Is there anyone who didn’t know for a dead cold fact that sooner or later a driverless Uber would kill a pedestrian? Last night’s “autonomous” slaying in Tempe happened around 10 pm. It involved a 49 year-old woman who was walking with her bicycle.
Funniest N.Y. Times paragraph: “Autonomous cars are expected to ultimately be safer than human drivers, because they don’t get distracted and always observe traffic laws. However, researchers working on the technology have struggled with how to teach the autonomous systems to adjust for unpredictable human driving or behavior.”
The above news report says that the woman was “not using the crosswalk.” The autonomous Uber had undoubtedly been programmed — instructed — to not hit pedestrians walking in designated crossing areas, so technically the woman may have been at fault by crossing in a wide-open zone. If George C. Scott‘s General Buck Turgidson was involved in this situation, he would say “the human element seems to have failed us here.”
Yes, I’m kidding. Of course it’s the technology’s fault.
The movie I’m thinking of mostly right now is George Lucas‘s THX-1138. I’m imagining the relatives of the deceased woman going to their computers to talk about their grief, and the heuristically programmed algorithmic computer saying as they log on, “What’s wrong?”