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本文摘要:On Wednesday morning, during Google’s annual meeting, a shareholder named John M. Simpson stood up to question the company’s top executives about its self-driving car program. They were not friendly questions.周三早上,谷歌(Google)举办年会时,一位名为约翰·M·


On Wednesday morning, during Google’s annual meeting, a shareholder named John M. Simpson stood up to question the company’s top executives about its self-driving car program. They were not friendly questions.周三早上,谷歌(Google)举办年会时,一位名为约翰·M·辛普森(John M. Simpson)的股东车站一起,向公司的高管发问关于自动驾驶汽车项目的问题。这些问题可并不友好关系。Simpson, 67, works for a nonprofit called Consumer Watchdog, where he directs its Privacy Project. In recent years, he has focused largely on Google, which, he told me, he hopes to prod into “being more respectful of people’s privacy when they do business.” Owning Google stock allows him to ask questions at the annual meeting.67岁的辛普森供职于一家取名为消费者监督(Consumer Watchdog)的非营利机构,是该机构隐私项目(Privacy Project)的主管。


In the run-up to this week’s meeting, Simpson issued a string of press releases critical of Google’s self-driving vehicles. He feared that Google would collect data from car owners, stripping away even more of people’s privacy. He noted that Google’s “autonomous cars,” as they’re called, have been involved in 11 accidents (two recent fender-benders brings it up to 13). He listed what he said were the technology’s flaws: for instance, that it can’t make out hand signals from a driver in another car.在本周的会议开会之前,辛普森公开发表了一系列新闻稿抨击谷歌的自动驾驶汽车。他担忧,谷歌不会搜集车主的数据,欺压人们更好的隐私。他注意到,早已有11宗事故(算上最近的两次剐蹭,共计13宗)都牵涉到谷歌的所谓“自动汽车”。

他提及了一些在他显然归属于技术缺失的问题,例如,无法解读另一辆车中司机作出的手势。Finally, Simpson noted that Google — and Google alone — envisions cars that have no steering wheels or brakes, cars where everyone is a passenger. Simpson views this as Google’s hubris, pointing out that other car companies view self-driving technology as a complement, not replacement, for the driver. “We think there always needs to be the ability of a human to take over if need be,” he told me. Having looked into it more closely, I’ve come to the opposite conclusion.最后,辛普森提及,谷歌——只有谷歌——设想的是一种没方向盘、没刹车的汽车,所有人都是乘客。辛普森指出,这是谷歌的刻薄。他认为,其他汽车公司指出,自动驾驶技术对司机是一种补足,而不是替代。

“我们指出,让人类在适当时掌控车辆,这一点总是必须的,”他告诉他我。在更加细心地研究过这一问题之后,我得出结论了忽略的结论。Google’s effort to build a self-driving car is part of the division called Google X, led by a scientist with the too perfect name of Astro Teller. The goal of Google X is to attempt “moonshots” — efforts that require a radical solution that, if they succeed, would solve a huge problem (while making a nice return for Google, of course). The big problem self-driving cars could help solve, said Teller in a recent speech, is the “1.2 million people who die every year in car accidents.”谷歌生产自动驾驶汽车的项目,是一个称为Google X的部门积极开展的。领导这个部门的科学家有一个再行适合不过的名字,叫作阿斯特罗·泰勒(Astro Teller,意为“星际揭露者”——学术著作)。

Google X的目标是尝试“射击月亮开炮”——这样志存高远的项目必须保守的解决方案,如果顺利的话可以解决问题根本性问题(当然也可以为谷歌带给可观的报酬)。泰勒在最近的一次演说中说,自动驾驶汽车可以解决问题的根本性问题是,“每年在行车事故中有120万人遇难”。During the six years Google has been working on self-driving technology, its cars have been taught to understand how to traverse the roads. With their combination of robotics, sensors and computing power, they know how to stop at a stop sign, look for oncoming pedestrians, change lanes, get on the freeway and anticipate all the various problems that drivers face.在谷歌研究自动驾驶技术的六年时间里,研究人员早已让谷歌汽车学会了在马路上如何通行。通过综合运用机器人技术、传感器和计算能力,这些汽车懂怎样在行驶标牌前行驶、留意走过的行人、变道、驶进高速路,并为司机遇上的各种问题预先作好打算。

Using retrofitted Lexuses, Google has driven a million miles autonomously. More recently, it has built several dozen small cars without steering wheels and brakes and is ready to test them in the streets of Mountain View, Calif. (though the State of California is insisting that Google add a steering wheel and brakes to the cars it sends out for this experiment).谷歌用于经过改装成的雷克萨斯(Lexus)汽车,早已自动驾驶了100万英里。最近,谷歌还生产了数十辆没方向盘和刹车的小轿车,而且早已准备好在加利福尼亚州山景市(Mountain View)的街道上展开试驾。(不过加州参议院坚决拒绝谷歌在开到街头试驾的车辆中,减少方向盘和刹车。)It’s true that Google is alone in envisioning a world of completely driverless cars, while other car companies see self-driving technology as merely an extra feature that can be turned off. Google’s conclusion is not the result of hubris, however. Unlike its new cars, the retrofitted Lexuses also allow for human driving.的确,只有谷歌在设想一个汽车几乎无人驾驶的世界,而其他汽车厂商指出,自动驾驶技术只是一个可以重开的额外功能。


Google realized that when people had the ability to drive autonomously, they paid less attention to what they were doing. “People don’t even pay attention to driving when they are driving,” said Teller. The cars, which have 360-degree vision and can “see” much further ahead than humans, were at their safest when people didn’t have the option of taking the controls.谷歌找到,尽管人类有自律驾驶员汽车的能力,但他们对自己正在做到的事情代价的注意力更加较少。“人们在驾车的时候,甚至都不去留意与驾车涉及的事情,”泰勒说道。

这些汽车具有360度的视野,可以“看见”的距离远比人类近,不获取让人类掌控的选项,反而是最安全性的。Alain Kornhauser, a self-driving car expert at Princeton University, pointed out to me that when the auto companies install autonomous features to aid drivers, it won’t be the humans who escape accidents by taking over from the technology — which is what Simpson assumes. Rather, the technology will step in to override human error.普林斯顿大学(Princeton University)的自动驾驶汽车专家艾伦·科恩豪泽(Alain Kornhauser)认为,汽车厂商为了辅助驾驶员而加装了自动驾驶技术,但这不是像辛普森所设想的那样,让人类从科技手中夺下过驾驶员权,进而从事故中逃脱,而是让技术插手,缺失人类的错误。Google notes that in every accident its cars have been involved in, all of them minor, the self-driving cars have never been at fault — except on the one occasion when a Google driver took the controls. And all the “flaws” Simpson notes are things that Google has either solved or is in the process of solving.谷歌提及,牵涉到该公司汽车的事故都是小事故,而且任何一起事故中,自动驾驶汽车都没责任——只有一起除外,而那次事故中谷歌的驾驶员掌控了方向盘。

而且辛普森提及的所有“缺失”,谷歌不是早已解决问题,就是正在解决问题过程中。At the annual meeting, Simpson asked Google if it would pledge not to use any customer data it gathers from driverless cars for marketing purposes. David Drummond, the company’s general counsel, ducked the question, saying it was too early to make any such pledge. Simpson also asked Google to release the accident reports. In truth, Google has released plenty of information about the accidents, and on Friday began issuing monthly reports that include descriptions of accidents.在年会上,辛普森告知谷歌,否不愿允诺,不将无人驾驶汽车中收集的顾客数据用作营销目的。

谷歌首席法务官戴维·德拉蒙德(David Drummond)规避了这个问题,称之为现在作出任何此类允诺都为时过早。辛普森还拒绝谷歌发布涉及的事故报告。实质上,谷歌公布了很多关于事故的信息,而且开始在周五公布月度报告,其中还包括对事故的叙述。Simpson and other consumer advocates are right to press Google — and all the big tech companies — on privacy issues. The profligate use of our data has become a big concern for many Americans. But on the question of whether Google should be promoting completely autonomous cars, he couldn’t be more wrong. The sooner they are a reality, the safer we’ll all be.辛普森和其他消费者权益提倡人士就隐私议题向谷歌(以及所有大型科技企业)施加压力是准确的。