Civilizing AI: How About Speed Limits On Self-Driving Cars?

Ted Schadler
Vice President, Principal Analyst
June 11, 2018

Question: How can we harness the power of artificial intelligence while preserving civilization? Answer: We must civilize AI. Here’s an example.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation into the Tesla crash in Florida revealed that the driver had set the speed limit for 75 miles per hour. The speed limit in that part of Florida is 65 mph.

So here’s a simple idea: What if we insist through local ordinance (then state law, then US law) that car manufacturers and fleet owners are required to put in a fail-safe that enforces the local speed limit? Google Maps and HERE and other mapmakers know (or should know) the speed limit on every stretch of road nationwide. So the AI driving the car can be programmed to know it, too.

Programmatically enforcing the speed limit on the autopilot AI would:

  • Show companies that their AIs must operate in a civilized world.
  • Make it harder for speed demons to take their hands off the wheel.
  • Improve the flow of traffic over time as more autopilots drive at the same speed.

It’s not rocket science. It’s not data science. It’s just civilization doing its job.

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