November 30, 2015

A Discouraging Word

Fairness dictates that I -- the autonomous car fanboy -- share this week's EconTalk podcast. MIT's David Mindell, author of Our Robots, Ourselves, questions the progress of autonomous machines.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at November 30, 2015 4:43 PM
"Mindell argues that much of the optimism for autonomous robots ignores decades of experience with semi-autonomous robots in deep-sea operation, space, air, and the military."

Experience that was obtained long before many of the wunderkinds working on autonomous cars today were even born. Wunderkinds who see "old school" as restrictive, ossified, and self-defeatist. Or, maybe another word is a better fit - wise.

Posted by: johngalt at December 1, 2015 11:17 AM

Let's just always be sure that we - like the sailors on the super cool new navy ships or those with ever-listening "smart" TVs - always know where manual override and the plug are.

I'm also reminded of Hayek's quote:

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 1, 2015 12:37 PM

Manual override (and manual controls to assume) is all I ever asked for. Yet the linked article suggests that isn't really enough, if the autopilot dumps out to manual control with no explanation whatsoever.

It reminds me of a contemporary C&W song - 'Jesus Take the Wheel.'

Posted by: johngalt at December 3, 2015 2:35 PM | What do you think? [3]