Category Archives: artificial intelligence

The Self-Driving Car Conundrum

Self-driving cars are inevitable. Tesla, Ford, BMW, Nissan, GM, Google, Baidu, Apple, Amazon, Uber, Lyft, and many more companies are all working on developing autonomous driving systems for their vehicles. It is not a matter of if, but when. Self-driving automobiles will be ubiquitous in the future. There is one core conundrum with self-driving cars, however. Self-driving cars will only work if there are only self-driving cars.

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Death by Self-Driving Car

Death by Self-Driving Car is a collection of three short stories about the near-future prospects of autonomous automobiles and their potential impact on society.

“The Autonomous Trolley Problem” is a new spin on the classic philosophical thought experiment. What was originally proposed as an insoluble ethical dilemma may soon need to be solved when programming self-driving algorithms in the real world.

“Redundant Truckers” is about the mass unemployment former truck drivers could face in the wake of self-driving semi-trucks such as those being developed by Uber’s “Otto,” as well as the possibility of Universal Basic Income (UBI) to address that issue.

Finally, the titular story, “Death by Self-Driving Car,” is a Sherlock Holmes-style detective mystery about an insurance investigator hired to look into a rare self-driving car accident that resulted in the death of a human passenger.

Death by Self-Driving Car is now available as an ebook on Amazon, free to read for Kindle Unlimited members. You can also buy the ebook from me directly via PayPal, Cash App, Bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies at any price of your choosing. Just email me with your preferred file format (PDF, EPUB, MOBI) and payment method.

Recommendation Algorithms Rule Your Life

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Cultural critics used to be essential curators of music, movies, books, and art. When there were only a couple of newspapers or radio stations or TV stations, the select few professional critics had enormous power in telling the public which art they should pay attention to. Then came the internet and everything changed. With blogs, message boards, and podcasts, anybody could become a critic. Both the creation and critique of art became more democratic. Traditional critics became less important. People preferred to take recommendations from like-minded people in their specific cultural niche. This gave real cultural power to bloggers and amateur critics on the internet who developed a following. Continue reading

The Power of Science Fiction

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There are essentially two types of science fiction: hard and soft. Soft science fiction is more like fantasy, not obeying the laws of physics (Star Wars) while hard science fiction aims to be scientifically accurate (2001: A Space Odyssey). I love Star Wars, but my real favorite genre is near-future hard science fiction such as Blade RunnerInterstellar, The Martian, Ex Machina, and Her. I think those kinds of stories—built around accurate science and technological innovations that can conceivably happen in the near future—are perhaps the most important form of fiction. Continue reading

In Defense of Elon Musk

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Elon Musk’s appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast will go down in history and be rewatched forever by whatever form of humans/AI exist in the future. I love podcasts and have listened to thousands over the past dozen years, but this one may be my favorite yet. It’s better than the best science fiction movies because it’s not science fiction. High-speed maglev tunnels, self-driving electric cars, solar-powered roofs, AI brain interfaces, space exploration, Mars colonization, and VR simulations are the reality of our present and future. Continue reading

The Greatest Invention in Human History

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The greatest invention in human history is written language. Before writing, to convey any information to anyone, you could only do it through word of mouth to people you saw face to face. For most of human history, we lived in small tribes as hunter-gatherers, so knowledge was only passed on to fellow members of one’s tribe (family and close friends). A son would only know what his father remembered from what his father directly told him, and so on. Continue reading

Why I’m Obsessed With AI

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Over the past couple of years, I have become obsessed with artificial intelligence (AI). If you’re not also obsessed with AI then you probably don’t know enough about AI. To remedy that, read Tim Urban’s massive 2-part post about AI on his blog Wait But Why. Continue reading

Data: The New Most Valuable Resource

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With the recent Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal there’s been a lot of concern over, not just Facebook, but all tech companies and the massive amount of personal data they collect from their users. Most people don’t realize how much personal data they willingly relinquish to tech companies in exchange for their services. Nor do people realize just how valuable their personal data is. Continue reading