Meet the self-driving car ending road rage (and ethics)

Jun 10, 2024 | U.S. | 0 comments

“Watching full self driving cut the entire line to make a left proves that AGI is here.” That’s the headline user @0xgaut posted to X to come to grips with a video from @AIDRIVR showing Tesla’s latest model creep up into an open spot in a backed-up left-hand turn lane, just like a human driver who’d draw howls, honks, and possibly physical hostility for trying the same.

Does this count as “artificial general intelligence”? Hardly. It’s simply the logical move given the destination and the problem set posed by the array of cars and streets involved. But, while some might be moved to attack self-driving cars making road-rage-inducing moves on the road, the futility (and lawsuits) involved in that kind of hostile reaction point to the way that computerization far short of fabled AGI can and will still have incredibly sweeping effects.

Perhaps if wayward Westerners hadn’t been so beguiled by the promise of secular ethics, we wouldn’t be in this mess today.

In this telling case, the consequences would run like this: Self-driving cars connected into a large-scale network will optimize for driving paths that best balance and harmonize individual and aggregate routes. If your car should happen to take a route that strikes you as not entirely optimal from your own personal standpoint, what can you do about it, and what type of way is it worth feeling about it?

Instead of feeling aggrieved, outraged, or victimized by some jerk you must somehow get revenge on, if only with a shake of the fist, you’ll probably just sigh a little and accept the situation, even if deep down you’re hit with a passing sensation of wishing the whole automated system disappeared and we went back to the days of horses and buggies.

What this augurs — wherever we find such scaled-up networks of automated automobiles (lol) — is not just an end to road rage as we knew it. It’s an end to the idea that basic public order is rooted in a shared experience of justice that depends on people personally living out ethical behavior.

At first blush, this looks like an attack on some of the most familiar foundations of what we like to think of as Western civilization. But, interestingly, right now the dominant Western vision of the proper relationship between society, justice, and ethics is wokeness. Yes, wokes say! Basic public order depends on a collective social justice experience in which everyone is expected to ground their every choice and behavior in ethical principles, such as diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, etc.!

It’s enough to make a person question just what it is we mean, or thought we meant, by Western civilization. If networks of automated automobiles threaten the familiar contours of principled public philosophy in the West, they must pose an even greater threat to the woke notion of principled public philosophy that has emerged from Western thought to seize power … right?

Things get even more curious when you consider that Western civ got into this predicament by trying to find ecumenically nonreligious ways of optimizing for public order, but that woke civ has learned from the failure of that project by injecting back into it a new kind of religion, one that worships justice itself — and turns to technology in the hopes of perfecting the execution of justice on earth via woke programming of planetary supercomputers. There’s not much use for ethics in a society where justice-worshippers use omnipresent AI trained to micro-adjust everyone’s lived experiences in real-time, microaggression by microaggression, rewarding and punishing trillions of times a second with nanoscopic perfection.

Such a world holds out the promise of transcending not just ethics but Christianity and all its spiritual practices, from discipline and discernment to repentance and forgiveness. Perhaps if wayward Westerners hadn’t been so beguiled by the promise of secular ethics, we wouldn’t be in this mess today. And, perhaps, at least some Westerners — of a tomorrow coming sooner than we might think — will reason that they don’t need to wait for the coming of the Tesla hive mind to switch out their complex intellectual ethics for the simple commandments of Christ.

“Watching full self driving cut the entire line to make a left proves that AGI is here.” That’s the headline user @0xgaut posted to X to come to grips with a video from @AIDRIVR showing Tesla’s latest model creep up into an open spot in a backed-up left-hand turn lane, just like a human driver who’d draw howls, honks, and possibly physical hostility for trying the same. Does this count as “artificial general intelligence”? Hardly. It’s simply the logical move given the destination and the problem set posed by the array of cars and streets involved. But, while some might be moved to attack self-driving cars making road-rage-inducing moves on the road, the futility (and lawsuits) involved in that kind of hostile reaction point to the way that computerization far short of fabled AGI can and will still have incredibly sweeping effects. Perhaps if wayward Westerners hadn’t been so beguiled by the promise of secular ethics, we wouldn’t be in this mess today. In this telling case, the consequences would run like this: Self-driving cars connected into a large-scale network will optimize for driving paths that best balance and harmonize individual and aggregate routes. If your car should happen to take a route that strikes you as not entirely optimal from your own personal standpoint, what can you do about it, and what type of way is it worth feeling about it? Instead of feeling aggrieved, outraged, or victimized by some jerk you must somehow get revenge on, if only with a shake of the fist, you’ll probably just sigh a little and accept the situation, even if deep down you’re hit with a passing sensation of wishing the whole automated system disappeared and we went back to the days of horses and buggies. What this augurs — wherever we find such scaled-up networks of automated automobiles (lol) — is not just an end to road rage as we knew it. It’s an end to the idea that basic public order is rooted in a shared experience of justice that depends on people personally living out ethical behavior. At first blush, this looks like an attack on some of the most familiar foundations of what we like to think of as Western civilization. But, interestingly, right now the dominant Western vision of the proper relationship between society, justice, and ethics is wokeness. Yes, wokes say! Basic public order depends on a collective social justice experience in which everyone is expected to ground their every choice and behavior in ethical principles, such as diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, etc.!It’s enough to make a person question just what it is we mean, or thought we meant, by Western civilization. If networks of automated automobiles threaten the familiar contours of principled public philosophy in the West, they must pose an even greater threat to the woke notion of principled public philosophy that has emerged from Western thought to seize power … right?Things get even more curious when you consider that Western civ got into this predicament by trying to find ecumenically nonreligious ways of optimizing for public order, but that woke civ has learned from the failure of that project by injecting back into it a new kind of religion, one that worships justice itself — and turns to technology in the hopes of perfecting the execution of justice on earth via woke programming of planetary supercomputers. There’s not much use for ethics in a society where justice-worshippers use omnipresent AI trained to micro-adjust everyone’s lived experiences in real-time, microaggression by microaggression, rewarding and punishing trillions of times a second with nanoscopic perfection. Such a world holds out the promise of transcending not just ethics but Christianity and all its spiritual practices, from discipline and discernment to repentance and forgiveness. Perhaps if wayward Westerners hadn’t been so beguiled by the promise of secular ethics, we wouldn’t be in this mess today. And, perhaps, at least some Westerners — of a tomorrow coming sooner than we might think — will reason that they don’t need to wait for the coming of the Tesla hive mind to switch out their complex intellectual ethics for the simple commandments of Christ.[#item_full_content]

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