Another dot in the blogosphere?

Driverless but not mindless

Posted on: July 25, 2021

Why do people freak out at driverless cars? One reason is that they think humans are better drivers than robots powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

As Veritasium host, Derek Muller, pointed out in the video below the data and statistics do not support this perception. People are more likely to cause car-related accidents.

Video source

The fear of technology combined with the over-confidence in human ability is also not new. Muller related a story of how people used to freak out when elevator (lift) operators were phased out. Some did not want to get into a box not controlled by a fellow human. This was also mentioned in an old Pessimists Archive podcast.

We think nothing of operating a lift ourselves now. In fact, it would be very strange to have someone else do this for you as their job.

If we get over our hangups, we might just see driverless vehicles as the norm. If we are not convinced, we might watch the part of the video where Muller described how planes can practically fly themselves.

From the high level of AI required for driverless vehicles to basic edtech, the common barrier of effective and common use is us. Our role should not be to fear monger based on unfounded information. It should be to contribute care, ethics, and nuance — all things we are still better at than AI.

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