Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

22nd October 2016

Research from the LSE and Goodyear has come up with an interesting perspective on the world of autonomous cars. Surveying some 12,000 drivers, the research found that many drivers expect driverless vehicles to be extra cautious and patient on the road, and that they plan to take ruthless advantage of this. As one participant said, ‘The autonomous cars are going to stop, so you’re going to mug them right off,’

On a related topic and from stratechery.com, a nice round up of recent articles regarding the future of transportation. Although there are currently lots of players in a complicated space, the argument here is that it will be a fight between Google and Uber, and Uber have the upper hand.

‘What level of sophistication will artificial intelligences need to attain before we consider them people — and all the rights that entails? At what point on the spectrum of intelligence will we be creating machines that are as smart, and as deserving of legal rights, as the sentient animals we’re driving to extinction? When Does an Artificial Intelligence Become a Person?’

The era of post truth politics/society, seemingly identified by Michael Gove during the Brexit vote, is examined here in The Guardian, ‘The Cult of The Expert and How it Collapsed’ – ‘ The saving grace of anti-expert populists is that they discredit themselves, simply because policies originating from the gut tend to be lousy. If Donald Trump were to be elected, he would almost certainly cure voters of populism for decades, though the price in the meantime could be frightening. In Britain, which is sliding towards a wreck of a divorce with its most important trading partners, the delusions and confusions of the Brexit camp will probably exact an economic price that will be remembered for a generation.

From @adcontrarian. ‘We know that fraud is a major problem for online advertisers. But we don’t know how big a problem it is. Estimates range from 2% to 90% — which is another way of saying we have no ******* idea.’ How (some) agencies are profiting from online fraud.

Ten Podcasts to listen to on your daily commute, courtesy of Wired.com 

How the Internet is putting empathy under attack. ‘There is deep truth in the old idea that people are able to say things because they are looking at a screen full of words, not directly at the face of the person they’re about to say a terrible thing to. This one level of abstraction the Internet allows – typing, which is so immensely powerful in so many other contexts.’

..and from the same piece, here is an unsettling exercise in empathy. ‘Try to imagine saying some of the terrible things people type to each other online, to a real person sitting directly in front of you. Or don’t imagine, and just watch this video.’

Beautifully illustrated and animated. Here is the remarkable history of the humble pencil. 

A man jumps off a 129 foot building into a harbour and misses the dock by…well not very much at all.