I find it very weird that this article speaks as though Google is the only company that will ever sell self-driving cars. There are universities and companies all across the US researching self-driving cars. I sincerely doubt that in 20 years every self-driving car will be run by Google. I also think the author makes an important assumption, that self-driving cars will collect data on you and you will have no ability to turn it off. First off, the car's can drive themselves without a data connection, what are the car's supposed to die the moment they go on back country roads with terrible network coverage? Second, Google's cars currently produce one GB/second. If all that data got uploaded, Google's servers would implode (atleast on today's tech). Sure, one day, Google may collect every bit of info from every drive you take, but then you ought to be able to find a competitor that won't.

@flagamuffin, Google most certainly does care about this data though and will certainly try to get access to it. It's an advertisers wet dream, you can know where people are at what time and for how long. Taco Bell would pay a fortune just to take a peek at data that could tell them what percentage of customers from which parts of the city go to each particular taco bell at what time. If Google could combine that data with other information from emails or its other advertising streams that's a lot of data that can be used to fine tune advertisements and target them. Privacy is not something to be gotten rid of on a whim, why would you want the government or a company knowing more about your personal life than your best friend? They won't keep things a secret. They won't know or care about you as YOU only as a stream of data that they will use to their advantage either monetarily or for power. If the government wants to gather information on us (CISPA, wiretapping, etc) to prevent terrorism, doesn't that mean that in the eyes of the government we're all suspects? That mentality worries me greatly.

I think that driverless tech is a huge revolution that can fix a lot of issues including traffic, time wasted during commutes, and lowered emissions/better mpg from forming car "trains" where one car breaks the wind and hundreds may follow behind it. It's some pretty amazing technology that will produce innovations in all sorts of computer imaging and decision making.

posted by mk: 2207 days ago