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我们为什么对无人驾驶汽车心存疑虑?

更新时间:2017-10-25 20:03:25 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Driverless Cars Made Me Nervous. Then I Tried One.
我们为什么对无人驾驶汽车心存疑虑?

On my fourth day in a semi-driverless car, I finally felt comfortable enough to let it stop itself. Before then, I’d allowed the car — a Volvo S90 sedan — to steer around gentle turns, with my hands still on the wheel, and to adjust speed in traffic. By Day 4, I was ready to make a leap into the future.

坐在一辆半无人驾驶汽车里的第四天,我终于能够放心地让它自己停下来了。在那之前,这辆沃尔沃S90(Volvo S90)自己徐徐转弯,在车流中自行调整速度,但我依然把手放在方向盘上。到第四天,我准备跨入未来。

With the car traveling 40 miles an hour on a busy road in the Washington suburbs, I pushed a button to activate the driverless mode and moved my foot away from the brake and accelerator. The car kept its speed. Soon, a traffic light in the distance turned red, and the cars in front of me slowed. For a split second, I prepared to slam on the brake.

车子以每小时40英里(约合64公里)的速度行驶在华盛顿郊区一条繁忙的路上。我按了一下按钮,激活了无人驾驶模式,并把脚从刹车和油门上移开。车子保持着这个速度。很快,远处的交通信号灯变成了红色,前方车辆减速。在那一瞬间,我准备踩刹车。

There was no need. The cameras and computers in the Volvo recognized that other cars were slowing and smoothly began applying the brake. My car came to a stop behind the Ford ahead of me. I began laughing, even though no one else was in the car, as my anxiety turned to relief.

但根本不需要。沃尔沃上的摄像头和计算机识别到其它车辆都在减速,于是也开始平稳地制动。我的车停在了前面的福特(Ford)后面。我笑了起来,尽管车里没有别人;我的担心消失了。

If you’re anything like most people, you’re familiar with this anxiety. Almost 80 percent of Americans fear traveling in a self-driving car, a recent poll found.

如果你跟大部分人一样,对这种担心不会陌生。最近的一项调查发现,有将近80%的美国人害怕乘坐自动驾驶汽车。

When a friend saw me in the Volvo last week and I explained that I was test-driving it for work, she asked which roads I’d be using — so she could avoid them. Another friend asked if driverless cars could be hacked. Colleagues said they feared semiautonomous cars lulling people into ignoring the road.

上周,一个朋友看到我坐在这辆沃尔沃里,我解释说正在试验用它上下班。她问我会走哪些路段,她好避开。另一个朋友问无人驾驶汽车会不会遭到黑客入侵。同事则说,他们担心半自动汽车会导致人们不注意路况。

Driverless cars tap deep into the human psyche. We want to be in control, or at least to give control to trained professionals, like doctors. We don’t want computers to be in charge.

无人驾驶汽车深入了人类的心理。我们希望掌控一切,或者至少把掌控权交给训练有素的专业人士,比如医生。我们不想让计算机做主。

Researchers at Penn and the University of Chicago have conducted some clever experiments that capture this phenomenon. They asked participants to complete tasks (like predicting which business-school applicants would go on to successful careers) and compare their performance with a computer algorithm’s. After the computer made a mistake, people were reluctant to use it again. After the people made mistakes, their self-confidence didn’t budge.

宾夕法尼亚大学和芝加哥大学(University of Chicago)的研究人员进行了一些构思巧妙的实验,捕捉到了这种现象。他们让参与者完成任务(如预测哪些申请商学院的人会在事业上取得成功),并对比他们和计算机算法的表现。在计算机出现错误后,人们不愿再次使用计算机;而在自己犯错后,他们的自信并不会减少。

They rationalized their own imperfections, while obsessing over the computer’s shortcomings. It didn’t matter that the human beings made more mistakes — a lot more — than the computer.

他们对自己的缺点做出了合理的解释,对计算机的不足却耿耿于怀。人类犯的错多于并且远远多于计算机又怎样?

So it is with driving. Human driving is a public-health scourge. More than 37,000 Americans died in crashes last year, most from human error. In my community, the heartbreaking toll included a mother, father and their teenage son, killed when a speeding car slammed into their car on one of those busy suburban roads. Their teenage daughter survived.

驾驶也一样。人类驾驶是对公共健康的威胁。去年,美国超过3.7万人死于车祸,大部分都是由于人为失误。在我所在的社区,令人痛心的车祸遇难者包括一对父母和他们十几岁的儿子。在一条繁忙的郊区公路上,一辆超速行驶的汽车撞上了他们的车。他们十几岁的女儿幸存了下来。

The death count from cars exceeds that from guns. So if you are outraged by guns and want things to change, you should feel the same about car crashes.

汽车致死人数超过了枪支。因此,如果你对枪支感到愤慨,并且希望情况有所改变,那么你对车祸也应该持同样的态度。

Technology creates an opportunity to save lives. Computers don’t get drowsy, drunk or distracted by text messages, and they don’t have blind spots. Just look at commercial airlines: Automation has helped all but eliminate fatal crashes among American air carriers. The last one happened in 2009.

科技创造了一个挽救生命的机会。计算机不会昏昏欲睡、喝得酩酊大醉,或被短信分神,也没有视野的盲点。只需看看商业航空公司:在自动化的帮助下,美国的航空公司几乎消除了机毁人亡的事故。最后一起发生在2009年。

The technology for semi-driverless cars still isn’t good enough or cheap enough. The $50,000 Volvo I was driving — like a Tesla I’ve tried — got confused by unpainted lane lines, for instance, and I had to take over. But the technology is improving rapidly. Within a few years, many cars will have sophisticated crash-avoidance systems.

半无人驾驶汽车的技术还不够完善,也不够便宜。比如,我开的这辆售价5万美元(约合33万元人民币)的沃尔沃和我试驾过的特斯拉(Tesla)一样,被没有刷漆的分道线搞糊涂了,以致我不得不接手。但这项技术正在迅速改进。几年后,很多车都会配备精密的防撞系统。

I expect that we will agonize about using them, out of both legitimate caution and irrational fear. Any driverless crashes will be sensationalized, as has already happened, while we ignore tens of thousands of deaths from human crashes. But I still expect that driving will be revolutionized sooner than many people now understand.

我预计我们会为使用防撞系统犯愁,这既是出于合理的谨慎,也是出于不合逻辑的担忧。任何无人驾驶车祸都会被大肆渲染,而人为车祸造成数以万计的人死亡却被我们无视。这种情况已经在发生了。但我依然预计驾驶的革命性巨变,来得会比很多人现在以为的早。

Those researchers at Penn and Chicago also studied the circumstances in which people get comfortable with computer control, and found a theme: When the choice isn’t all or nothing — when people have “even a slight amount” of control — they are more open to automation.

宾夕法尼亚大学和芝加哥大学的研究人员还研究了人们放心地让计算机控制的情况,并发现了一个主题:当选择不是非此即彼,也就是说当人们还掌握着“哪怕是少量的”控制权时,他们更愿意接受自动化。

That’s where driving is headed. The shift will be gradual, not sudden, as Google’s chief economist, Hal Varian, told me. Cars will handle many tasks, while a human driver will have override power. The combination won’t be perfect, but it can be much better than the status quo.

这正是驾驶的发展方向。正如谷歌(Google)的首席经济学家哈尔·瓦里安(Hal Varian)告诉我的一样,转变将是一个渐进的过程,而非一蹴而就。将来,汽车会处理很多任务,而人类驾驶员有否决权。这种组合并不完美,但很可能比现在的情况要好得多。

My own experience also leads me to think that attitudes may change quickly. One of the more powerful forces in human psychology is known as the familiarity principle. After people have experience with something, they usually feel more positively about it.

我自己的经历也促使我认为,态度的转变可能会很快。人类心理学中有一种更强大的力量,叫做熟悉定律。在有了做某件事的经历后,人们对它的态度往往会更加正面。

I began my short time with the Volvo too nervous to use some features. By the end, I was confident that the car made me safer. Now that I’m back to driving a nearly decade-old Toyota, I miss the things that initially made me anxious.

刚开始和这辆沃尔沃短暂相处时,我太过紧张,以致无法使用一些功能。但到最后,我确信它会让我更加安全。现在回去开一辆车龄近10年的丰田后,我颇为想念那些当初让我焦虑的东西。

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