Friday, June 01, 2018

An interesting thing happened while I was in line for the Hololens.

There aren't really many VR/AR things I will wait in line for. They say the easiest way to get a cold is through your eyes. People touch sick people then rub their eyes and wala! So I'm not about to get slutty with glasses I have to put on my face.

You can see the Oculus anywhere. But what I'm really curious about is how the company Magic Leap could be progressing. Since no one can see that anywhere - the next best thing is the Hololens. This interaction I had while I waiting in line was pretty interesting I think.


After I get in line an older guy gets in line behind me. Once we get up to the people manning the booth he starts asking one of them what the price point on the hololens is. I'm immediately interested because I think that is something everyone wants to know. The person said they didn't know. And I went back to reading twitter because there is an unspoken rule in Silicon Valley. If they don't tell you the price right away - they aren't going to tell you. They are under an NDA. But he continues to ask in a different way. By the third time I start laughing and they both look at me.

So I say - I'm just watching this dance. She obviously can't tell you, but maybe if you hit it a different way. I mean, you are asking all the questions those of us not bold enough to ask want to know. Then he asks her how much the software development kit costs. He guesses 3 grand. Again the person didn't know. But I look directly at them and say - you should really know what the SDK (software developer kit) costs. I give them a look of - I mean, you want to sell these things right? And they run off to find out.

They come back and confirm it is 3 grand.

Then the guys asks - where could buy one of these? Again the person had to go ask. Apparently you can also rent one for 500 bucks a day. Or anyone can go into a co-working space that they have and try them.

I'm starting to like this guy and we start making small talk. He's interested in the Hololens because he wants to teach kids more defensive driving. He wants kids to be able to virtually see the steering wheel.

I sort of laugh and say - these kids aren't even going to know what a steering wheel is! And then he goes on a tirade about how A.I. is not our friend. And we shouldn't trust it. And I roll my eyes and respond with those cars have million and millions of miles logged on them. They are definitely safer than humans. But he was having NONE of that. And I realize it. So I say - okay. I talked to a pilot once and he said he'd never use a Tesla.

Now a bit of backstory. (I told you my stories don't always go in a straight line. Read the disclaimer.)  For a few years I would ask anyone and everyone who would talk to me if they would use an autonomous car. Then I stopped caring. But during that time there was one guy that stood out above all the others. A pilot. I couldn't understand his luddite-ness when the cockpits are filled with automation.

Anyway, not two minutes later the guy standing behind me revealed he was a pilot. And I told him about my previous interaction. I'm not sure I can explain it right now, but I sort of get why pilots are not a fan of these cars now.

It was almost time for me to get my turn when I said to the person working the booth. I saw this thing about two years ago. I'm surprised you guys aren't further long. They responded with - yeah... that's sort of illuminating.


  1. There was just an article recently about a plane crash where they couldn't completely disable the auto pilot. Yah, not interested in a self driving car tyvm. Hopefully by the time it becomes the standard I'll be gone.....

  2. Oh... that's interesting. Hadn't heard that. I think the funniest thing about the whole exchange was him asking me - do you want to be killed by a machine or a human. I'm like - I'm dead. What do I care? He was emphatic he wasn't going to get killed by a machine.

    Humans make a lot of mistakes though. And everyone expects machines to be 100% perfect. When humans are way less than 100% perfect. Even if it saves 50% of the lives that currently get taken out. That is a success really. Of course... we will have to make a lot more housing and people are start going to freak out about how many humans are on the planet.

  3. Capital of Texas RefugeeMonday, June 04, 2018 4:37:00 AM

    *cough* Airbus A320 *cough*

  4. I can't find the article now, but yes, I'm pretty sure it was an Airbus.

  5. 30 years ago or so, I was in the Air force and was involved in the clean up from a crash in the high arctic. Root cause of the crash was that the pilots got a visual on their landing strip (at night) and proceeded to ignore all their instrumentation, but due to no trees or other visual clues to distance, and -60 temperatures making things look clearer, they bounced off a hill that was well below the intended flight path. After this accident, they changed procedures so that whichever pilot was not flying the lane was responsible to make sure that at least some of the instruments agreed with the pilots actions. Next winter, another high arctic crash, same cause, pilots are hard wired it seems to believe their eyeballs over their instruments. The planes were C-130's, they had to ignore four different systems, that were as isolated as possible as can be on one aircraft, even being fed power from different engines.

  6. Huh. It's all making more sense now. For like a year that conversation with the first pilot stuck with me. Because pilots are really smart. They were the last people I thought would be so against these cars. I guess I can kinda understand it now.

  7. Capital of Texas RefugeeWednesday, June 06, 2018 3:05:00 PM

    The Airbus A320 is a fly-by-wire plane in which there is all of the expected Gallic arrogance: it will resist every attempt to fly it by purely manual means to the point that it will insist on crashing under program despite all indications that it's going to do that.

    Slamming into some hills outside Islamabad, face planting in a number of exotic and not-so-exotic locales on approach ... and then there's that infamous euphemism "controlled flight into terrain" to gloss over some of the rest of the carnage.

    Pilots learned how horrible automatic computer control was with fly-by-wire systems, and so they're not going to trust any of that stuff in a car.

    I learned many years ago not to fly in any Airbus product.

    Maybe the A380 is OK though -- it hasn't face planted or slammed into hills yet, but there aren't many of them operating compared to the rest of the A3xx series.