Autonomous cars are in their infancy. There’s a long way to go until they can be safely let loose in traffic, with no human interference. That becomes painfully obvious when a trap placed by a human shows how easily self-driving cars can be tricked. Just look at the video below! #automagic
Driverless cars are miles away from taking decisions on their own, decisions that adapt to new circumstances. They are taught general traffic rules a computer can remember and act upon but they can hardly change course when the same traffic rules do not make sense anymore. A good example is the one imagined by James Bridle, an artist who played with the whole concept of supernatural traps.
Bridle used salt to draw a very specific circle, exactly like you see Dean and Sam do on the CW show:
An autonomous car normally learns that it cannot cross a solid line when there’s a dashed one on the far side. When the lines make a double circle though, like here, it probably won’t know what to make of it. What’s obvious for human beings can become confusing for autonomous cars.
That’s the point artist James Bridle wanted to make here (even if the car pictured isn’t an autonomous one). Context is essential for decision-making and it may be the one thing autonomous cars won’t be able to harness. Without it, they’ll just act by the book and stay in the trap, unwilling to move until their passenger/owner comes to the rescue.
So, how many years will have to pass until smart vehicles become the chauffeurs we need them to be? Will our generation get to witness that moment?