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January 18, 2013

Comments

Mark Bahner

Hi Chaeremon,

You write, "Computerized control of transportation always was and always is possible, wanted and in use. Yet this field of study is Operations Research and not artificial intelligence. Outside of your country, there are so many computerized transportation control systems, and each is patented..."

What I'm speaking of is computerized control of automobiles, trucks, and buses. Google now has cars that are completely driven by computers. There is a human sitting at the wheel, but the human does not touch the wheel, the accelerator or the brake:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/science/10google.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2402380,00.asp

The Google cars are not mass-produced, but most people expect mass-produced automobiles capable of fully computerized control (the driver never needs to touch the wheel, the brake, or the accelerator) within approximately one decade (i.e., before 2023):

http://www.forbes.com/sites/eco-nomics/2012/09/25/self-driving-cars-will-take-over-by-2040/

Chaeremon

Hi Mark,

You write "artificial intelligence is going to have a huge impact on transportation"

Unfortunately artificial intelligence is just words on paper, and can never fulfil any promise. In particular, what you have not put in advance INTO the AI system will never, ever emerge sensationally (look here: invisible clothes, "it" thinks!). And every single case which was reported as success has, in real world scenarios, always suffered from the Fallacy of Small [episodic] Samples, so small that interpretation is dead easy for courted investors (and of course the media).

Alas, someone who wants to argue against my statement is cordially invited to solve the following problem first, by computers (with or without artificial intelligence):

- http://www.claymath.org/millennium/P_vs_NP/

thereafter you will have my fullest attention. As an insider and professional, all that I have around me are disastrously failed AI projects and the ever growing list of newly discovered unsolvable AI problems. My prediction is, that Cold Fusion will be realized long, very long, before artificial intelligence is 1 ct more worth than just words on paper.

But I'm not here for bashing. Computerized control of transportation always was and always is possible, wanted and in use. Yet this field of study is Operations Research and not artificial intelligence. Outside of your country, there are so many computerized transportation control systems, and each is patented $$$. Asking for research funds and putting the project description into the invisible clothes of artificial intelligence is just the usual attempt of getting rich and famous fast. You have written about this psychopathic way of 'science' in use by so many climate "research" projects. Ah, and the amount of AI to get space station ISS up, running and supplied is zero, zip, nothing, nil.

Douglass Holmes

Certainly, early adopters of the computer driven cars would be in large cities where people are used to public transportation, so they are used to the idea of riding in a vehicle that doesn't belong to them. The other, obvious early adopters will be the elderly. Currently, when family or the community force an elderly person to give up driving, it means the end of independence for that person. If computer driven cars are available, allowing people to retain their independence when they give up driving, then we could quickly see a large portion of the aging population give up private car ownership. This could accelerate the process; when younger folks see the advantages of giving up control of their vehicles, they become more likely to give up theirs.

Mark Bahner

Hi Douglass,

You write, "In order for these predictions to come true, there must be a demand for the changes. I believe that too many people WANT to drive their cars. When the weather gets nice, I'll be riding to work on my motorcycle, because I want to, not because I have to."

I think a significant majority of people will demand that incompetent human drivers get off the road, when they see how good computers are. I think it's possible that a lane on a few highways might be left for human drivers, or that human drivers might be allowed to drive on relatively deserted roads out in rural areas. But I don't think people will accept being slowed down by human drivers. For example, it takes me about 20 minutes to get to work, because of traffic lights and stop signs. If my computer-driven car could go through all those intersections without even slowing down, I wouldn't accept that I would have to stop, just because some selfish humans wanted to drive. Or imagine people commuting into NYC from CT or the suburbs. If they could go 80+ mph all the way to and from work, they'd never give that up for the sake of others who wanted to drive.

You also write, "However, your vision is really just a more efficient version of public transportation -..."

In some ways, yes. But in other ways, no. I still think a lot of people will be riding alone. It's just that their cars will be shrunk down significantly, and they won't own their cars. For instance, you mention your motorcycle. I'd ride in a tiny car (such as a Smart car) if I knew I would never crash. In a computer-driven-vehicle world, I would be certain that the car never would crash, so I wouldn't mind if it was barely bigger than my body (i.e. no protection in the front, rear, or sides).

Douglass Holmes

In order for these predictions to come true, there must be a demand for the changes. I believe that too many people WANT to drive their cars. When the weather gets nice, I'll be riding to work on my motorcycle, because I want to, not because I have to. Also, too many people desire their own space, which an automobile provides. In fact, for many people, their automobile is more important than their home. Many men feel that their car is more "theirs" than what little space they have at home.
Granted, it is possible that private car ownership may become so expensive as to force people to use these computerized fleet cars. However, your vision is really just a more efficient version of public transportation - and even in cities where public transportation is pretty good, people still drive their own cars.

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