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The moral imperative of full self-driving

Discussion in 'Autonomous Vehicles' started by Robert831, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. Robert831

    Robert831 Member

    Jul 22, 2017
    Watsonville, CA
    I was talking with a friend of mine recently about the future of "full self-driving" capability of Tesla cars (though the same applies to other manufacturers). He hates technology. And so it follows, he absolutely hates the idea of a computer being in control of the car. (Never mind that he was driving my car, which is controlled by computers, or that he flies on jet airplanes.)

    Part of what made the discussion interesting is that we agree on almost everything regarding the technology itself. Where we disagree is its application.

    One of his arguments is that automation makes people stupid, because they lose any motivation to learn how to do it the "hard" way. Though I agree, I don't see this as a bad thing. I think it frees up the mind to do other things. Perhaps great things.

    Another one of his arguments is that you're not in control of the car when a computer is driving. I pointed out that nobody has ever been in control, since you have always had to rely on some kind of mechanism, whether it's mechanical, electronic, or software. That was as far as the conversation got.

    But I thought about it some more. The fact that traffic accidents are a major cause of death and injury means this is a really serious subject. If full self driving cars are safer than human drivers, then lives will be saved through the use of them. This seems much more important than one person's irrational bias against technology in general.

    If it indeed makes cars safer, it also means that the sooner the technology is implemented the more lives will be saved. Anything we can do to speed up the release and adoption of self-driving technology will be a good cause, regardless of whether it's Tesla, Google, or anybody else.

    So then I wonder. Would buying the $3000 upgrade to full self driving help speed up its progress? My guess is maybe. If so, then perhaps there is a moral imperative to buy it even though you receive nothing in the short term, and no guarantees for the long term.
  2. McRat

    McRat Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2016
    We need to measure things with a ruler. Cars and guns combined will kill fewer Americans than illegal drug overdoses this year.

    But let's worry about cars. Car deaths are finally rising after decades of steady decline. The rise is due entirely to distracted driving. Our attempt at resolution was to put so much armor on cars that they become safe enough for an idiot, or at least we thought. But we simply made better idiots to circumvent the safer cars.

    Distracted driving is like defecating on the sidewalk. It is a public health issue, highly visible, illegal, and leaves a mess. Our solution? Have everyone wear Depends™ instead of teaching proper hygiene and citing those who do not follow proper manners.

    AV for safety is Depends™. An expensive but reliable system to keep 'enhanced idiots' alive. Whether it's good or bad, or just a sad commentary about how much we suck as drivers today is irrelevant.

    We are getting diapers whether or not you believe it's the answer.
  3. Tiger

    Tiger Member

    Oct 31, 2016
    The day autonomous cars become mandatory is the day I stop owning a car. Until then, I will enjoy the driving myself.
  4. ShockOnT

    ShockOnT ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️

    Jun 26, 2016
    Totally agree about distracted driving.
    I do about 30,000 miles a year in Sydney, Australia. The change in the last few years is astounding. Every second driver is constantly checking their phone.

    BTW about 17,000 of those 50,000 drug overdoses were for prescription drugs (Vicodin/Oxycontin). Heroin came second at 13,000.
  5. Canuck

    Canuck Well-Known Member

    Nov 30, 2013
    South Surrey, BC
    There's a moral imperative to put our money towards things that save lives? Good thing no one told me about it or I'd be broke. But if there is, I think there's a lot better places you can put your money if your goal is to save lives.

    If your goal is to justify paying for FSD as contributing to the good of society, that works for me too. Just prepare yourself for a very long wait so you'll be pleasantly surprised if it's not.
  6. Ludus

    Ludus Member

    May 1, 2013
    Autonomy will take over pretty rapidly without the need for moral arguments.

    Making it mandatory will probably get some pushback. That will produce a big jump in safety and efficiency though so I doubt it will be held up for long.

    The Skates shown in The Boring Company video for use in tunnels might be a transitional solution for older vehicles that are banned from operating in Autonomous Only Zones. At the entrances to a AOZ there would be Skates you could roll onto with your old ICE car. They'd take you where you needed to go and back out.
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