Source: Pixabay

OK, Google — Drive…

On August 24, the WSJ together with countless other publications reported the following: “Waymo Opens Robotaxi Service in San Francisco for Ride Hailing”. Wow! Wasn’t it something? Autonomous Driving (AD) service is already here?

Well, it didn’t take very long to read the next paragraphs in the article published by the Techcrunch, which further explained:

“The robotaxi service will be open to certain vetted riders in San Francisco. The so-called Waymo One Trusted Tester program mirrors the company’s strategy in Phoenix, where it rolled out its first commercial ride-hailing service several years ago. The Trusted Tester program is a rebranding of Waymo’s previous Early Rider Program that it launched in Metro Phoenix in April 2017. Seeing as it’s been over four years, those riders are no longer exactly “early,” so a name change was in order, according to a Waymo spokesperson.”

It also became quite clear that: “The company will have so-called “autonomous specialists” — another term for human safety operators — sitting in the front seat to monitor the ride and ensure a safe experience”.

To tell you the truth, at that point, all I could think about was Leonard Cohen’s song “So Long, Marianne” and his golden voice repeating the verses: “Oh so long, Marianne, it’s time that we began to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again”.

Laughing, or crying is debatable. But at least this time, the human safety operators are not going to be camouflaged to “blend in” with the car seats (it escapes me at the moment to recall who were the Einsteins behind such a “fake-it-till-you-make-it” publicity stunt).

But my confusion about whether to laugh or to cry at the article, quickly turned to annoyance — when I read Waymo’s own blog: Welcoming our first riders in San Francisco. It said: “We’ve been driving in the city for over twelve years, have accumulated more autonomous driving miles in California than anyone in the industry”.

So, I ask you this: if it took…12 years to start human-guided AD TESTS in San Francisco, how exactly is Google going to scale-up Waymo’s “services” to millions of other cities around the world. Not in my lifetime, for sure…

And how about an even greater question: If the above AD service is OK for as long as there is a human driver beside the steering wheel, why do we need the FDA to approve the experimental drugs? Why wouldn’t we simply let the big pharma willy-nilly distribute the drugs still being tested — as long as the… GP is being shipped with them? In such a case, an untested cancer drug would come with an oncologist — oh, what a service!

Ethics aside, the timing of such an announcement sounds particularly peculiar at the time when The Guardian recently reported that: “The US government has opened a formal investigation into Tesla’s driver-assistance system known as Autopilot after a series of collisions with parked emergency vehicles. The investigation covers 765,000 vehicles, almost everything that Tesla has sold in the US since the start of the 2014 model year. Of the crashes identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as part of the investigation, 17 people were injured and one was killed”.

Truth be told, if you read some of my previous posts, you already know where I stand on Autonomous Driving hype. Slowly but surely, the empty promises turned into a hallucination in 2021 — again. And the same will happen in 2022, and so on… And nothing adds more BS to the AI hype than the AD hand-waving…

Yes, I spoke about it already 5 years ago and you can check my original LinkedIn post: “On AI, Autopilots & Self-Driving Cars — Respect The Bee!!!”

But I didn’t stop there and also described the ongoing hand-waving by the AD’s biggest cheerleaders and their “imagine-the-future” narratives in: “Are you ready to send your kid on a school bus WITHOUT a driver?”

And for those who were still salivating at the thought of self-driving cabs taking you back home from your favorite pub and a heavy binge-drinking — I posted: “Self-driving Hype vs Self-parking Reality Or… Form vs Substance in SmartCities”

It’s time to call the spade… spade. With all the technology piled up on the roof, the Waymo’s vehicle already looks like a Russian WWII tank — not a slim SUV. This is a “misconception” — to put it mildly. And I dedicated to it an entire chapter of my book: AI Boogeyman

The first time I started to write about Autonomous Driving was when Elon Musk began to promise Level-5 AD to be… “just around the corner”. So, it’s time for a somber reflection…

Since then, many researchers within the AI community began to pour buckets of cold water on the EXUBERANT AD claims. But to be frank, I’m not surprised by the hype at all. After all, there is so much of the “Fake News” around about everything else…

And I would alert anyone who would listen to all the empty promises of a fully functional Level 5 autonomous driving system. Well, 5 years later we are still waiting for Godot — as the problem turned out to be much more difficult than originally thought…

The amount of recent AD investments is only rivaled by the money spent on CURING CANCER. Well, we haven’t cured cancer yet, and the AD ON SILICON is not going to replace humans behind the steering wheel anytime soon, either…

Today, some of the brightest minds of AI research openly admit that we have reached the cognition level of the… rat. And rats, are not going to miraculously drive the car very far, while you’re napping in the back seat.

It’s a shame. There is so much Google can do quite well TODAY to improve the driver’s safety — so why sell all the unbaked goods to the public? Let the “fake capitalism” companies in China claim the AD “breakthroughs” in their cities — nobody can verify their bragging rights anyway…

So, for now, stick to the “OK Google” in a car for other purposes. Forget about the “Drive” instruction…

For More Information…

For more information, please see my posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Medium, and CGE’s website.

AI Boogeyman

You can also find additional info in my book on amazon: “AI Boogeyman — Dispelling Fake News About Job Losses”, and on our YouTube Studio channel… Thank you.

“BODs Serve Investors, Advisory Boards Are CEOs’ Best Friends”

  • Imitation works best in karaoke bars, not in business. To escape the competition, businesses need to constantly reinvent. So, I join Advisory Boards and “unlock” Radical Innovation.
  • Good advisors help increase REVENUES and reduce COSTS. Great ones, turn COST into PROFIT centers. And my BusinessAI™ guidance delivers the right KEEs (Knowledge, Experience, and Expertise) to do so.
  • Warren Buffett once said: “predicting rain doesn’t count; building arks, does”. Yet successful ark builders also work with the best lumber salesmen, and more.
  • Helping the CEOs to escape the competitive floods — is what I do. If product descriptions qualified as IP, Business Development (BD) would have been easy. The problem is that all the competitors can use the same narratives.
  • No amount of branding, marketing, and wordsmithery is going to suffice w/o utilizing BusinessAI™ — the strategies I specifically designed to achieve BD excellence.
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  • Now, I help maximize returns also in Healthcare, Fintech, Transportation, and Construction industries. And I apply the same structured finance expertise I acquired through financing Cleantech projects. It involves equity, non-recourse debt, balance sheet financing, and tax equity.
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  • You can call me: “The Midas of Business Development (BD) Innovation™”. It’s worth its weight in gold…




I used #AI in #Technology, #Finance, & #Renewable #Energy for 30-yrs. Now, I help #VC/#CVC during due diligence of AI investments & advise their portfolio Cos.

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Oleg Feldgajer

Oleg Feldgajer

I used #AI in #Technology, #Finance, & #Renewable #Energy for 30-yrs. Now, I help #VC/#CVC during due diligence of AI investments & advise their portfolio Cos.

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