The self-driving car tech industry is in collective “freak-out” mode after one of Uber’s mindless self-driving cars killed an Arizona pedestrian last Sunday. Uber has “temporarily” paused road testing until this killing machine incident has been investigated in detail.
The victim, Elaine Herzberg, was a 49-year-old woman in Tempe. She was minding her own business crossing a four-lane road pushing her bicycle when she was hit at 38 mph and killed by an Uber vehicle using the company’s self-driving technology.
This very sad event is a huge wakeup call. The killing of Elaine Herzberg on March 18, 2018 will be remembered as the first pedestrian death by a self-driving car, in this case an Uber self-driving car.
As a culture and a civil society, we must stop this insanity before we ourselves are run over by it.
Nobody seems to want to take responsibility for Elaine Herzberg’s death. Uber’s public relations department, @Uber_comms, tweeted:
Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We’re fully cooperating with @TempePolice and local authorities as they investigate this incident.
— Uber Comms (@Uber_Comms) March 19, 2018
As they investigate this incident? What about Uber’s responsibility in this killing? Twelve hours after the incident Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted:
Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona. We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened. https://t.co/cwTCVJjEuz
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) March 19, 2018
What happened was your brilliant self-driving car just killed a woman in the reckless pursuit of a self-driving car utopia. In fact, it’s unclear if the Uber vehicle even slowed down when Elaine Herzberg was hit and killed. Then, to add insult to her needless killing, with bone-chilling coldness, Tempe police chief Sylvia Moir said “Uber would likely not be at fault in this accident.”
Are you freaking kidding me? That a mindless self-driving car killed, yes murdered, an innocent woman on a public road in pursuit of machine over man is somehow nobody’s responsibility? How did we get to this point, you ask?
I examined this in a prescient Daily Caller op-ed from December 2017. (RELATED: NEWSFLASH, PEOPLE: Human Drivers Are Much Safer Than Soulless ‘Autonomous’ Vehicles)
This self-driving vehicle fantasy world is going to begin to hit all of us next few years. Driving under the radar with high-tech gadgetry, numerous in and around vehicle cameras, computer programming, algorithms, and the raw greed of car and technology companies, what we are witnessing is nothing less than complete insanity and the breakdown of logic and reason. Self-driving vehicles (also known as “head-less”, “autonomous”, or “driverless” vehicles) are sneaking into our cities first (currently over 50 cities globally are testing).
Next are the nation’s highways with the goal of complete domination of all roads by the year 2040.
I’m not kidding.
If you think this is a joke just look at some of the companies investing billions and billions to make this happen: Google, Apple, Intel, Uber, Lyft, General Motors, Waymo, Tesla, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, Samsung, Volvo, Fiat Chrysler, BMW, Audi and dozens of existing and startup technology companies. Why, you ask? Just follow the money. There is a multi-trillion-dollar pot of gold at the end of the self-driving rainbow! All of these companies and more are chasing the projections that by 2040 the self-driving market will be in the trillions of dollars.
Self-driving vehicle technology is computer programming algorithms with “deep learning” that supposedly mimics human beings. But the technology is actually counter to human learning because it cannot take into account the human soul or morality.
Every trip by a car or truck is different and new every second of travel — every time, even though it may take the same route every day and depart at the same time. Machine “deep learning” cannot and will not ever replace the human mind combined with soul-inspired morality. We must contemplate and think on the bigger questions about this technology now before self-driving vehicles “accidentally” begin to kill many of us while taking no responsibility.
This is only the beginning of a David vs. Goliath battle between those of us who believe machines make at best good and efficient servants versus those who think programming, algorithms and artificial intelligence can magically perform “deep learning” without a soul and make more ethical and safer driving decisions than humans.
Michael Nalepka is the CEO of VideoProtects.com and a leading industry expert in vehicle video recording, the Internet of Things and the “Connected Car.”
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.