The multi-billion dollar quest for the self-driving car made me think. What can autonomous car developers learn from the movie Silence Of The Lambs?
Remember how the imprisoned Hannibal Lecter helped Clarice Starling, FBI trainee, to succeed where federal marshals, state and local police, profilers and forensic experts etc. hadn’t? Think of them as the countless robotics engineers who work feverishly on the detecting and imaging hard- and software, and the complex algorithms, in their pursuit of self-driving. Lecter teaches Starling to observe what is elementary, not incidental. This is how a dialogue between the two about the driverless car may have sounded like.
First principles, Clarice. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does it do, this autonomous car you seek?… This Auto-Mobile…
It drives around after having kicked out the person behind the steering wheel.
No! That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing it does, what need does the AI serve by driving autonomously?
Take over control. Convenience humans. Efficiency…
No, it covets. That’s its nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet? Make an effort to answer.
No. We just…
We begin by coveting what we see every day. Don’t you want to solve gridlock, improve air quality, put a stop to the utter waste of energy, public space and precious materials, and curb the car’s role in Global Warming?
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