David Weinberger's Would a Google car sacrifice you for the sake of the many? explores many philosophical conundra regarding self-driving cars, including the possibility that the rich and powerful might literally buy their way into the fast-lane. This is the premise of my 2005 story "Human Readable," which appears in my collection With a Little Help (there's also a spectacular audio edition, read by Spider Robinson).
Or would Google let you pay a premium to take the “fast lane”? (For reasons of network optimization the fast lane probably wouldn't actually be a designated lane but well might look much more like how frequencies are dynamically assigned in an age of “smart radios.”) We presumably would be ok with letting emergency vehicles go faster than the rest of the swarm, but how about letting the rich folks pay to go faster by programming the other robot cars to give way when a car with its “Move aside!” bit is on?
Let’s say Google supports a strict version of Networked Road Neutrality. But, suppose Comcast starts to make cars, and programs them to get ahead of the cars that choose to play by the rules. Would Google cars take action to block the Comcast cars from switching lanes to gain a speed advantage —perhaps forming a cordon around them? Would that be legal? Would selling a virtual fast lane on a public roadway be legal in the first place? And who gets to decide? The FCC?
Would a Google car sacrifice you for the sake of the many?
(Image: Bangkok traffic jam, Keng Susumpow, CC-BY)
The Internet Archive’s Brewster Kahle writes, “We founded a credit union to build a new path after the banking debacle of 2008 and it’s been crushed by federal regulators. The regulators close 200-300 credit unions every year, and have been since their founding of the NCUA in 1970. Only a couple are allowed to start […]
A leaked recording made of a conference call hosted by the Edison Electric Institute, which lobbies for the power industry, reveals lobbyists for high pollution companies talking about how they can exploit the Syrian refugee crisis to get a rider inserted into a pending bill that would kill the EPA’s Waters of the United States […]
The barb in trade agreements’ tail is the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system, which lets companies sue governments to repeal rules that interfere with their profitability. It’s let tobacco giants fight anti-smoking campaigns, and now it’s letting fisheries attack rules aimed at preventing the wholesale slaughter of dolphins.
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This minimalist multi-tool will see to it that instead of rocking a tool belt, you’ll carry just one. It’s shaped slightly like a key and weighs less than an ounce, so it plays nice with your keychain. The strong surgical-grade stainless steel blade will last, and is handy for everyday tasks like opening boxes and […]
The Code Black is our top-selling drone of all time—and for good reason. This powerful, palm-size drone is not only insanely fun to fly, but can capture some serious video footage from up above. With a flight time of about 10 minutes and an ultra-smooth ride, it’s a great introductory drone for anyone looking to […]