Bleats

Self Driving Cars Need To Realise That People Won’t Stop Jaywalking

We just won't.

Self driving cars have only recently made their way out of the pages of science fiction books and into our lives. Nothing will ever be perfect unfortunately, and last year the death of a pedestrian made headlines after she was hit by a self driving car in Arizona. 

This is what we expected, but sadly it’s not always the case

Elaine Herzberg was pushing her bike across a section of road away from a pedestrian crossing when she was hit. The National Transportation Safety Board over in the States has investigated the crash, and found that there was no system in place for the self driving car to detect jaywalkers, only people who were crossing where there are marked crossings.

The report has not yet decided who is at fault for the accident, but the sector will be watching closely.

The vehicle that hit her was made by Uber, but with upwards of forty companies (including Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, Nissan, Toyota, Audi, Volvo, and Google) either working on or selling self driving cars, it’s an lesson that needs to be learned by the technology industry as a whole.

People jaywalk all the time. They just do. We’ve all done it, and we’ll all continue to do it until the end of time. It’s not something that should be punishable by death, and if it requires a bit of extra coding to make sure that an unmanned hunk of metal flying down the road can stop for people, then so be it.

People will never cross the road sensibly

In a response to the report, Uber has said that “We regret the March 2018 crash involving one of our self-driving vehicles that took Elaine Herzberg’s life… We deeply value the thoroughness of the NTSB’s investigation into the crash and look forward to reviewing their recommendations once issued after the National Transport Safety Board’s meeting later this month.”

It’s a lot of fun to dream about what technology could one day bring us, but not at the expense of people’s safety. If we have to wait a few more years for a self driving car while the bugs get worked out, then you know what? I’m ok with that.

Russia Is Backing Up The Teachers Who Told You That Wikipedia Is Unreliable

Nyet.

Ah Wikipedia, where on earth would I be without you? I definitely wouldn’t have passed most of the assessments that have come my way throughout life, that’s for sure. Despite that, we can now add all of Russia to the giant pile of teachers and professors who are telling everyone it’s unreliable.

My entire academic career

Vladimir Putin, the world leader who puts out an official annual calendar full of pictures of himself, has told a conference about the Russian language that:

“As for Wikipedia … it’s better to replace it with the new Big Russian Encyclopaedia in electronic form. At least that will be reliable information, presented in a good, modern way.”

A whole calendar of this, every year

Russia have had problems with Wikipedia before. They went as far as banning the site from the country back in 2015 over an article about charas, an Indian form of hashish. Apparently the article about the drug contained forbidden information, but the attempt to ban the entirety of Wikipedia over it didn’t go down well, and it was restored within 24 hours. 

As with anything Russia has ever done, it’s go big or go home. Only two months ago, there was an announcement that a law had been drafted with plans to spend 1.7 billion Russian ruble to actually go through with making this Russian Wikipedia between 2020-2022. So it looks like they’re really going to give it a crack.

More worryingly than any of this though, last Friday a new law came into effect that means the Russian government can disconnect entire parts of the globe from being able to be seen by Russians using the internet.

This just got a lot less fun

If they really wanted to, they could entirely isolate Russia from the rest of the world’s internet. Authorities reckon it’s a defence in case of an external attack, but everybody else sees it more as a way to censor information.

If the government ever actually decided to use this new law, then Wikipedia is the least of the Russian people’s worries.

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