Google's Schmidt: Computers, not humans, should be driving cars

Google's Schmidt: Computers, not humans, should be driving cars

Summary: In a presentation at TechCrunch Disrupt, Google CEO Eric Schmidt talked about a technology nirvana between humans and computers - and suggested that computers, not humans, should be driving cars.

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TOPICS: Hardware, CXO, Google
117

Here's an interesting thought: What if computers drove cars and left the passengers to eat, watch movies, maybe even take a nap?

On the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, Google CEO Eric Schmidt suggested that that's the way it really should be. During his presentation, he said:

Your car should drive itself. It's amazing to me that we let humans drive cars. It's a bug that cars were invented before computers.

It's an interesting concept - albeit kind of scary when you think about how often computers crash and can easily be taken down by a worm, bug or virus. The last thing I would ever want to see is a blue screen of death while moving at 65 mph on a Bay Area freeway.

Granted, Schmidt wasn't implying that such technology is coming. It was more of a side thought in a speech that he delivered about the interactions that computers and humans can have to share day-to-day tasks and learn from each other.

Yeah, I know. Kind of creepy, huh? In fact, it's so much so that CNET's Tom Krazit suggested that it may be time for Schmidt to tone down all of this talk about a tech utopia.

The driving thing is interesting to me because I realize that Schmidt can't be the only one thinking about this. Is there really going to be a day when I can't change lanes freely, duck into the carpool lane to go around a slow-poke and then duck back out avoid the ticket? Will there be a day when my speed is not determined by how much of a rush I'm in but rather a speed that a government agency considers to be ideal?

I like to drive - it comes with growing up in California, I suppose. And I also like technology. But I don't think I'm ready now - or ever will be - for a car that takes the driving out of my control and gives it to a computer.

Topics: Hardware, CXO, Google

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117 comments
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  • OH HELL NO!

    We have too much faith in machines already, now we want to let them drive our cars!? Does he want our cars to connect to Google's cloud too?

    Take a look at my avatar, and then think about Mr. Schmidt's thoughts.
    All of this has happened before....
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Google's Schmidt: Computers, not humans, should be driving cars

      @Cylon Centurion 0005

      I actually wish the USA had bullet trains. I'd be happy to ride a bullet train from Sacramento to L.A. in 2 hours instead of driving myself or flying.
      DonRupertBitByte
    • RE: Google's Schmidt: Computers, not humans, should be driving cars

      @Cylon Centurion 0005

      So tell me...do you think human hands will be rotating steering wheels a thousand years from now? Five hundred? I would say it's already time to automate the process, and that the technology necessary to do so already exists. I liked Battlestar Galactica as well, but it's far from an argument against automating our antiquated transportation system.

      gary
      www.prtproject.com
      gdstark13
      • RE: Google's Schmidt: Computers, not humans, should be driving cars

        @gdstark13

        Love your tarded website...LOL
        Raid6
      • RE: Google's Schmidt: Computers, not humans, should be driving cars

        @raid6

        Thanks. Let me know if you have any intelligent feedback.

        gary
        http://www.prtproject.com
        gdstark13
      • 500/1000 years from now

        @gdstark13

        We'll be lucky to still be here...
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Google's Schmidt: Computers, not humans, should be driving cars

        @gdstark13

        Do you think there will be humans a thousand years from now? I doubt it, not unless there's a global war in which, with unbelievable luck, we managed to eliminate every do-gooder liberal on the planet.

        We won't have transportation beyond the horsecart in a thousand years, if we don't stop the collectivists in their tracts TODAY.
        hiraghm@...
      • Feedback

        @gdstark13 - I don't know why these type of things keep getting reintroduced as the "Future of Transportation." The first time I saw this thing was 20 years ago at least. It was pitched as revolutionary then. It was said that by 2010 or 2015 this is how we would get around.

        It's a pipe-dream for engineers. The next transportation revolution is going to be far more consumer friendly. It is, in my opinion, already taking place. It comes in the form of front facing radar assisted brakes, 300+ mile electric cars, integrated navigation/smartphone systems and possibly even speed adjusting cruise control. These simple things are the revolution because they IMPROVE our transportation and the customer experience.

        A little ugly car on rails controlled by a computer won't change the world simply because there isn't anyone willing to pay for it, not consumers, not governments.
        kwabinalars
      • RE: Feedback

        @kwabinalars

        I see the improvements you site as short term solutions. But I recommend you research the cost of maintaining all the asphalt roadways...not insignificant. And if you do go with a fixed rail system, you eliminate batteries. And you no longer run off the road, always a much greater likelihood with asphalt roads than rails.

        gary
        gdstark13
      • RE: Google's Schmidt: Computers, not humans, should be driving cars

        @gdstark13 <br><br>Try posting with advertising. Tard!

        And what is it about freedom that you hate so much?
        Raid6
      • RE: Google's Schmidt: Computers, not humans, should be driving cars

        @Raid6

        Posting with advertising? Hate Freedom? I honestly have no clue what points you're trying to make...sorry.

        gary
        gdstark13
      • RE: Google's Schmidt: Computers, not humans, should be driving cars

        @gdstark13

        Had the same idea when I was 6. Still think it's great. Glad you're pursuing it.
        pappa-t
    • Heaven forfend.

      Computers driving cars. What a horror story. It's not like we'd trust them to monitor vital signs in intensive care, guide a missile or fly a jet liner, now is it?
      steve_jonesuk@...
      • HA!

        @steve_jonesuk@... Nuf said
        happyharry_z
      • jet liner is a bit off as an example...

        @steve_jonesuk@...

        We still don't totally let computers fly airplanes. From the ascent through the approach, we let them... But actually landing the plane and taking off? Are done fly-by-wire, with the pilot(s) in control. Mind you, if the computers all die, the plane is coming down, as the pilot's directions are useless.
        shryko
      • RE: Google's Schmidt: Computers, not humans, should be driving cars

        @steve_jonesuk@...

        Also, they provide targeting date for missiles and torpedoes as well as targeting incoming missiles for missile defense. They can not only automagically administer drugs in response to those vitals, they do a better job of administering the appropriate does and molarity, keep better track of the regularity with which a drug has been administered, and can more quickly calculate dosing.

        @ shryko
        The important part of your statement is "let". There are far fewer take-off/landing failure of drones since they left the testing grounds than their are on jetliners. We don't refrain because we think people do it better. We refrain because, like Mr. Diaz, we like the FEEL of control. So, as he enjoins us we don't DO anything about LEADING cause of death amongst 15-30 year olds in this country, because he LIKES to drive.
        tkejlboom
      • Mr. Jonesuk, would you like the computer in the intensive care

        to make medical decision for you, or just monitor you?

        Yes, the computer can guide a missle to where you programed it to be, which is fine as you are not riding in the missle yourself.

        The computer in your jet liner maintain it's flight, but it does not undertake the flight itself, just maintains the flight once in the air, with plenty of room for error as flights are not confined to the limited area of roadway, with 20,000 other cars around you.
        :|
        Tim Cook
    • It will happen

      @Cylon Centurion 0005 People are too slow, selfish, and error prone to keep driving in an ever more congested travel system. Initially, the cars won't be as fast and they won't be autonomous (really, how many people drive off road?). I myself welcome the idea of using that time for something else, while not getting hurded into trains like cattle or being a slave to the train schedule. It's the new freedom the old car once gave us.
      happyharry_z
      • Computers can be error prone as well

        @happyharry_z

        I just don't understand how using GPS powered computers will benefit us. The highway systems are over-crowded, further increasing the complexity. I wouldn't trust anyone but myself to navigate a congested highway.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • Outside of cities, though...

        @happyharry_z
        ...we're not going to see this outside of these congested cities. After all, without any well-managed infrastructure, there will be issues that humans are better at handling (no defined road, for instance).

        And we're not likely to ever come across this on a large scale until there is some government mandate/standard. After all, you'd need to have all cars speaking to each other/together to manage it all... and you'd need some way for it to manage the few vehicles that aren't fully automated.
        shryko