Webster Knight's Techdirt Profile

Webster Knight

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  • Jun Thu, 2019 @ 04:49am


    I coached my 3 kids in T-Ball in Washington, DC. When my youngest child joined the team, we had to change uniforms and the name. After decades with the name "Mudballs," the local Little League mandated Major League names and gave us the "Dodgers." They had made a deal with this devil. I was tempted to organize a rebellion. So much for historical, local teams. "Mudballs" remains my favorite t-shirt.

  • Jan Wed, 2019 @ 01:35pm

    Link Tax

    Google should stop linking now so that EU google users and probably the EU newspapers, will see what happens and straighten their EU representatives out before they pass this thing.

  • Aug Fri, 2016 @ 07:30am

    As a part-time Uber driver, I have had innumerable discussions about me being replaced by a computer. It is happening already with all the computer-assisted operations already taken for granted, like the rear view camera. There are a number of points must be factored into this discussion:

    1. Imagine a city where there is only taxis or ride share services. There would be no cars parked, nor the space needed for them, fewer lanes and paving. One would have to wait longer for a ride, and/or share it with strangers during rush hours.. It would be more efficient with the only cars around being in use.

    2. Computer-driven cars are safer. If you doubt this, look at the videos of drones flying around a house. Computer-driven cars won't need to stop on a trip; they would proceed through intersections in every direction simultaneously. There will be no need for signs, stop or otherwise, similarly no need for lighted signals --then most astoundingly of all, no need for ramps and overpasses. They would plug into the same navigation system, like GPS and some common reference to see each other.

    3. Human capacities are too frail to mix into the computer-driver world. The cost of equipping a car with pedals, human steering, visual instruments, human windows and wipers will be prohibitive. Add to that the difficulty of insuring humans in this climate.

    4. Needless to say all this is disruptive, but progress. It is going to happen somewhere first. Our public transportation authorities should be hiring ride share services now to get people to the trains and buses, if not all the way.

    5. The key to succeeding in a mobile world is accommodating computer cars around pedestrians and cyclists. This will have to be done with strategic road design and zone timing.

    6. Antique, human driven cars will operate on country roads and on holidays in the cities. To drive any of the computer cars you will need an app on your phone.

  • Apr Fri, 2016 @ 10:33am


    It means Barbara in Mayan.

    Do you think she should see this article?

  • Mar Wed, 2016 @ 07:53am

    class action?

    ...for those who were deceived and contributed to the utilities' "Consumers for Smart Solar."

    I would think the utilities should notify and then refund to those who want their money back. Or at least have it contributed to a legitimate solar promoter.

  • Jun Tue, 2015 @ 01:33pm

    Autonomous Vehicles

    Uber and other services are a start.

    1. As the systems develop, fewer people will need cars, but those that have cars will use them each for longer periods to haul more people, i.e. greater efficiency.

    2. These cars are already guided by GPS-Map systems for speed and efficiency. Drivers rely on them to fetch their fares, deliver them and then collect their fare. They are much better than cab systems.

    3. An automated guidance systems is faster, more efficient, and safer. If you have ever seen a house of drones change rooms simultaneously without mishap, you immediately understand that humans could never do this safely even at a low speed.

    4. Robots do not mean a bunch of Lone Rangers. All vehicles will have to be compatible with with the same GPS-Map system. There will also be precautionary, individual, collision-prevention systems, at least for a time.

    5. With this robotic-drone-car system, there will be no stop, yield or speed signs. These will change with the traffic conditions and weather. No one will need to stop at intersections; the system will take people quickly and intermittently through the intersections and junctions. Everyone will get around faster and safer. Of course pedestrians will have to be accommodated and guided in the old way with some rigid rules and zones. There had better be no balls in the street.

    6. Cities will start with robot/human driving zones, but rapidly change to robot-only zones as the benefits multiply. Quickly cars will be required to have self-driving systems as an alternative. These will become mandatory in some areas. They would even override the human driver. Human-option driving areas will eventually not be as extensive as robot-only areas although they may always be available.

    7. The big driver for this system will be cost and insurance. It will soon become prohibitively expensive to insure the human-driven cars and drivers. They will also not be compatible with, or meet the superhuman demands of the area guidance system. This option on the car will allow for human error. Human driving will also be prohibited in some areas, like city centers. Humans can not react precisely to guidance commands as will the robots. Humans also suffer from distractions and road rage...

    8. With these inevitable possibilities it is an exciting time. It is like space travel on earth. Our capabilities are far surpassing our imaginings. Amazing change is in store for us.