We can’t trust self-driving car AI just yet

Self-driving cars are the future. Almost every car maker, in one way or another, has embraced technology that can take over the wheel partially or completely.

It has become not a question of “if” but of “when”. Some car makers are convinced that self-driving cars will be hitting the road in two years’ time. That, however, might be an extremely optimistic outlook that may miss out on how self-driving car tech just isn’t trustworthy yet, and it’s not for the reasons you might immediately think.

Life and death

There have been incidents of accidents involving self-driving cars or cars with assistive technologies. Some of them have, unfortunately, even resulted in deaths. It’s almost to easy to blame either the technology or the human behind the wheel and, in some cases, investigations do point one or the other as the cause of the incident. Whichever side was culpable, the reactions and coverage of the accidents prove that neither the technology nor humans are ready for that serene picture car makers and self-driving proponents are painting.

Learning machines and Murphy’s Law

Any self-driving car would naturally require some AI to direct it. And no AI is born complete like Athena springing from Zeus’ forehead. They have to learn and the way they learn is fundamentally different from how humans learn (thankfully). At their most basic, these AI learn through simulations and devouring thousands if not millions of data that would take humans multiple lifetimes to digest.

13. August 2018

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