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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Behemoths in the night



Self driving cars are in the news a lot. Some people are more than a little uneasy sharing the road with a computer driven two ton vehicle.

One big game changer is going to be self driving trucks. Sharing the road with computer driven cars make you nervous? Imagine how it's going to be when the big rigs are automated. Truck driver is one of the few decent blue collar jobs out there. There's big incentive to automate those jobs away.

What makes me really nervous is the push to automate shipping. Imagine huge container ships plying the world's oceans. As a boater the very idea freaks me out. It's bad enough that ships already have tiny crews due to automation.

There are tales of people on life rafts watching container ship after container ship sail right by them. The skeleton crews on those ships don't always keep a good watch. If they do stop to help a small boat in trouble, they are ill equipped to do a rescue. At least they can call it in so that rescue services or other boats can help.

I'm guessing those self driving boats won't be programmed to perform rescues.

So what's going to happen in the future? Well, big businesses have the money to buy politicians. Rather than make sure self driving vehicles can operate safely in the human driven world, they'll just ban humans. Maybe it will start with a few roads or lanes being designated self-driving vehicles only. Certain sea routs could ban human piloted ships.

The trend is for humans to change their behavior to makes things easier for computers. If you've had to deal with an automated phone system you know how that goes. Now picture that same kind of thinking planning our transportation networks.

Welcome to your new dystopian future.

-Sixbears

12 comments:

  1. Don't think I'll be around to see it, thank goodness.

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    1. Don't be so sure. The technology is moving along at a rapid pace.

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  2. Have you and the Mrs. seen "Logan" yet? It's set about 12 years in the future, and in it there are some self driving cars, and even more scary, self driving big rig trucks that don't stop for anything.

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    1. We missed it. 12 years may be about right. I'll have to catch it when it comes out in DVD or streaming or whatever.

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  3. I was reading the Tony Seba projection on transportation disruption. He seems to think that autonomous cars will be on the market in 2022, and 95% of miles driven by 2030 will be electric, autonomous Uber style. Oil prices crash to $25 per barrel forever.
    Interesting to read, but I'm skeptical it will happen that fast, or that people will give up private ownership to that degree.

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    1. The potential is there, but how it shakes out is anybody's guess. The real incentive is for fleets and commercial transportation.

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  4. No thank you, I would rather do it myself!!!

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    1. I can't see a self driving car backing a boat trailer down a ramp.

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    2. Dodge has it out already.

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    3. Dang! The future is already in the past.

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  5. giving up ownership and having it taken away from you are two different things.

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    1. Excellent point -all the difference in the world.

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