to
infinitesimally minute portions. 

It's not so much that flyers will crash.  Fall out of the sky and
smack into the ground.  It's that flying machines will 
repeat the history of automobiles in the US.  Collisions, not
crashes,  between vehicles, and not of vehicles into fixed
objects. 

As I recall the myth, the first collision of two self-motivated or
"auto-mobile"  vehicles occurred when there were only five
such things on the continent -- and two were in the same State.
(Ohio?) and city. Arriving at the same crossroads, at the same time... 
Too good a story to check --  but consistent with comparable
myths that the first auto-mobile FATALITY involved a powered
car and a moving bicycle.  The point being that keeping
two moving things from moving into each other proved harder than
keeping a single moving thing (like a lightflyer)  from crashing into 
something stationary (like the side of a mountain.)

I don't necessary want robots that are smarter than I am. 
(though these days such a goal post seems easier to clear
than a decade back.) It's that I want an assistant that doesn't
get distracted, or bored, or angry, or misled by various forms
of optical illusion.   Hard enough on the ground, with visible lines 
signs and reflectors.  In the sky, with bigger craft leaving wake
turbulence as invisible mine fields for small craft in their wake...
Oh yeah,  digital assistance, please.  With a track record on 
the DIRT track, first, pretty please. 

So with that in mind, and obBujold -- how good a hacker do
you have to be,  to DISable the AI in a personal flying machine
to allow Aral-esque acrobatics?  Or fly the canyons, eyes wide
shut? 


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