So I decided to spend a few hours (more like all the hours) bringing the content on HybridLogic up to speed. This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a very long time. When I originally ported this site over to WordPress I abandoned all of my previous content. It’s only in hindsight do you realise how valuable those old words are. Continue reading »
One of my favourite genres, if it even falls under the category of genres, is short story sci-fi. It’s brilliant. Just enough room to show an idea, but not so long as to require world-building and deep characterisation. Because that’s what matters in sci fi, the ideas. People and places are secondary. It’s rare Hollywood can turn a good short story into a film. Remember i, Robot? But Predestination is amazing. Continue reading »
It’s 7am on a Saturday morning, so here’s a couple of links I’ve found on the world wide web this week. Expect randomness ahead. I’ll link to tech, stories, videos and whatever the hell else has piled up in my Instapaper feed. If you like it, you could even grab the RSS feed. RSS, remember that? Continue reading »
HybridLogic turned ten at the start of this month. Ten years. One hundred and twenty months. 3673 days. Or in other words, I had just turned sixteen when I bought it, finishing school, starting sixth form, not even a paying client under my belt. I haven’t blogged much, and what I have tends to be lost when I update. Amazingly, the current WordPress site you’re reading now is five years old with (very) minor tweaks to keep it going. Continue reading »
I have a little torn bit of paper, tucked under the scales in my kitchen. It’s covered in grease, oil, flour, food dyes and every other substance that seems to accumulate wherever food preparation is involved. But on it I have lists of weights and times for various foods. One day I should turn it into a book. One day a few years ago I started, Opus Nom it was called, until I realised I only know how to cook three meals. But anyway, here, for my own reference, is how to make a pizza. Continue reading »
Right now my blood is pooling in a small plastic pouch, slowly rocking backwards and forwards as the anticoagulant prevents it from spoiling. It’s going to take a few minutes to draw the full unit. I’ll stand up, eat a chocolate bar and walk away. Continue reading »
You ever finished a book and thought, wow, that was really good? Luckily I normally have my nose stuck in a book every night, so I manage to go through a reasonable amount and find the rare ones I enjoy. Seeing as how I completely missed doing a year in review for 2014, here’s what I’ve been reading for the past 16 months or so in no particular order. Continue reading »
Driverless cars are coming. Like airbags and seatbelts, twenty years from now the idea of buying a car without some form of intelligence will seem ridiculous. But when cars are driving themselves, what does that mean for us? Continue reading »
“We killed a man?”
“Well, technically you killed a man.”
“I killed a man?”
“Not even a man. You killed a customer.”
“How the hell did I kill a customer?”
“Shh, don’t shout it for everyone to hear.”
Tim looked around the office. The sea of cubicles stretched from one beige wall to another. Here they were, some of the smartest developers in the world, building the most advanced automated vehicles on the roads, and they didn’t even get free coffee. No-one cared enough to put the milk back in the fridge, let alone listen in to a private conversation. He sat back down and faced Dan across the aisle.
“How did I kill him?” Tim asked.
“Remember that ethical policy framework update that came through last year? For the new models,” Dan said.
“The stuff from Legal about making sure we didn’t hit any pedestrians?” Tim scratched at his stubble. “Vaguely. We just tweaked the decision tree and shipped it.”
“I still don’t see how I killed a man.”
“Well it seems someone in Legal was over-zealous with the spec requirements.”
“Remember you wrote the module for collision avoidance.”
“And there was the logic for deciding what to do if avoidance was impossible.”
“Like when the car has to decide between hitting a pedestrian in the road or swerving off of a bridge. Oh…”
Tim felt sick.
“Yeah,” Dan said.
“Kid and her mother ran out in front of a 4th gen and the car put the risk of injuring the driver over the two pedestrians or the oncoming traffic. Swung into a fitch barrier and put him through the windscreen.”
“What are Legal doing?”
“Well, they’re saying it was driver fault. He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the incident. And overall it’s kind of a win, because there was only one casualty instead of three.”
“But we’ve got a bigger problem. Marketing need to see all the code you wrote.”
“Marketing?” Tim said.
“It seems they’re worried no one’s going to want to buy a car that might drive them into a crash barrier at 100 miles per hour.”
“But it might.”
“But then they can’t sell any cars. No one will buy one.”
“So what do they want us to do? Tell the car to prioritise the life of the driver over any pedestrians?”
Tim shook his head.
“How many what?” Dan asked.
“How many pedestrians is the life of the driver worth? One? Two? A family? A crowd?”
“I don’t know. Maybe we can code around this, find a better option.”
“This code exists because it’s the last option the car has. Not enough time to stop, nowhere else to turn. It’s them or it.”
“Maybe Legal have an answer.”
Tim turned back to his desk, awaiting the myriad meeting requests to come.
“Unless they can change the laws of physics, people are going to have to accept the fact: their car might kill them for the greater good.”