Ban Private Cars in London)
We’ve been Ubered!
Driverless vehicles are presented in very simplistic terms, as futuristic saviours, solving congestion, making streets safer and even saving the planet. Like Uber, they claim to work for the good of the community but in reality such companies are not actually interested in genuine change, for all their bluster about “radical disruption”. Self-driving cars are a sticking plaster over existing conditions.
My year long research reveals a complex, darker and more disturbing direction, that mirrors the uncertain times we are living in. I believe that if we accept this Trojan Horse through our city gates, we will be more vulnerable to cyber attack. We also become easier prey to an authoritarian dystopian world where our public space can be controlled by outside forces.
What’s in the code?
My blog article What does the dieselgate scandal tell us about the algorithmic transparency of driverless vehicles? explores how difficult it was for expert researchers to completely unravel and identify the dieselgate code responsible for an estimated 38,000 extra global deaths per year.
Many experts believe that corporations and governments are taking advantage of a lack of computer literacy, so that communities become unable to understand and thereby scrutinise new technologies like drones and automated vehicles.
However Robert Bell, co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum believes it goes even further :
“Transparency is the great challenge. As these things exert more and more influence, we want to know how they work, what choices are being made and who is responsible. The irony is that, as the algorithms become more complex, the creators of them increasingly do not know what is going on inside the black box. How, then, can they improve transparency?”
Both Elon Musk and Steven Hawking have been warning about an Artificial intelligence ‘arms race’
The crossover between corporations working for Military and Commercial operations makes this scenario even more worrying. For instance Siemens, Google and Volvo all work for the US military. I have asked for clarification on the cyber security, algorithmic transparency and accountability of driverless vehicles at public meetings and have been quickly closed down on grounds of ‘sensitivity’.
The main players, China, Russia, US and Israel all have automated weaponry.
The US military has ‘Zombie trucks’ and drones,
Russia has it’s killer robot ‘Iron Man’ and driverless programme
Israel has driverless patrols of the Gaza strip
All of these represent automated technology that has the potential to be used in a public space.
Who wants this killer technology?
“They are going to go to tyrannical dictators who often have trouble convincing their militaries to attack their own people, which we saw in Egypt,” Asaro said. “The military refused to attack people in Tahrir Square.”
The question of who is to be killed in an ‘accident’ also remains problematic. There are so-called “algorithms of death”