An idea for making self-driving cars safer: Reprogram humans

Rodney Brooks, a well-known robotics researcher and professor emeritus at MIT, wrote in a blog post critical of Ng’s sentiments that “the great promise of self-driving cars has been that they will eliminate traffic deaths. Now [Ng] is saying that they will eliminate traffic deaths as long as all humans are trained to change their behavior? What just happened?”

Ng argues that humans have always modified their behavior in response to new technology, especially modes of transportation. “If you look at the emergence of railroads, for the most part people have learned not to stand in front of a train on the tracks,” he said. Ng also notes that people have learned that school buses are likely to make frequent stops and that when they do, small children may dart across the road in front of the bus, so they drive more cautiously. Self-driving cars, he said, are no different.