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Category Archives: TED Talks

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It’s been a month since the last blog post and with good cause, as life decided to shift gears with the forward momentum of engine failure.  Luckily, I have pushed my own car before.

Due to the famous entropy based method known as ‘re-org’, I have been given the new opportunity of re-evaluating future options.  In other words, as I walk down the street with a cardboard box in my hands, I’m hoping to take this chance to improve.  Improve myself, my skill set and try to find a better position (Note: This double entendre has been brought to you by chess).
To give it some depth, it was fourteen years of service and I admit, that I had originally planned around the idea of retiring there.  So, ouch.  However, as someone who has played games on a competitive level, bad blows and ‘BM’ happens.  You clear your mind and look forward for the next challenge.  It is funny though, one doesn’t normally question the wisdom of the kings until you realize, “Hey, wait a second.  This decision is negatively impacting me.  You’re pulling a ‘SURPRISE MUTHERFUCKER”??  Oh SON OF A…”

Now just to be honest, a thousand jokes and barbs did pass through my mind and I pondered about what jokes I would write about in self centered retort; its quite true that comedy comes from tragedy.  However, I think I’ll save those for another time.

As for TED Talks, there is something about them that I should point out.

I love dessert at the end of a nice meal.  A cheesecake, a creme brulee, or even a ice cream run to Dairy Queen.  However, it is something that stands out as unique to the rest of the meal.  It’s a treat.

The Ted Talks aren’t the main course to a person’s day.  They are a dessert.

An eight and a half hour job, on the other hand, is a meal that is missing something that the Ted Talks do provide in sustenance.  Now this is just an opinion and like all opinions, it is subject to change in the future but I admit I had a hard time wanting to watch a TT when there’s so many other things to be done.  (I like to keep myself busy)

So let’s start with a feel good.

 

No comments this time, no attempt to be witty or to play armchair critic and no need to delve into research.  It certainly stands well on its own.

Now that’s something we all want.

Looking for work and share,

ED

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Posted by on August 23, 2014 in In General.., TED Talks

 
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Wade Davis: Gorgeous photos of a backyard wilderness worth saving

Wade Davis: Gorgeous photos of a backyard wilderness worth saving

Length: 6 Minutes, 35 seconds

Total Views so far: 298,631

Happy Canada Day!

And because I’m curious about it, I did a search on Ted Talks for ‘Canada’ and tonight’s selection did seem quite intriguing.  (Admittedly enough, this is close to rolling a die and seeing what would come up, but It’s a good talk)

Simply put, it is about preservation of the British Columbia ecosystem versus the exploration for natural gas in the area.  (and then some, I’m just summarizing)

Wait, this video was filmed in 2012.  Was this resolved?  A quick view of the comments below implies that it has (with one comment stating that it is resolved).

A quick search of the internet and the agreement is found and is available.  This release was done on December 18, 2012 and is in favor of preserving the area, and for Shell to withdraw plans from exploring for natural gas in the Kapplan.  http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2009-2013/2012EMNG0073-002054.htm

Is this actually a form of Ted Talks protest?  Was Davis able to gather enough support from the Ted Talks specifically to affect matters?  Or was the Tahltan Central Council able to succeed on its own?

I’m afraid some of these are questions I am unable to answer, however it is also readily apparent that this subject of debate is far from over.  As of a few days ago, the Keystone XL pipeline was in the headlines as it was being placed into question by the president of the United States.

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/06/25/keystone_xl_barack_obama_casts_doubt_on_pipeline.html

So it certainly does not seem that this Ted Talk is moot, despite the fact the primary subject in question has been resolved.  Nor are Ted Talks the front means to bring awareness to the issue.  (Another commenter mentions searching for Moccasins on the Ground, and this brings up the Tar Sands blockade:  Found here: http://www.peacefuluprising.org/moccasins)

And as these issues are ongoing, I will curve back to the subject which is this Ted Talk.  As it has been resolved, it might be better to bring up my own reactions as opposed to questions.

Davis shows some of the most beautiful pictures I’ve seen regarding the wonder of nature.

Now I have clearly identified myself as a Canadian and over the years every time Canada is mentioned in an advertisement, the first image they bring up (and I mentally bring up) is its beautiful nature filled environments (plus the sound of a loon).  On the flip side, when Davis describes the pictures as my backyard I lose the suspension of disbelief a lecture begins with.  It ISN’T “my” backyard, in the sense for a city dwelling mouse in a maze.  I understand the idea that this serenity belongs to all of us, yet I don’t immediately recognize it as my own backyard and thus I have to connect a mental bridge to see it as anyone’s backyard.

It’s a very vague point but I am under the impression that this is one of the reasons why a talk like this is delivered in this manner.  The words seem precise, and specific to this reason.

In searching more about this kind of topic, it also brings up the question of tar sands.  I’ve heard for years, that the tar sands was this wellspring of an economy but I don’t know the specifics.  I see commercials when I go to the movies regarding how they’re developing technology around it.

A quick search on Youtube for “Tar Sands Learn more” brings pages upon pages of material to absorb.  (too much to link all of them)  However it does let me know how blind I am to the situation and I would assume that I have at least about twenty hours of video and articles to ingest (that’s a guess) before I could even attempt to make a judgement call on what I’m seeing.

So what does my gut tell me right now?  What would I believe to be important without knowing a single thing?  Or I suppose, how should I interpret this Ted Talk in regards to Davis’ subject?

The photographs are beautiful.  If I had seen them isolated from the talk, I might naturally believed them to be from Canada.  However, the photographs alone are not enough to compel me to think about it further.  So to speak, it is a pleasing distraction but it isn’t one I’m directly associating to the day to day life of a city based individual.  I have to make a few mental steps to re-associate myself with the fact that environment plays its own role in the human living equation.

For instance,  single person, who happens to be hard working, contributes to society, etc, happens to live in a condo.  The equivalent of a tiny cube located in the sky.

A family, equivalent to the above, lives in a house in the suburbs,  A larger space required for a larger number of people but they too might effectively have a cube of space to themselves individually.

Insert a farmer.  An individual who needs acres of land and in order to produce, requires a much larger, more vast amount of space.  This audience seems like the first to understand the quandary at large.

Now let’s go out on a limb here and go HIGHLY specific.  A person that creates goods from ‘free range’ livestock (eg> I dunno, a fisherman), and suddenly you’re not just including a person but the animal’s territories of space for work.  I’m not even going to guess how this might expand if that animal was a predator (eg> a wolf) that had to follow another creature’s migration patterns.  (enlarging the amount of space required yet again).

The contrast is gigantic.  It isn’t surprising that city based individuals may consider themselves more observers than participants to the ordeal in question.  And even a bigger question, even in a world of social media, would information be enough to compel people to care?  Would they need to experience it first?  How does one get that experience without being invited to it?

This is quite hypothetical, so I’m going to do some more research.

On the other hand, what I do know, is that when a commercial about Canada appears, what I expect to see is the beautiful nature filled environment.

That says something on its own too.

Happy Canada Day,

ED

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in TED Talks

 
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Erik Schlangen: A “self-healing” asphalt

(A shorter post this evening)

This week I have the joy of wearing a different hat in the evenings while being the asm for a great community theater show continuing into it’s second week.  Young Frankenstein!

 

(The hours are long, the work both tedious and exhausting, the cast and crew are gigantic, meaning standard politics and group dynamics apply, and I get zero pay.  It’s still worth it)

However, on this past Saturday I had the notion of doing a quick shopping run for some things before that evening’s program.  I had approximately three hours left in the day and I made a quick assessment.  It would take approximately a half hour to drive the distance, maybe twenty minutes at the store, and a half hour back, which should have been plenty of time to make the show.

Much to my surprise, the main road to the highway was backed up by a hundred cars due to road construction.  I navigated around and took the side routes (these were also “busy” but I had expectation it would clear up) only to encounter additional slowdowns due to even MORE road construction.  And this happened repeatedly.

Long story short, I never completed my shopping task.  At the hour and twenty mark I had to turn back to ensure I’d make that evening’s start time, all the while grumbling and mentally dissecting the problems of traffic congestion.

What is the deal with road construction?  Admittedly enough, it is the start of spring and it’s time for these projects to bloom like dandelions on a lawn but this was ridiculous.

The traffic flow design, had failed me.  I was unable to reach my destination (within the time limit that I had), what could have stopped this?

In the land of Ted Talks, this could have helped enormously.

Speaker: Erik Schlangen

Total Video Time: 6 minutes, 50 seconds

SELF HEALING ASPHALT.  Why isn’t this stuff everywhere already?

To be honest, the first few minute and a half is exactly what I look like whenever I cook dinner.  It’s just as dangerous, and what comes out of the microwave looks exactly like a brick of asphalt.

Just trust me when I say it tastes better than it looks.

Now memory metal has been around for a while and this demonstration immediately made me think of that.  Effectively, like the T-1000 from the Terminator movies, it’s a metal that reshapes itself back into it’s original ‘shaped’ form when heat is applied.  However, in Schlangen’s demonstration he actually ‘splits’ the block and mentions it needs to be cooled so it’s obviously not that.

In any case, you can learn more about the metal here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shape-memory_alloy

A quick video too:

So if this asphalt isn’t made up of memory metal, then what the heck?  Is it really something as simple as steel wool?  Can tiny steel wool fibers really provide that much strength to something as porous as asphalt?

Obviously, as due to the experiment revealed, the answer is yes.  He microwaves the asphalt for only two minutes AND UNLIKE when I cook, the microwave did not explode nor did any fire alarms set off.  This tells me that the overall temperature isn’t excessively hot and the steel wool’s heat related expansion/contraction probably realigns it in a way similar to velcro.

Of course, this is simply my conjecture and a made up way of describing it that makes easy sense (and VERY likely all wrong) and the real science can be found elsewhere.

Schlangen’s paper describing the process and materials, can be found here: (7 Mb file) http://repository.tudelft.nl/view/ir/uuid%3Adea292f3-15ee-490a-a59c-5365df63bc16/

I really look forward to the day where ideas like these are implemented in everyday use.

Maybe by then, I’ll have learned how to properly use a microwave.

Drive safe and share,

ED

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2013 in TED Talks

 
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Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

And now for something completely different (as I attempt to purposely embed video).

(I guess I’ll find out if this worked out, later… why do I take notes of this stuff and put it IN the blog?)

Are you over worked?  Is your day filled with stress or little annoyances or people you want to strangle?  Maybe you need a psychiatrist, maybe you need a vacation or maybe, just maybe you need 10 minutes.

According to Puddicombe, ‘all it takes is 10 mindful minutes’ to reset the operating system.  I like this thought, the human body is a machine and thus logically, so is the brain and its thoughts.  It certainly makes sense that there is a physical component that could be applied to reset the brain instead of trying to utilize our own mental thoughts to cleanly wipe itself clear.  So why not try create focus, calm and clarity by performing this technique?

A couple quick comments (and admittedly enough, I’m feeling completely unprofessional this morning):

1) I thought, “Hey, that guy looks like a monk!” -> He is!  (Or was!)

2) He’s holding three balls, is he going to juggle?  I hope he juggles.  -> He does!  (I doubt that was taught in the temple but it proves his point of reduced concentration to achieve results)

3) My gut reaction when he says (paraphrasing), “When have you done absolutely nothing for ten minutes?” -> He’s obviously never worked in an office before, that’s 7.5 hours of nothing!  Kidding!

These kind of talks are very refreshing at times as it has a very grounded feeling of understanding where he is coming from and which direction he is directing the talk towards.  To be honest, all it takes is the title of the talk and you know exactly what its about and possibly a natural inclination of the benefits of doing so.

As we want to follow the scientific method of finding results, I will take MY 10 mindful minutes now..

Three Things you could learn about taking mindful minutes

1) It keeps yourself idealistic

The world is almost designed to make oneself pessimistic in nature.  There are often times too many pitfalls, mistakes and grievances that cannot be resolved and so it leaves a bad mental afterthought.  In some aspects it’s the lack of closure and in others it is the lack of progression.

I personally have felt myself quite tested in recent days, not only have I “not progressed” in my daytime ambitions, in many ways it feels like I have actually taken a step or two backwards.  These are not pleasant feelings.  These are the kind of emotions tied to aggression and a yearning to force change before change is ready.  It is a mental tightrope walk where falling is not an option.

Enter the mindful minutes, it’s the pseudo equivalent of counting to ten before reacting to stimulus.  It’s surprising how often THAT isn’t done let alone taking 10 minutes to be mindfully aware of situations.  It certainly does help.

2) Taking 10 minutes to just observe, makes you feel like a kid again

I turned on a stopwatch and let my ten minutes start.   My initial reaction was that having a clock slowly counting was enough to nullify my mindful minutes but given that I wanted to limit my initial testing I kept it going.  My second observation was that taking time to do nothing had a similar sensation to going outside for a cigarette.  It’s ‘time away’, or ‘away from the chaos inside’.  However, it was around here that I started becoming uncertain if daydreaming or paraphrasing experience probably wasn’t what this was supposed to be about.

I started observing my environment, the room itself and level of brightness, how my body felt (a bit sore from working out) and that I could hear my nose.  That’s not good, was my nose always making this noise?  How many people has this annoyed without me being aware of it, or is this some new thing I’ve just discovered?  Feeling I was going offtrack again, i continued to observe.

Around this time I started getting mental flashbacks of childhood where ‘this’ was the mental environment at the time.  When I was very small I wasn’t interacting or expected to interact with adults, it was just clear observation.  My mind wasn’t actively designing on problems or boggled with thought, it was just absorbing my senses.  It’s exactly how I remember being as a kid, and I’m legitimately surprised that I haven’t done something like this sooner.

The clock was still running and I’m occasionally taking the time to observe specifically that.  For myself, I know that I concentrate better when I am able to look at objects in the far distance, it’s probably due to the relaxation of the eyes and I’m painfully aware of this concept as I wish my timer was far far away instead of being so close.

Ten minutes finish up.  Was that sip of my drink that I took midway disruptive to the experiment?  Was my initial daydreaming part of or distraction from true minutes of doing ‘nothing’?  I don’t know, but I’ll have to try this again sometime.

3) You’re 1% on the way to enlightenment

This guy was a monk, and if it followed the ‘zen’ path it was seeking enlightenment.  What does it mean to be enlightened?

I know the following (I’m not checking facts if this was from anything either).  The cause of suffering is desire, to end desire is to end suffering.  To be truly enlightened, one would have no desires and likewise no burdens of suffering.

These mindful minutes reminded me of creating a moment in time where we can become, if only temporarily, “enlightened”.  It might not be true 23 hours and 50 minutes a day, but for a solid ten minutes I can try to not have a single desire.  To be carefree and not carry the paranoia of other people judging me or that I was not observant enough in my own day to day routine.

It appears that everything starts with awareness.  Something can only be remembered if we were aware of it to begin with, it appears that mindful minutes might be tied to having awareness of thought and so enlightenment is a by product of complete awareness.  And that’s not possible in a Las Vegas casino (aka, in our lives today.  And by Casino, I’m just using that as a description).

Well, that was highly interesting.  Take ten minutes and try it out yourself.

Enlightened to share

ED

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2013 in TED Talks

 
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Jeff Hawkins: How brain science will change computing

I like to drive at night.  I drive like a rat in a maze where I twist in circles and follow a complex pattern that I have memorized so well I could probably do it blindfolded.  (That is, if rats could drive a crappy rust bucket that is leaking oil)

In any case, while I mindlessly drive the maze of streets that I’ve memorized my eyes have a tendency to catch whatever small changes that have occurred on the various routes.  It’s sort of like flipping through a photo album except that you spot the difference instead of reminisce.

My mind also wanders and I find myself in crazy man debate.  The kind of debate where crazy man goes into the hermit hill and bounces ideas back and forth.  And this nonsense eventually led to computers and artificial intelligence.

Now I do not program artificial intelligence so I haven’t the faintest idea of how it is done.  In any case, it was that mental tennis game that made me search for the following Ted Talk below.

LINK: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jeff_hawkins_on_how_brain_science_will_change_computing.html

Date Filmed: May 2007

Length: 20 minutes, 16 seconds

Total Views so far: 602,588

One Sentence Summary: “Human brain theory is revolves around prediction and notice how this doesn’t involve computers.”

PS> “Computers which can envision the future from memory and sensors are the future.”

Note: Hawkins speaks so much about brain theory that computers don’t really come into play until the very very end.

Now if computers ever came to the point that they would be able to comfortably program themselves via sensory data, I wondered if what would the best way to achieve this to be?

Using the human brain as the sample, what if it was two computers that were designed to program the other, and that they were specific to what details they could program?

For instance, left and right brain control logic and creativity.  So what if, one side of this AI was looking out for ‘creative’ inputs (what’s new, creating identifications) and the other side was strictly looking out for ‘logical’ inputs (mathematical identifications, examining trial and error).

And the piece where I became stuck, was that the logical side of the brain is set up to be programming the creative side while the creative side is programming the logical side.

Like I said, I’m not out to program AI.  The closest I have ever come to viewing the process was watching a student attempt to program a chess game.

In any case, Hawkins brings a very fascinating and amusing talk on how the brain functions and the perceptions of how it works.

‘We’re brains talking to other brains’, is a good quote, because it combines well with another good quote he makes which is (paraphrasing) ‘if you see a nose where you’re predicting an eye you go Holy Shit!’.

So what happens when a brain attempts to talk to a nose?  It’s a Holy Shit moment that fires off in the brain and suddenly you’re on tilt of the situation.

Doesn’t this describe every argument, misunderstanding or conflict?  You’re a brain trying to talk to another brain and you end up bumping into a nose.  That’s like, what the fuck is your nose doing where your brain should be?  What are you some kind of nose brain monster?

This kind of talk is more easily understood by replacing ‘nose’ with something more survival instinct like ‘stomach’ or ‘penis’, but you get the idea.

What’s really interesting is the fact that this talk is from 2007.  And since it’s five years later, there has been a hell of a lot of advancements in computers (and treos) since that time.  For one, a month after this Tedtalk, the iPhone was released to the unsuspecting public and that probably changed a whole mess of things.  (When it comes to handheld devices)

What caught me off guard

Wow, if I was blindfolded I would have thought this was a younger Clifford Stoll speaking.  Seriously.

This guy is all over the place, and he’s making jokes in the forms of statements that I’m not sure if he seems them as jokes.  It’s really amusing nonetheless.

And Hawkins brings up some very interesting things about the nature of brain science.  Instead of breaking the brain up into particular parts (say, in the way Jill Taylor did) it’s more about the entire experience.  (Also reminded me of Future Physicist work in a way, but I digress)

Human memory works by first processing the data.  If you’re in the dark and something walks by, you won’t remember it because it was dark.  Same applies if it’s a piece of logic you’re unfamiliar with or something is truly ‘new’ while you’re new to it all.  All that’s wiped out and ignored like a mathematical proof defining the initial assumptions and variables.

I think Hawkins said a few things that were just outright incorrect, but it doesn’t matter if they are or are not incorrect because that result doesn’t apply to his talk.  It’s a very high level mode of thought that few people take the road on because it invites contradiction.

However, my biggest surprise is the fact that this Talk included the term ‘computing’.  Hawkins really doesn’t drill deep enough into computers to explain how a computer will sense or what it means to truly ‘remember’ or have a memory of something.  On the other hand, learning how the brain works is really quite rewarding.

It does make me wonder about the singularity idea.  The idea that eventually computers will become so ‘intelligent’ that they are able to upgrade themselves faster than humans are capable and at a speed that is faster and faster until eventually computers simply handle everything.

That’s my description, I can probably find a better one.

The Singularity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity

There’s bound to be a few people who might want to argue that the Singularity is the future.  That it will be mankind’s future or the computer’s eventual future or maybe it’s for computers that drive through mazes like rats.  I don’t really know.

What I do know is that every once in a while, I go ‘Holy Shit, that’s a nose!’.

ED

– Updated every Friday

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in TED Talks

 

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Hans Rosling: The magic washing machine

Every once in a while, the TED Talks will come up in casual conversation.  Every once in a while, I even find myself quoting a TED Talk.

Frankly, I’m quite shocked I haven’t covered this TED Talk yet because I have a tendency to quote it so much.

Rosling, the man who loves the washing machine, can be seen here.

LINK: http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_and_the_magic_washing_machine.html

Date Filmed: Dec 2010

Length: 9 minutes, 15 seconds

Total Views so far: 926,503

One Sentence Summary: “The world needs basic technology, more than keeping the world green.”

I’m not entirely certain if my summary of the TED Talk is particularly fair, as it implies an environmentally unfriendly attitude.  In relation to some of the previous EDTalksTed entries, Rosling even mentions that the danger of global warning is real but the benefits of giving access to a time saving device like the washing machine is all together more important.

What surprises me in this TED Talk is that Rosling is able to find a graphic that so clearly demonstrates the ‘lack’ of technology that exists in other parts of the world.  The idea of using little gray dots to represent energy consumption clearly shows that we live in an unbalanced world of technology.

Let’s face the reality, none of us really demand that we consume more energy than the rest of the world, it’s a by product of it’s natural state.

So when it comes to tackling the issue of making the world a better more ‘greener’ place, it’s us lucky consumers who utilize the most should be looking for greener alternate methods.

And that’s an 80/20 percent ratio, one could make some interesting comparisons to a 99/1 percent ratio.  (Although I’ll save those arguments for another day)

My favorite quote: “Even the hardcore in the green movement use washing machine” (4:40 mark)

This is like bringing a gun to a knife fight when it comes to finding a weak point in overzealous green students.  There is the possibility that you might be debating with someone who washes their clothing in the river, but that should be quite obvious.

I think this is also the only TED Talk that has a washing machine puppeteer, that’s pretty impressive.

So now that its been discussed, what can we do?

Push our washing machines out to the curb and begin heating our water by fire pit!

Which is a terrible idea, for one, seeing that I’m capable of breaking washing machines every time I turn one on, I’m pretty certain I’d discover ways to ruin open pits of fire.  That and what Rosling says is true, having a washing machine far outweighs the circumstance of not having one.

It would be interesting to see that if in 50 years, will there be a TEDtalk that says something similar about a growth technology today?   An example might be, teaching and the internet?

In any case, that easily forgotten washing machine, makes one hell of a great story.

ED
-Updated every Friday

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in TED Talks

 

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Sebastian Thrun: Google’s driverless car

There are two inventions that I’m really looking forward to.  These aren’t massive inventions that will solve all of the planet’s problems, but they would make a difference.

The first, the invention of the office robot dog.  I did a summer retreat once while on student council (a long time ago) and the cottage we were staying at had a bunch of dogs that lived on the premises.  These dogs would run around and just randomly show up to say ‘hi’ and it was always a welcome surprise.

Mind you, real dogs are a pain to maintain.  They require food, water, exercise and this strange emotion called ‘love’; that’s a long list of things just to keep up a novelty while working.  (Home pets are different, so let’s just accept this difference for the theory)  Ergo, to save a great deal of effort and possibly any allergies / fears, the invention of the robot office dog.

The second invention, is the robot car.  The appropriate nomenclature today is ‘driverless car’, which is a term that simply feels more acceptable as something to insert into the living traffic of today.  (Robots, they get no respect)  The link is below:

Link: http://www.ted.com/talks/sebastian_thrun_google_s_driverless_car.html

Length: 4 Minutes, 14 seconds

Date Filmed: March 2011

One Sentence Summary: “Humans really are crappy drivers, and there’s a lot of hope ahead.”

How it Related to me

Now this is an idea I would support!  I have driven countless hours coming to and fro from the workplace, to meet friends downtown, to go off on gallivanting trips across country.  If I could have used that time doing something else, anything else, it would have been great.  Even if it meant more time playing stupid games on my phone, handheld or reading a book, it would be worth it.

Let’s talk about another car innovation for a moment, the electrical or hybrid vehicle.  This is a great idea for those that are looking to save the environment and at the same time, slowly ween away our reliance on gasoline.  It actually makes sense on many levels but just reducing our general carbon footprint alone is a worthy enough cause.

As an individual who wants to be an early adapter, I thought this would these cars would be the shiznit, the cat’s meow, the freakin’ A!  That even if I didn’t adopt the cars early, there would be many others who would and I could simply buy a used version sometime in the future.

This, quite obviously, hasn’t happened.

And why not?  If I was so grand on the idea of buying a hybrid electric, why haven’t I?

It comes down to pricing point.  The simple fact I’m writing in a blog must be evidence enough that I can’t afford high end items.  (I’m just joking, I’m certain there are many bloggers out there who are wealthy.. somewhere)  And when the hybrid vehicle came out costing anywhere from 10K to 15k more than the same vehicle without the ‘bells and whistles’ of an electric / magical engine that made many potential buyers pause.  Ten thousand dollars more?  Just to be eco-friendly?  How much gas would I need to save in order to make up that value up?

Now admittedly this was a time before when gas prices were only considered ‘ridiculous’ and it had not yet reached the ‘what the fuck this is bullshit’ pricing of the modern day.  In any case, I remember doing the math and realizing that I needed to be driving that one car for over ten years before I was ‘saving money’ from using less gas.  This hurt.

But for a ROBOT car.  Er, but for a DRIVERLESS CAR.  I’d gladly pay the extra ten thousand for that.  Heck, I’d even allow a whole mess of other features that would be deemed inappropriate.

– Car has a maximum speed of 50 km/h -> Sure, I didn’t need to get there that fast anyways.  You know what?  I’ll write my next novel on the road instead.

– Car insults you every time you turn it on -> I can take it, I’ve got rhino skin.  Just get me to my destination without having to look at the road, or be conscious for that matter.

– Car uses TWICE as much gas as a normal car ->  I actually believe this WILL be a mandatory part of the driverless car.  Why?  I don’t know, to appease the oil barons and car manufacturers or something.  Maybe it’ll need to have a constant burning ‘Olympic style torch’ to signify it’s a driverless car.  I don’t care, just put these damn cars to market already!

Because that I am THAT TIRED OF DRIVING.  Actually, that’s not entirely true, I really enjoy driving.  I enjoy driving much more than the average person I’d surmise and it isn’t too uncommon that I’ll go out for a drive on an evening just to get out and feel the city.

“Won’t you miss driving then?” -> Quite possibly, although I’d imagine that initial models will have some kind of ‘manual option’ where one could turn the driverless driver off so you could drive the driven drive off the driveway.  Driving on, even without a manual option, I’d still be content with it.

Wait, given the limitations set above, where each day’s drive costs twice as much, takes double the time and you get to be made insecure through verbal conversation, doesn’t this exist already?

The answer is yes.  They’re called Taxis.

And as much as I dislike taking cabs, the driverless vehicle I’ve described so far is pretty much a glorified taxi cab that has one distinct difference.   The necessity of your own awareness to the outside road, the driver and the fare itself, is strictly voluntary.  That added privacy and comfort time, is well worth it.

That and drivers today are suicidal / ignorant / suffer from compulsive disorders.  People want to use their cellphones, they want to be texting and chatting and surfing.  A decade ago, there was a ‘distracted driver’ ticket where drivers who were distracting themselves were targeted for fine.  One woman, was applying make up, painting her toenails, talking on her phone and driving.  Some guy, was pulled over while he was making a sandwich.  Come on, isn’t obvious that the people want one thing?  Robot dogs!

I mean, driverless cars!

What Caught me Off Guard

This talk is filmed / posted on March of 2011.   2011!!!  If this was an Apple product, we’d be on version 3.0 by now.  Shouldn’t there be a dent of market share of driverless products by now?

Questions

Where is the driverless car today?  Is it still an idea coming to reality?  How much will it cost?

Without needing to look it up, I know the driverless car is currently being tested in the United States.  I’d gladly be a test flunkie for it here in Canada.

And although the car is yet to be in production for sale, there is a state that is preparing for the eventuality.  This would be Nevada during March 2012.  Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/9252657/Driverless-cars-approved-by-Nevada.html

The Google driverless car has appeared in other media as well.  Including television shows like Nova, Stephen Hawking’s Brave New World and others.  (Not to mention hypothetical versions of driverless cars like in Minority Report, Total Recall and Knight Rider)

The wikipedia link for autonomous car is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_car

Despite my best efforts, I cannot find a solid link on how much the driverless car would cost.  However, the costs of the equipment used have been made public, and the costs are mind shattering / overwhelming.  Approximately $150,000 of equipment are thrown into one of these babies and that’s putting the initial line of driverless cars to be in the hands of the super rich only.  (Article can be found here: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/06/google-discloses-costs-of-its-driverless-car-tests/1#.T-QNpbUxO9s)

So now that its been discussed, what can I do?

Unfortunately, it’s the same story that was told for the electric vehicle.  I need to wait and hope that it will become popular and heavily integrated into society.  Maybe then I’ll be able to buy a used one.

ED

– Updated every Friday

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in TED Talks

 

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