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(The American Prospect)   Are Driverless Cars the sleeper issue of the 2012 campaign? Brought to you by Old Glory Insurance   (prospect.org) divider line 34
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402 clicks; posted to Politics » on 14 Aug 2012 at 4:34 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-14 01:47:14 PM
Why do the scientists keep making them?
 
2012-08-14 01:53:44 PM
I would say that "driverless cars" pose much less risk than "mindless politicians" and "leaderless state legislatures"
 
2012-08-14 04:37:13 PM
www.wearysloth.com

Johnnycab / Ryan 2012
 
2012-08-14 04:41:21 PM
i30.photobucket.com
 
2012-08-14 04:42:28 PM
Fact: Driverless cars are safer than cars with people driving them.
 
2012-08-14 04:42:46 PM
Was the horseless carriage a hot-button issue of the 1896 election?
 
2012-08-14 04:44:12 PM

tricycleracer: Was the horseless carriage a hot-button issue of the 1896 election?


Buggy whips.

And clouds. Old men hate 'em.
 
2012-08-14 04:51:03 PM
THIS is why we don't have colonies on Mars yet, people.
 
2012-08-14 04:54:57 PM
I think they should be an issue. Once driverless cars are widely accepted, taxi drivers, food delivery drivers, and truck drivers will be working on borrowed time. How many millions of people will be put at risk of unemployment? Those people won't be able to jump into a sweet job as a "driverless car engineer". Drivers usually don't have much engineering experience.

It really is time we start talking about how our economy will work when the world no longer needs ditch diggers. I wish a politician would mention it.
 
2012-08-14 04:56:37 PM
Driverless cars are people too
 
2012-08-14 04:57:28 PM

Bleyo: Once driverless cars are widely accepted, taxi drivers, food delivery drivers, and truck drivers will be working on borrowed time.


Long-haul over the road trucking, sure, but converting local fleets of short-haul into expensive, commercial-grade autonomous vehicles will be really cost prohibitive. Especially with tipped employees that you can pay jack shiat hourly to drive the cheapest vehicle you could buy them (or their own vehicle).
 
2012-08-14 04:57:40 PM

Bleyo: I think they should be an issue. Once driverless cars are widely accepted, taxi drivers, food delivery drivers, and truck drivers will be working on borrowed time. How many millions of people will be put at risk of unemployment? Those people won't be able to jump into a sweet job as a "driverless car engineer". Drivers usually don't have much engineering experience.

It really is time we start talking about how our economy will work when the world no longer needs ditch diggers. I wish a politician would mention it.


Someone still has to dump the chinese food in the microwave before they send it out to your house
 
2012-08-14 05:03:17 PM

Bleyo: I think they should be an issue. Once driverless cars are widely accepted, taxi drivers, food delivery drivers, and truck drivers will be working on borrowed time. How many millions of people will be put at risk of unemployment? Those people won't be able to jump into a sweet job as a "driverless car engineer". Drivers usually don't have much engineering experience.

It really is time we start talking about how our economy will work when the world no longer needs ditch diggers. I wish a politician would mention it.


Quite simply, it won't, not as a capitalist one anyways. When the production is automated and you have robots building robots, what power do the bulk of the workers have? Little to none.

You'll need a handful of people to maintain the machines in times other robots cannot, as well as engineers and programmers, but what will people do?

The Japanese demonstrated a pizza making robot a few years ago. I've seen homemade grilled cheese machines. Most McDonald's I've seen have nearly completely automated the drink line, you just need the cashier to put the lid on it and hand it out the window.

Burger building isn't that far off. For now, it is still cheaper to employee a real human than it is to have a robot doing all that, even when you consider wasted product, incorrect portion sizes, and stolen food. Once that changes, say goodbye to millions of jobs in the service industry, just as we saw in the manufacturing industry.
 
2012-08-14 05:05:58 PM

tricycleracer: Bleyo: Once driverless cars are widely accepted, taxi drivers, food delivery drivers, and truck drivers will be working on borrowed time.

Long-haul over the road trucking, sure, but converting local fleets of short-haul into expensive, commercial-grade autonomous vehicles will be really cost prohibitive. Especially with tipped employees that you can pay jack shiat hourly to drive the cheapest vehicle you could buy them (or their own vehicle).


Dominos paid me minimum wage when I worked there, plus a small amount per delivery for gas/wear and tear. Other drivers made more than minimum wage. I know truck drivers make decent money. Cab/limo drivers are a no brainer since the cabs are usually owned by a cab company, so replacing them with robots would be instant savings.

Autonomous cars might start off expensive and rare, but as they get cheaper and more intelligent, they will replace humans in those jobs.
 
IP
2012-08-14 05:09:53 PM
Fine, I'll do it.

fc08.deviantart.net
 
2012-08-14 05:11:10 PM
Old Glory Insurance: sponsor of the "CSA" miniseries?

I'll have my darkie drive the motor coach, thank you good sir!
 
2012-08-14 05:11:47 PM

chachi88: Old Glory Insurance: sponsor of the "CSA" miniseries?

I'll have my darkie drive the motor coach, thank you good sir!


Well that's embarrassing.
 
2012-08-14 05:15:16 PM

meat0918: Burger building isn't that far off. For now, it is still cheaper to employee a real human than it is to have a robot doing all that, even when you consider wasted product, incorrect portion sizes, and stolen food. Once that changes, say goodbye to millions of jobs in the service industry, just as we saw in the manufacturing industry.


Yeah, but who will chop down the trees and pick our cotton for us!!?!?!?!?!? Without those jobs, we are all doooooooooooooooooomed!

Time and technology marches on, there will always be jobs, but the nature of the jobs will always be changing...
 
2012-08-14 05:18:03 PM
Looks like Homer's got one of those new robot cars.
 
2012-08-14 05:33:32 PM

Tarl3k: meat0918: Burger building isn't that far off. For now, it is still cheaper to employee a real human than it is to have a robot doing all that, even when you consider wasted product, incorrect portion sizes, and stolen food. Once that changes, say goodbye to millions of jobs in the service industry, just as we saw in the manufacturing industry.

Yeah, but who will chop down the trees and pick our cotton for us!!?!?!?!?!? Without those jobs, we are all doooooooooooooooooomed!

Time and technology marches on, there will always be jobs, but the nature of the jobs will always be changing...


Yes, but doing what? I'd like to think we could progress and utilize the technological advances to allow people more freedom to explore what they want to do with their lives, but instead I think only a few will reap the benefits of automation. Even utility companies want to go to wireless automated smart meters in order to save money on worker salaries, benefits, as well as vehicle upkeep, maintenance, and increased fuel costs.

We're not going to stop progress, but what happens to all the displaced workers is something we need to start thinking about. Of course things will flow naturally in a particular direction. Previously labor flowed from farm to factory to service. If we take service out as well, perhaps they could flow into research?

I work on a product that replaces 5 well paid highly skilled but specialized individuals with a computer, a sophisticated scanner and only requires 1 guy to run it and verify it's doing it's job correctly and has a quick ROI despite it cost to install.

I suppose jobs could flow into R&D for new robots and new automation.

Maybe with all the extra human brain power poured into the problem, we can solve the energy issue.
 
2012-08-14 05:36:47 PM

meat0918: I suppose jobs could flow into R&D for new robots and new automation.

Maybe with all the extra human brain power poured into the problem, we can solve the energy issue.


Probably just R&D into nanosecond stock trading, pills for hair loss, and new flavors of Taco Bell Doritos shells.
 
2012-08-14 05:39:03 PM
Player Piano was prophecy.
 
2012-08-14 05:52:35 PM

meat0918: Bleyo: I think they should be an issue. Once driverless cars are widely accepted, taxi drivers, food delivery drivers, and truck drivers will be working on borrowed time. How many millions of people will be put at risk of unemployment? Those people won't be able to jump into a sweet job as a "driverless car engineer". Drivers usually don't have much engineering experience.

It really is time we start talking about how our economy will work when the world no longer needs ditch diggers. I wish a politician would mention it.

Quite simply, it won't, not as a capitalist one anyways. When the production is automated and you have robots building robots, what power do the bulk of the workers have? Little to none.

You'll need a handful of people to maintain the machines in times other robots cannot, as well as engineers and programmers, but what will people do?

The Japanese demonstrated a pizza making robot a few years ago. I've seen homemade grilled cheese machines. Most McDonald's I've seen have nearly completely automated the drink line, you just need the cashier to put the lid on it and hand it out the window.

Burger building isn't that far off. For now, it is still cheaper to employee a real human than it is to have a robot doing all that, even when you consider wasted product, incorrect portion sizes, and stolen food. Once that changes, say goodbye to millions of jobs in the service industry, just as we saw in the manufacturing industry.


Give it another 100 years and pretty much all menial labor will be done by robots. And prices will drop precipitously on just about everything. Our energy and water problems will also most likely be solved by then, and we probably just won't need everyone to work anymore.

No one is ready for it, and the transition could well be very messy, but we're probably headed towards an age of abundance if we play our cards right. This means a large percentage of the world can simply get a daily allowance of food, water and money if they simply agree to not commit any crimes. Anyone who wants to still work in creative, engineering, political and managerial jobs can of course then earn much more money if they are willing to do the work. But a world dominated by scarcity and workforces created through inequality and a need to survive are coming to an end.

It would be nice if we could work towards that instead of running in fear of automation and future technologies, but just like this old lady fears driverless cars, most people fear change and few people can imagine a world where there's a permanent leisure class and we're not trapped in a perpetual capitalist feudal system. Most futurists see it coming and have a lot of data to back it up, but the political world is completely blind to the coming paradigm shifts.

So we'll continue to fight over how best to burn carbon fuels and how much wealth we're willing to let our current wasteful leisure class spend on conspicuous consumption and maintaining political control. Still I have faith in our scientists and engineers to get us there, despite politicians and Luddites hanging at their feet every step of the way.
 
2012-08-14 06:06:28 PM
You're more than welcome to use a driverless car, or take public transport, or whatever pleases you.

I will be driving.
 
2012-08-14 06:10:03 PM
I'm still waiting for the self-cleaning house and hover-cars they promised us after WW2.

photos1.blogger.com
 
2012-08-14 06:14:47 PM

randomjsa: You're more than welcome to use a driverless car, or take public transport, or whatever pleases you.

I will be driving.


You can drive your union made car. I'll be walking. It was good enough for George Washington and Jesus.

/glittering eagle gif
 
2012-08-14 06:18:56 PM

meat0918: I suppose jobs could flow into R&D for new robots and new automation.

Maybe with all the extra human brain power poured into the problem, we can solve the energy issue.



The difference is moving from farms to factories to McDonalds required no education. R&D will require college degrees in most cases.
 
2012-08-14 06:39:47 PM

Bleyo: You can drive your union made car. I'll be walking. It was good enough for George Washington and Jesus.


Didn't you hear? The unions didn't build that.
 
2012-08-14 06:48:54 PM

dehehn: Give it another 100 years and pretty much all menial labor will be done by robots. And prices will drop precipitously on just about everything. Our energy and water problems will also most likely be solved by then, and we probably just won't need everyone to work anymore.

No one is ready for it, and the transition could well be very messy, but we're probably headed towards an age of abundance if we play our cards right. This means a large percentage of the world can simply get a daily allowance of food, water and money if they simply agree to not commit any crimes. Anyone who wants to still work in creative, engineering, political and managerial jobs can of course then earn much more money if they are willing to do the work. But a world dominated by scarcity and workforces created through inequality and a need to survive are coming to an end.

It would be nice if we could work towards that instead of running in fear of automation and future technologies, but just like this old lady fears driverless cars, most people fear change and few people can imagine a world where there's a permanent leisure class and we're not trapped in a perpetual capitalist feudal system. Most futurists see it coming and have a lot of data to back it up, but the political world is completely blind to the coming paradigm shifts.

So we'll continue to fight over how best to burn carbon fuels and how much wealth we're willing to let our current wasteful leisure class spend on conspicuous consumption and maintaining political control. Still I have faith in our scientists and engineers to get us there, despite politicians and Luddites hanging at their feet every step of the way.


I'm hoping for that, because after all, last I knew, necessity is the mother of all invention, but I also think that the current powers that be will not shift towards a new age of abundance without a very costly fight.

I feel some guilt, but I keep on doing what I am doing. Automation is the future, and I'd like to see the world solve the scarcity issue, but I'm a little more pessimistic in that it will take 200-500 years of advancement and finally success, if we manage to avoid some serious pitfalls along the way.
 
2012-08-14 07:01:59 PM

meat0918: Tarl3k: meat0918: Burger building isn't that far off. For now, it is still cheaper to employee a real human than it is to have a robot doing all that, even when you consider wasted product, incorrect portion sizes, and stolen food. Once that changes, say goodbye to millions of jobs in the service industry, just as we saw in the manufacturing industry.

Yeah, but who will chop down the trees and pick our cotton for us!!?!?!?!?!? Without those jobs, we are all doooooooooooooooooomed!

Time and technology marches on, there will always be jobs, but the nature of the jobs will always be changing...

Yes, but doing what? I'd like to think we could progress and utilize the technological advances to allow people more freedom to explore what they want to do with their lives, but instead I think only a few will reap the benefits of automation. Even utility companies want to go to wireless automated smart meters in order to save money on worker salaries, benefits, as well as vehicle upkeep, maintenance, and increased fuel costs.

We're not going to stop progress, but what happens to all the displaced workers is something we need to start thinking about. Of course things will flow naturally in a particular direction. Previously labor flowed from farm to factory to service. If we take service out as well, perhaps they could flow into research?

I work on a product that replaces 5 well paid highly skilled but specialized individuals with a computer, a sophisticated scanner and only requires 1 guy to run it and verify it's doing it's job correctly and has a quick ROI despite it cost to install.

I suppose jobs could flow into R&D for new robots and new automation.

Maybe with all the extra human brain power poured into the problem, we can solve the energy issue.


There is always more stuff to do - unless you end up with cheap AI that can outperform humans in every possible way, which isn't something to worry about for a while I think.

Having humans do jobs that can easily be automated just to keep them in work is a variation on the broken windows fallacy - everyone loses out in the end just to keep a status quo that will have to be broken in the end anyway. Sure you have short term issues where people have to retrain, and you can have issues where certain geographic areas have large concentrations of the jobs that are being replaced and can cause potentially permanent localized recessions, but in the long term everyone is better off if you just bite the bullet and make changes as soon as the economic benefit is positive.

There are plenty of areas that could see expansion in the near future I can think of - for example in developed countries the main competitive advantage over countries like India and China is a large relatively highly educated populace, to keep that edge you could see an investment in getting more children a decent level of attainment, and more good pupils to excel - the only really proven way to do that is to reduce class sizes significantly and stream them according to ability in subject matter, and to ensure all teachers are specialists in the fields they teach. This would require a big jump in the number of teachers, and thus could provide maybe 5-10% of the population a job if taken to a high enough level. It would be a big investment by government (or tax payers, depending on how you look at it), but it is an investment in ensuring the countries economy will be stable and successful into the future - probably a better deal than running 11 carrier fleets.

Or on a more micro level maybe some entrepreneur will create a way to harness people's time productively that doesn't really exist yet - you could see a website (wouldn't surprise me if someone like Facebook did something like this soon), where people could get paid for their expertise - so you want to bake a cake and don't find just working from a recipe on your iPod very helpful, so you search for an expert to talk you through it with a video call. Or teach you how to knit. Or write Python scripts.

The point isn't really the example above though - just the idea that if enough people are unemployed, sooner or later someone will think of something useful for them to do. This has always been true throughout history, and through much more far reaching upheavals than we face now, and it is unlikely people are going to run out of things they want soon, and if people want more stuff someone will find a way of making money providing it, and they will need some other people to work for them to help them provide it to more than a handful of people.
 
2012-08-14 07:32:17 PM

xria: if enough people are unemployed, sooner or later someone will think of something useful for them to do. This has always been true throughout history, and through much more far reaching upheavals than we face now, and it is unlikely people are going to run out of things they want soon, and if people want more stuff someone will find a way of making money providing it, and they will need some other people to work for them to help them provide it to more than a handful of people.


I agree that this has always been true, but I'm not ready to declare that it must always be true.

xria: unless you end up with cheap AI that can outperform humans in every possible way, which isn't something to worry about for a while I think.


Surely it wouldn't have to outperform us, just make our marginal product less than the cost of subsistence.
 
2012-08-14 08:07:51 PM
I can't think of any readily-attainable technology that has the potential to change our society for the better to the extent that autonomous vehicles do.
 
2012-08-14 10:56:42 PM

xria: and it is unlikely people are going to run out of things they want soon


Um. I'm largely out of things I want. I have a perfectly comfortable home. More would really be a nuisance. More free entertainment than I could possibly ever watch in a lifetime. Way more calories than I need for virtually nothing. Vehicles when I don't want to walk. Enough clothes to last me a lifetime overflowing my closet.

I guess I could get a travel bug, but I've honestly never been that bitten by it. Maybe get into private aviation... I know that could suck up a ton of money (which I don't have)... but it's not a terribly big interest.

I go through a pretty small base of consumables (toothpaste or whatever). I upgrade computers when it's cheap. But, honestly, my wants are pretty fully satiated. It's that feeling you get when you walk through the entire Mall of America and go, "you know, there's not a single thing here I really need, or even particularly want".
 
2012-08-15 02:16:41 AM

Skyrmion: I can't think of any readily-attainable technology that has the potential to change our society for the better to the extent that autonomous vehicles do.


Nuclear power.
 
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