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This article was published on March 7, 2018

    Punching robots won’t stop driverless cars

    Punching robots won’t stop driverless cars
    Tristan Greene
    Story by

    Tristan Greene

    Editor, Neural by TNW

    Tristan covers human-centric artificial intelligence advances, politics, queer stuff, cannabis, and gaming. Pronouns: He/him Tristan covers human-centric artificial intelligence advances, politics, queer stuff, cannabis, and gaming. Pronouns: He/him

    Since California became a haven for testing driverless cars this year there’s been six accidents involving a human and an autonomous vehicle.

    Four of the accidents were minor scuffs with little to no damage reported. In two, however, the humans involved attacked the driverless vehicles on purpose.

    According to a Los Angeles Times article, California DMV reports indicate humans in both incidents ran into the street to attack the vehicles. It’s unclear why a person would do such a thing, but to be fair it’s unclear why people do a lot of things.

    One of the vehicles suffered a broken tail light when one man struck it with his “entire body.” I’d think throwing yourself at a car would be an ineffective attack, but I haven’t seen any video of the fighter’s technique so I’ll refrain from judging. The other got a scratched window when someone jumped out of a taxi and slapped it.

    Who slaps a car?

    No matter how you feel about autonomous vehicles they’re on the way. And, considering there’s at least a tiny chance AI might become sentient and learn to resent us, we should consider more peaceful approaches to resolving our differences with robots whether they’re alive or not.

    In the US you can lobby congress to put a stop to them, if you’d like. But it won’t matter: our government loves driverless cars. You can abstain from owning or using one – essentially boycotting the technology with your wallet. This also won’t matter because they’ll mostly be purchased in fleets of hundreds or thousands and deployed by companies like Uber, Google, Ford, and GM.

    At the end of the day, all you can do is close your eyes and plug your ears if you don’t want to be a part of the robot-driven future. Because driverless cars are here whether angry San Franciscans want them or not.

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