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Driving Cars

8 Comments and 19 Shares
It's probably just me. If driving were as dangerous as it seems, hundreds of people would be dying every day!
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growler
9 days ago
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6 public comments
rraszews
16 days ago
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If cars didn't exist and someone said, "Hey, I invented a two ton block of metal that can travel at 80mph and which is controlled manually by human beings with no automatic overrides to stop it ramming things. Let's make 90% of the adult population pilot one every morning when they're half asleep," it would be considered too ridiculous for fiction.
emdeesee
16 days ago
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"flying in formation with people you've never met"
📌 Lincoln, NE ❤️️ Sherman, TX
tedder
16 days ago
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yep. People don't understand how dangerous a 3000lb missile is.
Uranus
Covarr
16 days ago
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As high-profile as accidents involving self-driving vehicles have been, they are still far safer than human drivers. And they don't have to take a test in high school.
Moses Lake, WA
artmoney
16 days ago
what's the source for this? i haven't seen anything definitive on this.
Covarr
16 days ago
There is not enough available data to be absolutely certain beyond any margin of error, but: https://www.vtti.vt.edu/featured/?p=422
Covarr
16 days ago
https://www.axios.com/humans-cause-most-self-driving-car-accidents-1513304490-02cdaf3d-551f-46e6-ad98-637e6ef2c0b9.html
Covarr
16 days ago
Additionally, self-driving cars only get better with each passing year as their technology gets better. Humans aren't evolving nearly as quickly. (sorry for repeat replies; Newsblur doesn't allow me to put paragraphs in my comments with, say, Shift+Enter)
artmoney
16 days ago
of course there's no guarantee that that their safety will increase to the point that they're better enough
benzado
16 days ago
100% of the interest and investment in self-driving cars is for the cost savings. Period. Safety is a sideshow. Once they are "safe enough", we'll adapt our environments to accommodate the self-driving cars. It will be too lucrative not to.
matthiasgoergens
16 days ago
Liability and insurance (and reputation) turn extra safety into cost savings. Human driven cars have also become safer. Think eg of ABS.
benzado
15 days ago
Yes, replacing a human driver with a robot that can't ever sue you is a HUGE cost savings. I'm not saying self-driving cars won't be safer. I'm saying it is at best a minor concern for anyone who is paying to develop them.
llamapixel
14 days ago
Robots will always make mistakes. Entropy is a thing ;) http://moralmachine.mit.edu/
lamontcg
13 days ago
robots don't drive drunk, don't get tired, don't "race" because they think its "cool", don't have road rage and don't try to commit suicide by vehicle. pretty certain before too long that they'll be 100x better than we are at driving.
Covarr
13 days ago
artmoney, llamapixel: It doesn't need to be perfect to be worth it. It just needs to make fewer mistakes than human drivers. Reducing accidents is always better than not reducing them, even if it's not enough to eliminate them completely.
artmoney
10 days ago
the assertion that they are already safer is false. i'm not commenting on the future.
llamapixel
9 days ago
Covarr how does a lawyer fight for a closed source neural net suggesting it is not at fault, when might actually have avoidance systems to reduce crash costs. ?
alt_text_bot
16 days ago
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It's probably just me. If driving were as dangerous as it seems, hundreds of people would be dying every day!
alt_text_at_your_service
16 days ago
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It's probably just me. If driving were as dangerous as it seems, hundreds of people would be dying every day!

Цитата #449442

1 Comment
О пользе игр в народном хозяйстве. Воскресное утро. Заперлась в кабинете, работаю, муж с девятилетней дочкой в его кабинете предположительно играют в Elder Scrolls. Вдруг чу - музыка для моих ушей, пылесос. Я не просила, не делегировала, мало ли, думаю, рассыпалось чего, посмотрю на масштаб разрушений. Нет, все цело, сосредоточенный ребенок наводит чистоту. Я мужу - ?, муж - Тут выкатили новых персонажей и вещей, ей очень, очень хочется 1500 корон. Сказала, что за 1500 корон вытрет все окна и пропылесосит, ну и вот...
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growler
72 days ago
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900 рублей
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Цитата #449138

1 Comment
xxx> Для охраны неба над олимпиадой будут массово задействованы "противодроны" - дроны охотники за дронами.
yyy> Да устроили бы уже они бои дронов.
yyy> Зрителей больше будет.
yyy> Это же гораздо увлекательнее, чем смотреть как меряются миллисекундами высокооплачиваемые наркоманы.
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growler
93 days ago
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Кстати, да
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Цитата #449019

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аgent provocateur: Не понимаю люди как вы с такой лёгкостью можете отдать за книгу 500 р?
Nava: ты можешь пропить 500р? а больше?
Nava: Вот также, только книги)
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growler
100 days ago
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Только больше!
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Цитата #448651

1 Comment
Инни подогнала чудесный неологизм "blyatiful".
За бортом внезапные -32? Blyatiful!
Сломался гребаный автобус, который ходит раз в полчаса, а вокруг не лето? Blyatiful!
Сосед решил исполнить соло на перфораторе утром выходного дня? Blyatiful!
Некогда любимый сериал слили в унылое вонючее? Blyatiful!
В местном гипере работает одна касса из пары десятков? Blyatiful!
Примеров, я так полагаю, не счесть. Хороший неологизм. Буду пользоваться.
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growler
125 days ago
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(не так клёво, как "селебрядь", но тоже ничо)
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Birdcage liners

2 Comments and 7 Shares

My new year’s resolution was to give up on reading Twitter and Facebook.

I gave up on the feeds because they were making me angry. A lot of times I was angry because of politics, but even on non-political things, the feeds seemed like they were full of conflict and stress.

I can’t tell you how much happier I am without them. Am I the only one that hated reading feeds? Do they make everybody unhappy? And if they make people unhappy why are they so popular?

Since I design social software for a living I feel like I should have a professional opinion on why Twitter and Facebook made me unhappy.

Let’s start with Twitter. I used Twitter to keep in touch with friends and colleagues because I cared about them. Unfortunately, those friends mostly didn’t use Twitter to share happy news and tell me how things were going. They used Twitter for bumper sticker flame wars. These were not the thoughtful long essays on blogs of yesteryear. 140 characters is too short for that.

Here’s what happened with the 140 characters. You would start out having some kind of complicated thought. “Ya know, dogs are great and all? I love dogs! But sometimes they can be a little bit too friendly. They can get excited and jump on little kids and scare the bejesus out of them. They wag their tails so hard they knock things over. (PS not Huskies! Huskies are the cats of the dog world!)”

Ok, so now you try to post that on Twitter. And you edit and edit and you finally get it down to something that fits: “Dogs can be too friendly!”

All the nuance is lost. And this is where things go wrong. “@spolsky what about huskies? #dontforgethuskies”

Ten minutes later, “Boycott @stackoverflow. @spolsky proves again that tech bros hate huskies. #shame”

By the time you get off the plane in Africa you’re on the international pariah list and your @replies are full of people accusing you of throwing puppies out of moving cars for profit.

Yeah, I get it, this 140 character limitation was just a historical accident, and now it’s 280 characters anyway, and you can always make a Twitter Story, but the flame wars on Twitter emerged from the fact that we’ve taken a medium, text, which is already bad at conveying emotion and sentiment and high-bandwidth nuance, and made it even worse, and the net result is a lot of outrage and indignation.

The outrage and indignation, of course, are what makes it work. That’s what keeps you coming back. Oooh shade. Oooh flamewar. We rubberneckers can’t keep our eyes off of it. I don’t know what the original idea of Twitter was, but it succeeded because of natural selection. In a world where the tech industry was cranking out millions of dumb little social applications, this one happens to limit messages to 140 characters and that happens to create, unintentionally, a subtlety-free indignation machine, which is addictive as heck, so this is the one that survives and thrives and becomes a huge new engine of polarization and anger. It’s not a coincidence that we got a president who came to power through bumper-sticker slogans, outrageous false statements chosen to make people’s blood boil, and of course Twitter. This is all a part of a contagious disease that is spreading like crazy because we as a society have not figured out how to fight back yet.

But Twitter is small potatoes. Facebook is where the action is. Facebook quickly copied Twitter’s idea of the “feed” as a mechanism to keep you coming back compulsively. But whereas Twitter sort of stumbled upon addictiveness through the weird 140-character limit, Facebook mixed a new, super-potent active ingredient into their feed called Machine Learning. They basically said, “look, we are not going to show everybody every post,” and they used the new Midas-style power of machine learning and set it in the direction of getting people even more hyper-addicted to the feed. The only thing the ML algorithm was told to care about was addiction, or, as they called it, engagement. They had a big ol’ growth team that was trying different experiments and a raw algorithm that was deciding what to show everybody and the only thing it cared about was getting you to come back constantly.

Now, this algorithm, accidentally, learned something interesting—something that dog trainers have always known.

Dog trainers give dogs a treat when they get something right. When they say “come,” and the dog comes, he gets a treat. Woof. I can train any arbitrary dog to do that with some reliability. But here’s what happens. Once, just once, I forget to give the dog a treat. And then the dog thinks, well, heck this, I guess “come” doesn’t always mean “treat.” So the trained behavior goes away. It’s technically called extinction: the trained behavior goes extinct.

How do we prevent extinction? By only giving treats some of the time. So the dog learns something more subtle. When my master says come and I obey, I might get a treat. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. That way, if I obey and don’t get the treat, I shouldn’t panic. I should still always come when he says come because that’s still the best way to get the most treats. Intermittent reinforcement works better.

This sounds like what Facebook was doing to me.

Rather than providing a constant stream of satisfying news and engagement with friends, Facebook’s algorithm had learned to give me a bunch of junk I didn’t need to hear, and only gave me intermittent rewards through the occasional useful nugget of information about friends. Once in a blue moon I would hear about a friend’s accomplishment or I would find out that someone I like is going to be in town. The rest of the time I would just get the kind of garbage newspaper clippings circulated by someone who had too much coffee and is misattributing the kick from the caffeine to something they just read online and now MUST share IMMEDIATELY with EVERYONE because this news story about something that happened to a baby bear is SOOOOO important to THE ENTIRE WORLD. And so 9 of out 10 things in my feed are complete garbage—last week’s newspaper lining the birdcage with the droppings already on it—but then once every two weeks I find out my niece is engaged or my best friend got a great new job or my oldest friend is in town and I should make plans to hang out. And now no matter how full the Facebook feed is of bird droppings I still have to keep going back.

Both Twitter and Facebook’s selfish algorithms, optimized solely for increasing the number of hours I spend on their services, are kind of destroying civil society at the same time. Researchers also discovered that the algorithms served to divide up the world into partisan groups. So even though I was following hundreds of people on social networks, I noticed that the political pieces which I saw were nevertheless directionally aligned with my own political beliefs. But to be honest they were much… shriller. Every day the Twitter told me about something that The Other Side did that was Outrageous and Awful (or, at least, this was reported), and everyone was screeching in sync and self-organizing in a lynch mob, and I would have to click LIKE or RETWEET just to feel like I had done something about it, but I hadn’t actually done anything about it. I had just slacktivated.

What is the lesson? The lesson here is that when you design software, you create the future.

If you’re designing software for a social network, the decision to limit message lengths, or the decision to use ML to maximize engagement, will have vast social impact which is often very hard to predict.

As software developers and designers, we have a responsibility to the world to think these things through carefully and design software that makes the world better, or, at least, no worse than it started out. And when our inventions spin out of control, we have a responsibility to understand why and to try to fix them.

This blog post has a surprise piece of good news. The good news is that Facebook suddenly realized what they had done, and today they announced a pretty major change of direction. They want the feed to leave people feeling “more connected and less lonely,” so they have actually decided to sacrifice “engagement.” Mark Zuckerberg posted, “By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.” That’s amazing, but it’s amazing because it demonstrates that Facebook has finally grown up and joined the rest of us in understanding that software developers are designing the future.

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growler
129 days ago
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tedgould
124 days ago
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Mixed feelings on this post. It gets ranty on things I agree with and encourages software developers to think about the impact of their creations. But, I feel like it overstates the impact and importance of software. It is important to understand it, but it isn't worth puffing up your ego over.
Texas, USA
LeMadChef
126 days ago
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“As software developers and designers, we have a responsibility to the world to think these things through carefully and design software that makes the world better, or, at least, no worse than it started out. And when our inventions spin out of control, we have a responsibility to understand why and to try to fix them.”
Denver, CO
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