Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."
Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Look Ma! No Hands!
Google has built a prototype of an automobile which has no steering wheel or brake pedal. Everyone in the car will be merely a passenger. You get in, enter your destination, and it just goes there... at a maximum speed of 25 MPH. It's an ugly little thing.Like a Smart Car but without the bells and whistles. The principle behind it is to take control of the vehicle away from humans, who are fallible, as we know ("To Err Is Human") and place our faith in technology and programmers. But wait... aren't programmers human?
Why, yes, they are. All too human. I say this from experience with a GPS unit and from using the various mapping offerings on the internet. My Garmin has sent me to more than one hotel that didn't exist and given me highly questionable directions from time to time (not to mention the ubiquitous "Recalculating" squawks when I fail to follow the little dictator). I do not fault the technology (which reminds me that an update is available/needed but then has no update when I seek it). Still, I find my Garmin and access to Google Maps to be quite useful. But I trust them to be just a bit more accurate than the random bystander; not perfect.
When I was a mischievous lad in my mid-teens, I would often give incorrect, or circuitous, directions to tourists who were silly enough to ask how to get to some hotel, motel, or point of interest. I don't recall ever sending them into a dangerous area or getting them so lost they could run out of gas before reaching civilization again. And, sometimes, I gave less mischievous but still erroneous directions because I am human after all.
But what will happen when one of these little beasts gets into an accident? Will we sue the non-existent driver? The owner? The car-maker? The programmers? Currently, the law assumes the driver has control of the vehicle; that will have to change.
I tended not to rely on the kindness of strangers once I began driving but studied maps instead. I was a pretty good land navigator, if I do say so myself. If I was going to a town I was unfamiliar with, I would grab a map for it or, as soon as I got in the are, would study a map that that was posted at a gas station. Those maps, once a staple of every service station, have disappeared.