What’s More Dangerous Than a Human Driving a Car? A Bored Human Not Driving an AV.

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Here’s a catch-22 for the 21st century: Autonomous vehicles (AVs) will make roads safer by getting fallible human drivers out of the equation. But until AVs are safe enough, we need to rely on fallible human drivers to develop AVs.

In the interim, we might have introduced the most dangerous situation of all: bored humans who are supposed to be paying attention.

In the wake of the first AV-caused pedestrian death, we’re seeing just how big of a problem this can be. Last month, one of Uber’s self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona. In video footage, the AV clearly doesn’t slow down before hitting the victim, Elaine Herzberg, which experts say could point to problems with Uber’s technology.

Not everyone is just blaming the tech, however. Uber’s AV had a human driver, Rafael Vasquez, behind the wheel at the time of the crash, and both AV experts and the victim’s family have criticized Vasquez for not doing enough to prevent it.

“The driver was eyes down most of the time, indicating complacency and not maintaining proper monitoring,” Missy Cummings, a professor of mechanical engineering and material science at Duke University, told the Wall Street Journal.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” Tina Marie Herzberg White, the victim’s stepdaughter, told the Guardian. “I can’t believe that the [driver] that was in the car did not see her.”

The Technologies That Power Self-Driving Cars [INFOGRAPHIC]
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But are they expecting too much from AV operators? Or are manufacturers not expecting enough?

One former Uber test driver pointed out the pressures of the position to the WSJ: “The computer is fallible, so it’s the human who is supposed to be perfect. It’s kind of the reverse of what you think about computers.”

Manufacturers expect AV operators to keep constant watch on the road and intervene if the vehicle is about to cause an accident or violate a traffic law. But if the human intervenes too soon, the system’s capabilities aren’t really tested, which draws the ire of engineers. There’s another catch-22 for you, and it’s one that could literally put human lives in harm’s way.

Adding to the general aura of stress around the whole thing: How the public responds to AVs.

AV operators told the WSJ pedestrians would purposely jump out in front of their vehicles to see if they’d stop. Some AV operators have even had people physically assault the cars. Your job might be stressful, but is it “people banging on your office window” stressful?

Oh, and when it’s not stressful, the job is boring. It’s hard enough for regular drivers to resist the urge to daydream. Now imagine resisting that urge when you have nothing to do but stare straight ahead at mile after mile of unspooling road.

So: the job of AV operator is both stressful and boring. But is it actually hard?

Not according to one former Waymo test driver. “It’s about being alert. If you can’t be alert for a few straight hours, then you’re not a very good driver,” they told the WSJ.

AV operators can earn between $ 20 and $ 25 per hour, too, well above the minimum wage in the U.S. With a pretty short list of requirements, the candidate pool should be fairly large then, right? So why was Vasquez, who has multiple traffic citations on his record, operating Uber’s AV?

Apparently, a flawless driving record wasn’t one of Uber’s requirements for employment.

Maybe that’ll change in the wake of fatal incident. But still, it won’t solve the catch-22 we’re currently stuck in. The only way out seems to be that AVs get a lot better, real quick.

The post What’s More Dangerous Than a Human Driving a Car? A Bored Human Not Driving an AV. appeared first on Futurism.

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What’s ‘Up Golf’? Nothing Much, Dawg, Just Playing This 2D Physics Golfer That’s Out Now

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Thomas Huffman’s Up Golf [] is out now, and it’s a fun game worth downloading. This is a 2D vertical golfing game in the vein of Super Stickman Golf, where you’re trying to instead constantly ascend, getting a point for each hole you get your character-turned-golf-ball into. You can skip holes, but I don’t recommend it.

A major part of the challenge comes from the screen that constantly scrolls upward. So, it’s possible for one ill-considered shot to send you into the abyss, ending your run of golfing. Water and lava traps will also befall you, usually with side entrances, so you have to take care around these in particular. The courses do contain some interesting wrinkles: portals that warp you upward, and springs that can help you if you hit them just right.

You can unlock new characters and landscapes by collecting coins, or can just buy them outright. The landscapes include entirely different themes, such as a vaporwave landscape. Finally, golf meets vaporwave. Beautiful.

If you like 2D golfing games, you’ll likely have a good time with Up Golf. The controls are smooth, with the ability to pull and aim from anywhere on the screen, so you’re never blocking your view of your character. The game also looks great on high-resolution phones. The game is incredibly challenging to get even a double-digit score because there just isn’t much of a margin for error. You have to aim well and be wary of bad bounces, but there is the timing factor to consider with the screen continually rising! You have to get good at making accurate shots, but also quick ones, and it makes for a tense challenge the further upward that you ascend!

Give Up Golf a shot, it’s a well-made endless 2D golfer that I’m having a lot of fun playing. It’s out now on the App Store and on Google Play…you know, if you’ve gone over to the dark side.

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What’s on TV: ‘Legion’ and ‘Seth Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity’

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Tonight March Madness comes to an end, and this weekend the F1 series stops off in Bahrain. In between, it's time for season two of FX's mutant series Legion as well as the premiere of The Last O.G. on TBS starring Tracy Morgan and Tiffany Haddish. N…
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What’s new in iOS 11.4 beta 1? Hands-on with new features and changes [Video]

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The first iOS 11.4 beta was seeded to developers earlier this afternoon, and it brings back several features that were found in previous betas. Watch our hands-on video walkthrough inside for a brief look at what’s included. more…

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iOS 11.4 Beta 1 Release Notes And Changes: What’s New In This Release?

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Here are iOS 11.4 beta 1 release notes and changes that you need to know about, in short, here’s what is new in this release.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Video: What’s new in watchOS 4.3 for the Apple Watch, featuring portrait Nightstand mode, iPhone music controls and more

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The watchOS 4.3 update contains a few new features and tweaks aside from the multitude of bug fixes and performance improvements. Our hands-on video shows off what is new for Apple’s wrist-worn device.
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What’s new in the News app for iOS 11.3?

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The top story in the News app: a new video section!

Apple’s made some big changes to the News app over the past few years. In iOS 10 it got a complete interface redesign. in iOS 11 we got Top Stories and the Spotlight tab, which is content curated by Apple’s editorial staff. In iOS 11.3, we’re getting some minor, but cool updates, as well.

Top Stories get the celebrity treatment

In iOS 11.2.6 The For You would vary the content at the top of the page, depending on whether you’d accessed the app that day or not. Now, Top Stories will always be at the top of the page in the For You tab. That way, breaking and important news will be the first thing you see every time.

Videos get some love

It’s not just millennials. We’re all accustomed to getting our news in short, easy to digest bites. Videos make it much easier for us to get through big news stories and now, Apple has made it much easier for us to find those videos with the Today’s Videos and Must-See Videos sections.

about a quarter of the way down your For You tab, under Trending Stories, you’ll see the new section, delineated in dark gray. It stands out. You won’t miss it.

If you don’t care to see this section, tap the Dislike button to hide it from your For You news roll.

Anything we missed?

Are there any major or minor changes to the News app that you caught? Drop them in the comments. It’s always fun to discover what Apple secretly springs on us.

iMore – Learn more. Be more.

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What’s on TV: Final Four, ‘Far Cry 5,’ ‘Alex Inc.’

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With Silicon Valley back on HBO, it's also time to welcome a new startup-themed show with this week's premiere of Alex, Inc. on ABC. It's based on the story of the podcast company Gimlet Media, and stars Zach Braff (Scrubs). It's also time for the 4K…
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Making The Grade: What’s lacking in Apple’s Deployment Model for iPads?

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Making The Grade is a new weekly series from Bradley Chambers covering Apple in education. Bradley has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple’s products work at scale, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for students.


I’ve been deploying and managing iPads since the fall of 2010, so I’ve truly been managing them from the beginning. Even before the iPad, we had deployed 80 or so iPod touches around our school. Things have changed a lot since then. Back in the early days, we were syncing apps via iTunes. If you think iTunes is slow now, try updating iOS on 15 iPod touches at one time!

Fast forward to 2018, and iOS deployment is a solved problem. Thanks to tools like JAMF and Apple’s Device Enrollment Program, I can deploy hundreds of iPads with much the same effort I can ten. For me, unboxing them takes as long as it does to get them configured. For all the great ways Apple has improved this process, however, there are still two things they have yet to address:

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