HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

 

What's a few mangled pedestrians?

by Tom Sullivan


Photo by Dllu, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons..

David Dayen reminded us yesterday that while predicting how autonomous machines will act is still a crapshoot, predicting how another human invention, corporations, will behave is not. Over the holidays, Uber was playing in traffic with its autonomous test vehicles (with human co-pilots). Dayen writes, "The cars were almost immediately caught running red lights and stop signs and barely missing pedestrians..." After the California DMV and state Attorney General Kamala Harris demanded the tests stop, Uber refused, citing “an important issue of principle”.

The Guardian reported two weeks ago:

Uber’s open defiance of California regulators marks the latest case of a “sharing economy” corporation ignoring government under the guise of “disruption” and “innovation”. Uber has long claimed that it is a technology “platform” and not a transportation company and thus does not have to classify its drivers as employees or follow traditional taxicab regulations.

That strategy has resulted in more than 70 lawsuits in federal courts and hefty settlements, along with claims from opponents that the company is abusing workers’ rights and failing to ensure the safety of riders.
As a cyclist before the Tour de France reached into American living rooms, I got used to having drivers in passing cars scream, throw objects, and run me off the road for impeding their God-given right to proceed with all the fleetness their steel steeds could muster. Uber's not being so rude. Uber believes it has a right to be an asshole because profit.

Dayen continues:
Days later, Uber acknowledged that the vehicles have a problem with unsafe turns across bike lanes, something they knew in pre-launch tests before placing the cars on roadways with lots of bikes, like in San Francisco. It must have been an important principle or something. Eventually, Uber bugged out of San Francisco after the DMV revoked registration on all its vehicles. But don’t weep for Uber: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey welcomed them into the state for a pilot project in Phoenix.
Sure, humans kill 35,000 people a year with their cars, but if we want a reliable autonomous system, the argument goes, only real-world testing will suffice. What's a few mangled pedestrians in pursuit of an all-American dollar? That, plus a multi-trillion-dollar public investment in "the largest infrastructure project in the history of mankind" to upgrade the Eisenhower interstate highway system to make it robot-ready. That might require dedicated lanes or else upgrades to the roadways with enough buried cabling to reach the moon and back.

Dayen asks whether simply investing in "stronger mapping or sensory technology" might be a wiser investment. He concludes:
I think normal people would call what we have here a grift. The car companies want to commandeer public infrastructure as a massive subsidy for their business model. And in the zero-sum world of government spending, such a scheme necessarily crowds out transportation that everyone can afford to use. We’re already seeing cities cut mass transit spending in favor of giving people coupons for Uber or Lyft. Considering that these companies aren’t making money and will eventually have to cash in on their oligopoly with higher rates, this kind of trade-off will eventually price poorer Americans out of getting where they need to go.
That's a small price for the public to pay, right? Technological advancements are deemed inevitable, and something everyone in business gets all moist over. Only a Luddite would oppose progress. But for the people running corporations that profit from them and find ways to make the public pay for it, there's one decrepit legal technology that, strangely, they have no interest in upgrading: the corporation itself. Like any other technology, it behaves just as it's designed to. That's just the way they like it.








It's Holiday Fundraiser time. If you'd like to contribute, you can do so below or use the snail mail address at the top of the left column. Thank you!

















Happy Hollandaise everyone.

cheers --- digby