Discussion about new technologies

Continuing the discussion from Getting, and using, a Fairphone 2 as a non European:

This topic is rather general and not only Fairphone related. Although FP is going a new way there are more new “technologies”. But not everything new must necessarily be good at this point or maybe the society is not yet ready for it. Hence some new technologies turn out having a rather negative impact. Everyone is invited to contribute their thoughts/experiences about new or upcoming technologies. May it be self-driving cars, fracking, artificial diamonds, etc…

I came across the statement of @Stefan “Tesla simply rolled out an undertested technology killing various people already”.

I´ve opened this topic after my PM to him as I think there is more potential and a lot more opinions from others to read.

My answer to his statement was:

Any technique is only as good as the one finally using it. If someone does not understand how to properly use a technical (non-rocket-science) feature it IMHO does not speak for a bad, “undertested” technique. I surely could manage to crash any plane if I would try to fly one. Pilots usually don´t. But I easily could manage to not get killed while I had a close eye on what the Model S so called “autopilot” was doing. Also I did understand the initial alert before each activation. Obviously the expression “autopilot” has caused a misinterpretation of what it actually is, only an assistant system. I rather believe there are citizens out there not really capable of handling things properly. The lawsuit because of someone being burned from hot coffee was within the US, a grilled dog in a microwave…Toyota also had massive accident problems there and investigations turned out drivers e.g. had replaced car mats with small more comfortable carpets.

Strangely up to now I have never heard of similar accidents in Europe or the east leading to a lawsuit related to hot coffee, self-accelerating crashing Toyotas or Teslas killing autopilot. (there was a smaller Issue on A24 in 2016, but no casualties. The Tesla owner would not acknowledge any autopilot misbehavior but rather human error.)

I do have specific thoughts on all of this.

As far as I’ve followed the Tesla issues, there were human errors by not having understood the capabilities of the auto pilot. People seem to rely too much on the AI when they should not. The AI was not undertested, but was not supposed to react under the circumstances which led to crashes.

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My answer was this: :slight_smile:

I did not know this guy by now, but he seems to be funny.
Unfortunately he points directly to a serious and sad fact I more often have to realize.
Avoidable failures more often lead to blaming a machine instead of someone in charge of controlling or supervising the machine.
Yes, UBER also just recently had a dramatic accident, although it was not a driver-less car.
In this specific case I did wonder what was the purpose of having a human on the driver seat.

But as @Amber already has stated, “human errors” does not seem to get the focus they should IMHO.
It´s the manufacturers of such modern cars having to support investigations of NTSB and explain themself in hearings. This way of treating such issues keeps on putting a negative view on this new technology. So for it´s rather not my question if self-driving cars are save enough, but if (some) drivers can properly handle such a new technique.

I don´t see any reason how come existing laws which we have for using a conventional car seem to stand behind the responsibility of car manufacturers.

In Germany if someone gets killed in an accident by a (conventional) car due to “carelessness” the case is treated as a way of negligent homicide. The law clearly states that the driver at last is in charge of taking care to avoid damage. No excuse will help here to blame any technique. And if so there must be doubtless evidence. Most cars these days also keep some kind of black box. I would not challenge their logged data outcome. By now Toyota and Tesla could reach a better stand due to revealing the logged data.

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