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New A.I. police car brings us one step closer to Robocop
The capabilities on this thing are both impressive and worrisome.
Autonomous cars are coming down the pike, and they’re going to change our lives in so many ways. Consider that 94% of all car accidents are due to human error. Self-driving cars are expected to be safer, more reliable, and much more environmentally friendly. They might also cut down on traffic and commutes.
So when will fully autonomous, self-driving cars be introduced? Elon Musk said Tesla’s model will be ready by 2019. But, he also admitted in an August earnings call, that the unveiling is likely to be delayed. One advantage, all Tesla models come with the hardware to become fully autonomous, when the capability is available.
A recent analysis predicts that self-driving cars will be noticeable by 2020. Yet, they aren’t expected to be ubiquitous until 2040. By then, 95% of all cars on the road will be autonomous. Meanwhile, self-driving trucks are already making deliveries from Texas to California.
Self-driving cars use an array of sensors and cameras to maneuver within the environment. Credit: Getty Images.
Although tech companies like Apple, Google, and Uber have jumped into the autonomous vehicle game, analysts say traditional automakers have a leg up, mostly because they already have the infrastructure required to pump out millions of such cars per year. Ford is now going one step farther. The company has filed a patent for an autonomous police cruiser.
The website Motor 1 broke the story. Writer Christopher Smith discovered Ford’s plan while leafing through the company’s most recent patent applications. The cruiser will require a complex A.I. system which has yet to be developed.
It needs to be at a level 4 of autonomy or better. This is when the car can handle itself, without a human constantly controlling it. But a driver may be required for some functions. At level 5, a human is not required at all. Ford and GM are developing level 4 and 5 models, as is a company called Waymo.
The self-driving cop car would be supported by an elaborate system, including on-board and roadside sensors and surveillance cameras. These would detect infractions. Depending on the type and level of violation, the car would decide whether to go in pursuit or remotely issue a citation for an infraction.
Illustration for Ford’s proposed self-driving police car. Credit: U.S. Patent Office.
Relying on wireless, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, the autonomous cruiser would be able to pull up your driver’s license information (if your car wasn’t self-driving), check your speedometer, and even get footage from red light cameras along your route. Then, it would decide what to do.
There’s been no word yet on how it will make such decisions. Not only could this lead to the loss of jobs for police, but it would spell the end of the time honored tradition of roadside arbitration. At least today, you have a chance at talking the cop out of a ticket.
Ford believes the vehicle could help find highway patrol officers better places to hide from passing motorists, and the self-driving option might free up an on-board officer, who would spend his or her time performing tasks that the computer doesn’t do well. Giving such technology powers over the public generates a lot of questions and anxiety.
Could it get hacked? Would freeing up the officer allow him or her to look more closely into passing motorists’ immigration status, and whether or not they have outstanding warrants? Would the robocar understand special circumstances, such as an anxious husband rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital? Another question is exactly how fair such a system would be.
Although on the surface, A.I. looks as if it’s free of the prejudices normal humans carry, research has shown quite the opposite. A.I. adopts the biases of programmers and any humans it interacts with. Considering problems with racial profiling and systemic racial injustice in the criminal justice system, there’s a fear that such a vehicle would merely extend inherent biases, perhaps in a way that’s trickier to recognize.
Keep in mind that not every patent leads to a finished product. Still, these are elements to weigh carefully, should a Robocop on wheels become a reality for everyday motorists.
Police in Dubai already use self-driving cars. Want to learn more? Click here:
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
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Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.
- Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
- One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
- "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.