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PBS Special Bring Autonomous Driving into the Spotlight

November 06, 2019 10:40 AM | Joe Moore (Administrator)

Aired on October 23, NOVA episode "Look Who's Driving" spends the greater part of an hour taking an in-depth view on the challenges of autonomous driving, where it needs to go, and where it is now. Here's their official description:

After years of anticipation, autonomous vehicles are now being tested on public roads around the world. As ambitious innovators race to develop what they see as the next high-tech pot of gold, some experts warn there are still daunting challenges ahead, including how to train artificial intelligence to be better than humans at making life-and-death decisions. How do self-driving cars work?

Click here to watch* the video "Look Who's Driving"

* This video's availability to watch for free ends November 20, so don't wait!

My take:

Though it's definitely made to be understandable to the layman, they do bring up important questions of technology, safety, and ethics and dive in to each to a somewhat satisfying degree. As an admittedly biased Tesla driver, I do think that they shed of a more negative light on Teslas than perhaps is warranted. It's true that more autonomous accidents have occurred in Teslas than any other brand, but that's because there are a staggeringly greater amount of "self-driving" Teslas than any other brand on the road! This fact also leads to a glaring omission of the TV program: as the quality of the machine learning is directly tied to the amount of real-world driving experience, Tesla is millions of miles driven ahead of other autonomous driving software companies.

Other than those drawbacks, I really enjoyed the video and thought they did a pretty good job overall in providing 1. solid content and 2. a relatively balanced tone. Even their pessimistic commentators (excepting the woman from Duke University) had valid points that I found myself sympathetic to.

What did you think of the video? Love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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