Favoriting Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from April 1, 2019 Favoriting

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Favoriting April 1, 2019: Sam Schwartz, aka "Gridlock Sam," on autonomous vehicles and "No One at the Wheel"

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This week: Sam Schwartz, aka "Gridlock Sam," on autonomous vehicles and "No One at the Wheel"


Above by Meredith Whittaker.


- - -

Thanks to everyone who supported WFMU and Techtonic during our recent fundraising marathon!

If you missed it, here's how to get the 2019 Techtonic T-shirt: Make a pledge at $10/month and click "1 DJ Premium" (as well as the "WFMU|Radio" T-shirt, the Japanese Funhouse T-shirt, and the bumper sticker!).

Then on the next page under Monday, click "Mark Hurst's Techtonic Anglerfish T-shirt" to get our T-shirt for 2019, shown below:



- - -

Pointers to Sam Schwartz:

Sam Schwartz's bio (GridlockSam.com)

• Sam Schwartz on Twitter: @GridlockSam

No One at the Wheel: Driverless Cars and the Road of the Future, by Sam Schwartz

What We Know About the Congestion Pricing Plan (NYT, March 26, 2019) ... see also Residents Question Details of Congestion Pricing As New Tolls Gain Steam in Albany (West Side Rag, March 28, 2019)

'Gridlock Sam' Touts Support For New York City's Proposed Congestion Pricing (WBUR's Here and Now, March 26, 2019)

Recent tech news:


Above, my take on Apple's recent announcement.


Prosecutors Don’t Plan to Charge Uber in Self-Driving Car’s Fatal Accident (NYT, March 5, 2019): "The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office, which reviewed the case, said in a letter dated Monday that there was 'no basis for criminal liability for the Uber corporation.'"

Pedestrian Deaths Reach Highest Level in Nearly 30 Years (WSJ, Feb 28, 2019): "Smartphones and the prevalence of SUVs are cited as possible reasons for the increase."

Pave Over the Subway? Cities Face Tough Bets on Driverless Cars (NYT, July 20, 2018): "As New York’s subway demands repairs, futurists have proposed paving over all that rail instead for underground highways."

Driverless cars aren’t safe or ready for the road: Robotics expert (CNBC, March 20, 2018): "Duke professor Mary Cummings... says the technology in autonomous vehicles is 'unquestionably unsafe' and 'deeply flawed.'"

Self-Driving Mercedes-Benzes Will Prioritize Occupant Safety over Pedestrians (Car and Driver, Oct 7, 2016): "The world’s oldest carmaker no longer sees the problem, similar to the question from 1967 known as the Trolley Problem, as unanswerable. Rather than tying itself into moral and ethical knots in a crisis, Mercedes-Benz simply intends to program its self-driving cars to save the people inside the car. Every time."

• (via Webhamster Henry) Optimus Ride will provide autonomous shuttles in Brooklyn Navy Yard

• Finally, how to change the volume in your new Apple Car...



Killer Robots Movie Night at WFMU - Friday, May 10 in Monty Hall. See you there!

- - -

Check out techtonic.fm for recent Techtonic interviews and Little Slice of Tech Pie segments.

PODCAST: Subscribe to the Techtonic podcast

Artist Track Images Approx. start time
  Sam Schwartz, aka Gridlock Sam, on autonomous vehicles and his book "No One at the Wheel."
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Favoriting
Favoriting
 
  Mark's intro  
Favoriting
0:00:08 (Pop-up)
  Interview with Sam Schwartz  
Favoriting
0:15:55 (Pop-up)
Gudrun Gut  Baby I Can Drive My Car   Favoriting
Favoriting
0:55:41 (Pop-up)


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Listener comments!

Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:01pm
ultradamno:

Hello Mark, Techril Fools!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm
Phillippe Bastille:

Hi all.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm
brycepunk1:

Good evening Mark, everyone.
Avatar 🤖 6:03pm
herb.nyc:

hola, in honor of Gridlock Sam, I borrowed my friend's metro card and used it to enter the subway, for free! she had used it on the bus first. booyakasha.
Avatar 6:03pm
TDK60:

Hi Mark. Techril fools we are, ultradamno?
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:03pm
Bas NL:

Hi Mark! Can't beat a Techril Fools, Ultradamno.. ;)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm
Ike:

I like Gridlock Sam. For those who like to nerd out and read about the woes of the NYC subway in way too much detail, you should also check out the Second Ave. Sagas website: secondavenuesagas.com
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:05pm
chris:

currently mixing another martini from the back seat of my self driving car. robots are great! hi, Mark and techcarnaughts.
Avatar 6:06pm
Beast of Boonton:

Hello Mark!
People are already planning on having sex in autonomous cars. Beware upon entry folks!
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:07pm
Bas NL:

Killer Robots Movie Night.. O man.. teleport i need you.
  6:07pm
melinda:

Hi everyone
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:08pm
Ken From Hyde Park:

We can't be Techtodrivers anymore?
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:08pm
Bas NL:

April 1st fake news only..
  6:09pm
Sam:

Good one! But you should have started the show with that with no explanation, it would’ve been funnier.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:10pm
dale:

i could get behind full size slot cars.
  6:11pm
Sam:

“It’s ok to stop.” True for ALL tech.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:12pm
Bas NL:

Driving under the influence of 4 AA batteries..
  6:12pm
hendrix wolfbat:

That completely sucks. Did Uber pay off that city or something?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm
Haiku Henry:

Hi Mark. Always great to catch your show!
  6:13pm
mr_donutsu:

Seems the same for any car-pedestrian/cyclist death. Rarely is anyone ever charged it seems.
  6:14pm
Sam:

People drive these huge ass monstrosities that will absolutely kill you if they hit you at an speed. You no longer go up on the hood, you get slammed into the road and probably run over.
Avatar 6:14pm
TDK60:

I'm sorry but the idea that folks think they can walk down the sidewalk or even drive and not pay attention is just selfish bullshit, plain and simple.
Avatar 🤖 6:14pm
herb.nyc:

it's terrible about the rise in pedestrian deaths. but I'd like to see data about pedestrians NOT killed. it's gotta be a rise as well.
  6:14pm
Sam:

Also more people are walking, and walking distracted.
  6:15pm
John from Florham Park:

I don’t think I would ever be a in a self driving car
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm
dale:

cow catchers on the front of SUVs may be worth exploring.
  6:16pm
Dave from Brooklyn:

Citizens United,according to our Supreme Court, has ruled corporations are like humans,and,therefore have a right to vote. Based on that,Uber should,along with other involved"humans"should be jailed for vehicular manslaughter.
  6:16pm
Sam:

Right because the Holland tunnel works SO well...
  6:17pm
John from Florham Park:

@TDK60 I agree with you bravo, I admit I walk listening to this station or an audio book but I do pay attention to what I walk near
  6:19pm
John from Florham Park:

@Sam the Holland tunnel is a screwed up place which I never go near
Avatar 6:19pm
Sean d:

Control my brain leave my car alone!
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:19pm
ultradamno:

I remember when initial reports of the segway scooter came out there was a statement that cities would have to be redesigned to accommodate them. Why does it always seem the priority is to create tech everyone has to adapt to rather being made to meet people's needs?
  6:19pm
Sam:

The real future is banning cars from manhattan completely. Congestion pricing is the first step. The next step will be massive investment in the subway and a gradual phasing out of cars. Imagine Manhattan with no cars, what a paradise it would be. Just walking down the middle of 6th ave...
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:19pm
Ken From Hyde Park:

You'll probably get plenty bored in a self-driving car. Solution: not unlike the Punch Buggy game, you push a button every time you see another electric car, like in The Simpsons. youtu.be...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm
Mark Hurst:

Hi everyone! Thanks for chatting this evening.
Avatar 6:20pm
Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

...anything that uses more fossil fuel seems a clear net positive to me...
  6:20pm
John from Florham Park:

@Sam that will never happen as much as we want it too
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm
Mark Hurst:

@ultradamno - I agree with Bas, "Techril Fools" wins the name tonight
Avatar 6:21pm
Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

My computer NEVER crashes
...why should my computer car...
  6:21pm
melinda:

I’ve heard intelligent grown adults say in reference to texting while driving “we’ve all done it at some point” and it makes me nuts. No we haven’t all done it.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:21pm
Mark Hurst:

Hi also to Phillippe, Bryce, herb, TDK, Ike, Chris, Beast, Melinda, Ken, Sam, Dale, Hendrix, Haiku Henry (thx!), Mr Donutsu, John, Dave, anyone else I left out!
  6:21pm
Dave from Brooklyn:

@TDK60 yes,you're right! Damn pedestrians not watching for runaway self driving cars.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm
Mark Hurst:

And Sean & R.Rabbit!
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:22pm
Bas NL:

(Let's not mention Boeing tonight.)
Avatar 6:22pm
Fox:

Driverless cars are the wrong answer, and yes, we need more public transport.

However, the generation that has been raised on mobile devices are addicted to their phones, and I honestly fear the notion of what will happen when everyone who is now in their early 20's and younger being behind the wheel. They lack the concentration to simply drive due to their inundation of constant digital distraction. Driverless cars might be better than relying on the short attention span generation.

Case in point: www.instagram.com...

(apologies for linking IG on your show)
Avatar 6:22pm
Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Hows about a big train & a bus that can't crash into itself or get stuck in traffic w/ itself? Much as possible? Just blueskying here...
  6:23pm
John from Florham Park:

@melinda a lot of towns in jersey are cracking down on texting mine included,with that being said I don’t text hell I don’t even answer the phone until I stop
  6:24pm
Sam:

What if you just want to cruise around for a scenic Sunday drive? Is that no longer possible?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm
dale:

manhattan has to stop building housing way up in the sky. there are too many people for the infrastructure to accommodate. congestion pricing is just a money grab.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm
Mark Hurst:

Bas - good point on Boeing. What a mess. For more good thinking on the perils of automation, take a look at the book "The Glass Cage" by Nicholas Carr.

Fox - you're onto something. Big Tech companies will surely make that case, that drivers are too distracted to safely have any agency. So therefore we should hand the keys over to Big Tech.
  6:25pm
Sam:

One person could stand in the street and completely stop traffic for hours. I can’t wait.
  6:25pm
John from Florham Park:

@sam I do some Sunday driveling nit much and maybe to the local library
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:26pm
Ken From Hyde Park:

@Sam - You can just put on your VR goggles and feel like you're driving around.
  6:26pm
John from Florham Park:

@sam do not want to be that person
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:27pm
Mark Hurst:

FWIW I'm in favor of congestion pricing and think Sam Schwartz is doing great work on it in NYC.
  6:27pm
Dave from Brooklyn:

Going out for a Sunday drive. Brings me back to the days of""one for the road."
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:27pm
Bas NL:

We have new legislation in The Netherlands by July 1st. People are no longer allowed to use electronic devices while riding a bike.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm
Phillippe Bastille:

What are car insurance companies and body shops going to do if wrecks are cut by 75%?
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:28pm
ultradamno:

I think that unless the driver is completely without responsibility, and that can reasonably work, self-driving cars shouldn't be a thing because the temptation will be "I'm nodding off, just let the car take over"
  6:29pm
John from Florham Park:

@mark hurst just found that book at the library and put it on hold
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:29pm
Mark Hurst:

@ultradamno, then what happens when the driver nods off, then there's a crisis moment, and the car says "hey wake up, I don't know how to handle this. Your steering wheel now!"
Avatar 6:29pm
Fox:

Mark Hurst - Is there any conceivable safe guard on devices so that the screens could be rendered unusable by hand when moving at a certain speed? Or would that be an invasion of privacy?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm
dale:

with no congestion 'toll' on the west side highway or fdr imagine how much traffic will back up there as people avoid the other avenues.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm
Mark Hurst:

@Fox, I don't think Apple or Google would be OK putting in a kill switch for the car to control. They'd much rather convince us to just buy an autonomous vehicle, so we keep the screen ON.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:32pm
Bas NL:

It's what happens to airline pilots.. nothing to do until the situation is in crisis and automation cuts out.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:32pm
Mark Hurst:

@dale, certainly lots and lots of possible unintended side effects. Here's another one - if the cutoff is 60th street, what about congested street parking on 61st street. Good news is that Sam has been working on this issue for decades, studying other cities' congestion plans, so I'm sure has familiarity with the major issues.
Avatar 6:32pm
Fox:

Fort Lee, NJ passed a law prohibiting texting while crossing the street, which, while I understand, seems like the wrong direction to go in.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:33pm
ultradamno:

@Mark I know I wouldn't want to jolt awake to an alarm clock with a car to maneuver. Best to not assume you have a safety net, eat nuts and stay awake.
Avatar 6:34pm
Beast of Boonton:

Mark -
Who wants to sit on the 'wet spot' when getting in an autonomous car?
  6:34pm
Sam:

I can’t believe anybody thinks these will work. How does it know if a jogger on the side of the road is actually a kid about to run into the street? Do you pass the person or slam on your brakes? What about animals? And rural roads usually have no markings whatsoever.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm
dale:

mark - yes. i just think the governor and mayor could care less about the ripple effect to the outer boroughs and neighborhoods. i still see it a s a money grab and the mta needs a serious overhaul first and foremost.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm
chresti:

Self driving cars might be useful for people that forgot how to drive
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm
Mark Hurst:

@Beast, I've heard that self-driving Ubers might very well have - sorry to be graphic - vomit on the passenger seat, as a certain percentage of passengers get motion-sick in autonomous vehicles. Sorry that I failed to ask Sam about this during the interview.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:36pm
Ken From Hyde Park:

Can we just go straight to being the WALL-E people? blacksunmatrix.files.wordpress.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm
chresti:

eww- wet spot
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm
dale:

there are mta surcharges on electric bills and dmv registration and title fees in the outlying counties on people who will never use a subway or bus ever. taxation with no benefit to them.
  6:37pm
GarryTheViking:

Oh, there it is. Would love to hear him get through a whole episode without mentioning some corporation trying to spy on us
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm
Mark Hurst:

@Dale, oh don't get me started on the governor & mayor and their track record with the Amazon deal. But I'm gonna cross fingers that w/Sam and others, they can be convinced to create an actually good deal for New Yorkers in the case of congestion pricing.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:38pm
Ken From Hyde Park:

Carsickness? Technology to the rescue! www.topspeed.com...
  6:39pm
Sam:

Google could just decide they don’t want you going certain places, and the car won’t take you there. Goodbye freedom!
Avatar 6:39pm
Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Talk of tech to sense if driver is dozing off / paying attention...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm
Mark Hurst:

@Garry, as soon as I find Big Tech initiatives that are *not* based on spying, I will be sure to mention the absence of surveillance! In other news, the ocean keeps showing that it's full of water, day after day...
Avatar 6:40pm
Fox:

This entire issue makes me want to learn how to drive stick shift.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm
dale:

i lived in nyc for 20 years but don't anymore...i don't know why but that topic ticks me off.
  6:41pm
carrots:

https://nypost.com/2019/04/01/why-ai-struggles-to-get-april-fools-day-humor/
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm
dale:

fox - get something with hill hold though. it's a lifesaver.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm
chresti:

Stick shift and hills can be nerve wracking
  6:44pm
Johnzon:

no more hijinx! say no to big tech tomfoolery! also skullduggery!
  6:45pm
Sam:

We need politicians who will straight up ban autonomous vehicles. Just make them illegal because they’re not safe.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:46pm
Bas NL:

Loads of drivers can't be classified as people.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:46pm
chresti:

My favorite (easiest) stick shift car was a vw bug
  6:46pm
queems:

this has been a fascinating discussion
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm
dale:

a lot of drivers don't have licenses either.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm
Mark Hurst:

Thanks, queems! Appreciate you listening in.
Avatar 6:47pm
Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

I need a machine driver to keep up w/ this Program!
Avatar 6:48pm
Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

(It's a real Service.)
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:48pm
Ken From Hyde Park:

Self-driving drone semis full of Amanzon orders barreling down the road. Yay, overnight delivery!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:49pm
Mark Hurst:

Thanks, R.Rabbit.
  6:49pm
Johnzon:

people other than billionaires want to have a life of human flourishing?! ridiculous!
Avatar 6:50pm
Fox:

@dale - "hill hold?"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:50pm
chresti:

Self driving cars need licenses
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm
dale:

fox - it helps prevent rolling backwards when you're stopped facing uphill.
  6:52pm
queems:

keep dreamin boise
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:55pm
Bas NL:

Human brains can't keep up with any speed above running speed.
Avatar 6:55pm
Fox:

Another consideration with cars and the cost of them, especially with things like tolls and congestions pricing, is to take into account he disabled. The Disabled cannot always take public transport, and for them cars are the only way to properly get around.
  6:55pm
Sam:

Exactly. There are more and more bike lanes and pedestrian zones. They aren’t taking that away from us anytime soon.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm
Haiku Henry:

Thanks for another great show, Mark.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm
melinda:

We need to start pushing for election and campaign finance reform at local and state levels so that momentum will build for change at a national level. The Googles and Ubers must be reined in.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm
Phillippe Bastille:

Thanks Mark. Have a great evening everyone!
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:56pm
Bas NL:

Thanks Mark and Sam!
  6:57pm
queems:

thanks mark!
  6:57pm
Sam:

I still don’t get how Uber is legal. It’s an unlicensed cab.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm
melinda:

I am freaked out but I appreciate the discussion.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:57pm
chris:

thanks, Mark.
Avatar 🤖 Swag For Life Member 6:58pm
Ken From Hyde Park:

Thanks, Mark. Don't be this guy! www.mirror.co.uk...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm
melinda:

This is hilarious.
  6:59pm
Sam:

Mark you are a hero for bringing all of this out in the open.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm
Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone! Great chat tonight. Have a good week - really 2 weeks! Next show scheduled for Apr 15.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:01pm
chresti:

Thanks Mark!
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