I have always been a proponent of judiciously looking at data. Depending on how relevant the statistics are, one needs to be aware that sometimes the numbers lie. Even a resume doesn’t really describe the capabilities or lack thereof in a person.
That said, I am having a hard time believing self driving cars are a very good idea. This study from MIT referenced in an NPR article brings some interesting dilemmas to light. In difficult circumstances, split second decisions have to be made taking in hundreds of data points while driving. Take a look and think.
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“Sometimes, the numbers lie.” WHAAA? Numbers are just that. Our expectation, interpretations, and biases mask meaning. Numbers are like the sea; some look out on it and see peril and certain calamity, others only joyful opportunity.
On machine vision aiding our daily lives, I expect the algorithms to emerge victorious over our driving habits. I expect the number of minor collisions to rapidly decline (to the chagrin of insurance companies) and fatalities to shrink. I used to fly all kinds of devices and traveled in my own aircraft, sometimes copiloted by me. I felt empowered and safe because of my knowledge and experience. Then I looked deeper into statistics for airline safety compared to general aviation and learned that they were pretty starkly different. All the “self empowerment” in the world can’t save you from statistical obviousness. Airlines were much safer. My desire to control the outcome of my own life actually endangered my safety and those around me. So I let American Airlines and SWAir do the flying and the logistics. Anyway, maybe it’s between our ears, what numbers mean.
So do you autopilot an airplane landing? Or takeoff? What about when birds foul up the engines? Sully?
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