NIMBY, Silicon Valley Edition

Silicon Valley techies really don’t want self-driving cars on their streets.

This is very different from the XKCD cartoon, where software experts disavow computerized voting for everyone, because it is most of the article is about the people wanting the testing to go on somewhere else:

Karen Brenchley [full disclosure, we dated in the mid 1980s] is a computer scientist with expertise in training artificial intelligence, but this longtime Silicon Valley resident has pangs of anxiety whenever she sees Waymo self-driving cars maneuver the streets near her home.

The former product manager, who has worked for Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, wonders how engineers could teach the robocars operating on her tree-lined streets to make snap decisions, speed and slow with the flow of traffic and yield to pedestrians coming from the nearby park. She has asked her husband, an award-winning science-fiction author who doesn’t drive, to wear a shiny vest while cycling to ensure autonomous vehicles spot him in a rush of activity.

The problem isn’t that she doesn’t understand the technology. It’s that she does, and she knows how flawed nascent technology can be.

“I’m not skeptical long-term,” said Brenchley, who has lived in Silicon Valley for 30 years. “I don’t want to be the guinea pig. I don’t want my husband to be the guinea pig.”

Well, then who should be the guinea pig then?

If it’s not ready to share the roads with your bike-riding spouses or children they are not ready to share the roads with ANYONE‘S bike-riding spouses or children.

I expect to see commercial fusion power before we see truly autonomous cars outside of very limited roadways.

BTW, Elon Musk’s vision for a video only self driving scheme is even more hair-brained, as this Twitter thread demonstrates.   (after break)

Musk doesn’t care though, because he is one major facial scar away from being a Bond villain:

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