Industry experts know that driverless cars are more hype than reality. As I noted earlier this week in Asia Times: “The Information, a consulting organization that showcases industry specialists, recently held a conference call on self-driving where one expert warned: ‘You have to remember that self-driving does not work, at least in… a highly functional, driverless robotaxi sense. It does not work. And there are many folks clamoring for architectures to get there. Again, think back to flight. Do you ever watch those YouTube videos where the guy pumping the umbrella and the dude with a big corkscrew and the person with the bird wings? I would think of it more that way. It is left to be seen which one of those architectures gets you to a useful outcome.'”
That is cold comfort to the family of Ms. Herzberg, whose death we can watch in a real-life horror movie. It is probable that improved sensors and communications might be able to prevent this sort of accident in the future; the sort of situations which AI never will master are things like lane changes in traffic in which one driver has to communicate intention to other drivers in order to avoid collisions.
But that is now beside the point. The cultural damage done by the Utopian vision of brain-as-a-machine is enormous, and the skepticism with which the public now must view Artificial Intelligence is a healthy corrective.
Read the whole thing.