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With autonomous technology, words matter

Today, the Obama administration announced new guidelines for automakers selling vehicles with self-driving, or autonomous capabilities. Manufacturers will be asked to evaluate and accurately describe their vehicle's self-driving systems' design, their validation testing, how the feature is actuated and safety precautions in the field, all before those systems can go on sale to the public and used on public roads. The government will ask for data on 15 different topics, but most importantly, on how information and warnings are presented to the driver and how the vehicle's object detection works and electronic security measures, among other things.
“This automated-vehicle policy envisions greater transparency as the Department of Transportation works with manufacturers to ensure that safety is appropriately addressed on the front end of development," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx during a Monday conference call with reporters. Foxx further stated "[we do not want] this technology landing on our doors [when] our department [is] not able to deal with it on our own terms."
Automakers welcomed this policy announcement. Though they have long felt that overregulation could squelch innovation, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (which has 12 manufacturer members) lauded the DOT’s decision. "Guidance is the right action to take since the technology is developing quickly and collaboration between automakers and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is critical to avoid policies that become outdated and inadvertently limit progress in reducing the number of crashes and saving lives,” the group said. “A policy that evolves is smart given the pace of technology.”
Secretary Foxx also put a firm stake in the ground with regard to federal authority over this issue. “Our approach to this falls squarely within our existing authorities,” said Foxx and fervently wants to avoid “a patchwork of state laws.” States will still control and enforce traffic laws and regulate vehicle insurance and liability.
The Obama administration additionally stated that it may need to define a greater level of authority for NHTSA and may seek government approval of any and all autonomous vehicle systems before market release. However, this change to NHTSA's role would require an act of congress to implement.
Some reports have indicated that NHTSA also wishes to change the general vehicle safety certification process where every car model marketed in the U.S. goes through full crash testing before it goes on sale. Since 1966, the industry has always self-certified, but presented full compliance documentation to NHTSA before market launch.
Speaking exclusively to the New York Daily News, NHTSA's Bryan Thomas clarified this topic, stating that NHTSA may in the future look to different methods of certification, but that upending the entire certification process is not in the cards, which should be a relief for taxpayers because doing so would cost billions of dollars and require thousands in extra manpower.
Government agencies and technology: Do they get it?
None of this addresses the vehicles on roads today with autonomous features, which include not only Teslas and Mercedes-Benzes at the high end, but Chevrolets, Fords and Toyotas on the affordable end, too. NHTSA will work with automakers to carry out assessments for their Level 2 vehicles on the road now.
It is unclear, however, that the government agencies involved have a complete understanding of how autonomous technology works, both in theory and practice, especially since many automakers are going about it in different ways. In fact, NHTSA just scrapped its own definitions of the various levels of autonomous, self-driving capabilities and adopted the widely-accepted Society of Automotive Engineers' definitions of Levels 0 through 5. (For our coverage on all autonomous features and definitions, click here).
In a larger sense, the government has recently been caught out by technology and bigger events, in particular the recent Volkswagen diesel scandal. We should not forget that the EPA did not discover the emissions cheating software Volkswagen employed on its cars going back to 2009. A European non-profit organization first caught an informal whiff of this in Rome and Milan. The non-profit then hired the University of West Virginia's sophisticated emissions lab to carry out methodical research into the matter, ultimately sharing its findings with the California Air Resources Board and then the EPA, making the government agency the fourth entity to know about it. No one can state whether the EPA would have discovered the cheat eventually. But we should all understand that they didn't find it initially.
With all the auto companies working furiously on autonomous capabilities, this will become the biggest technological and societal change in the vehicular world, possibly since the electric starter put the old-fashioned hand crank in the trash. We as a society must have a strong handle on its use and regulation.
Undoubtedly, autonomous capabilities will be the biggest change for owners and drivers because they fundamentally shift how we will interact with our vehicles. And not always in a cheery way.
Elephant in the garage: Tesla's "Autopilot"
Surely, some of the thrust behind this push by the government has been prompted by the death of Jacob Brown on May 7 of this year, driving a Tesla Model S in Florida with its "Autopilot" system engaged. Tesla's system uses adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and the ability to change lanes upon driver request to effectively take over some of the driving duties under certain conditions. But it is not completely unique today on the road. Other vehicles have systems that achieve the same things, to varying degrees of seamlessness.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk seemed to shift potential implied blame for the system's shortcomings in the Brown case by stating that it became confused by the vast white side of the large truck into which Brown crashed, mixing up that expanse of whiteness with the open sky. This suggestion implies its digital vision system –supplied by Mobileye – came up short on May 7, which did not go over well with Mobileye. Company CTO, Amnon Shashua severed ties with Tesla, citing that the carmaker has been using the vision sensor system in ways for which it not been designed, and "was pushing the envelope in terms of safety. It is a driver assistance system and not a driverless system," stated Shashua. Numerous YouTube videos have been posted by people passengering in their "Autopilot"- engaged Teslas, doing a colorful variety of entertaining things while paying no attention to driving the car.
Tesla states that it has "continuously educated customers on the use of the features, reminding them that they’re responsible to keep their hands on the wheel and remain alert and present when using Autopilot." The company also states the system has never been described as autonomous or self-driving, something that does not sync up with prior statements by Musk at many shareholder meetings. Finally, another Tesla crash which occurred in China last January is reportedly shaping up as Autopilot-related.
Jacob Brown was actually watching a video while driving and abdicated that responsibility. A tragic death, to be sure, but I could never imagine the Tesla being found legally at fault. Brown was solely responsible for his own demise. He was driving and he failed to avoid the crash.
But I would question the "Autopilot" label for Tesla's Level 2 autonomous features. The driver of any car is still responsible for maintaining control of the vehicle regardless of technology on board. "Autopilot" implies otherwise. No other car company that offers Level 2 autonomous features – and there are many – imply as strongly that their cars can drive themselves.
Another factor that must change as we march into greater technological operation of our cars is that a pitifully low percentage of new-car owners actually read their owner's/operator's manuals. Some automakers like Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler even store a version of the manual in the infotainment system to try to encourage interaction and so that operators can review it easily when problems arise. This lack of readership is all a great shame. I've written parts of these manuals before and it is painfully true that they're not exactly Tom Clancy thrillers. But understand this: The privately-owned automobile is the most complex and highly regulated piece of equipment available to the public, bar none. And there was a gap sufficient enough in Brown's interaction with the Tesla he drove that resulted in his tragic death. Did Brown read the manual?
Words matter; Words describing more technology matter more
Whether or not he had a full understanding of the "Autopilot" system's limitations is a considerable question. If Tesla's "Autopilot" were labelled something less promising like "Speedminder," or "PaceTronic" would Jacob Brown be alive today? No one can say, of course. However, years ago, I had a great auto racing instructor tell me "even if you're already way off the racing course sliding on wet grass, careening backwards towards The Great Wall of China itself with your hair on fire -- never, ever stop driving the car." Brown stopped driving the car.
Several things are clear. We must have highly intelligent regulation and oversight of emerging technologies in our vehicles, autonomy being but one piece of the pie. Industry has long outstripped the government's ability to keep pace with these changes, be it in autos, digital communications or intellectual property. Terminology is also part of this pie. When you win $100 million from the lottery, organizers are very clear that you'll also owe a lot of that bundle to the government in taxes. Our emerging technology terminology must be at least as clear and forthright so that a marketing name is not misleading.
Especially in this political season when it seems like so much of our daily diet of words lack a minimum nutritional value, the words used in describing our technology and our automobiles' expanding capabilities matter.
The words matter. And until fully autonomous cars are here roughly ten years from now in your driveway, so does driving.
Promising or implying something you cannot deliver? Let's leave that to the politicians.
Tags: street smarts tesla autonomous cars future cars
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How Words Like Butt-Dial and Redditor Make It Into the Oxford English Dictionary

Redditor, shareable and butt-dial are among the latest words to join the Oxford English Dictionary, which keeps the definitive record of words that have permeated the English language.
Many of the words included in today's quarterly update were popularized on the Internet or are terms spawned from experiences with technology. There's the frustrated gamer who may rage-quit after being stuck too long on a level. Then there is that snackable (short, easy to read) story a friend posted on Facebook.
Clifford Sofield, an assistant editor at Oxford English Dictionary, told ABC News a team of editors is responsible for evaluating new words that may have gained a place in the vernacular to determine if they meet an established set of standards to be added to the dictionary.
"Basically, we assess these words along the same standards [as all others]," Sofield said. "They have to show evidence for sufficient currency and longevity."
Take for example LOL, which was added to the dictionary in 2011 and has changed parts of speech.
"You can talk about a tweet, say it has gotten a lot of LOLz and it can be pronounced as a word. You can see it appearing in popular books and novels especially ones aimed at young people," Sofield said. "People are using LOL unselfconsciously. They are able to say it without explanation and people know what they mean."
Among the other words joining the dictionary in this update are hangry, the feeling of being so hungry you're angry; wine o'clock, an appropriate time of day to begin drinking; and the gender neutral honorific Mx.
Once a word has made it into the dictionary, it will forever remain a part of the collection, Sofield said. That means perhaps centuries from now people may LOL about the term butt dial.
"It’s a record of all of the core words and meaning in English over more than 1,000 years," Sofield explained. "It actually reports not just the meanings of words but the history."

Top 10 Technology Words of The Day – 20160429

You may love reading the tech news, tech blog, tech memes, and so many other sources about technology today. Here we’ve come with the idea of 10 technology words on a daily basis. These words will be listed from our editor’s choice, and this is one way to make us being more connected with the tech blogs since at the end of the day it’s all about your writing, right?
1, Android Rival Apps : The core word here is “rival” while the other two can be replaced by any of the words you would love to. This is what the post on NYT  reports about Google to help Rivals out of consumers. Among the tech cool words, the word of “rival” is used daily then.
2, To be plotting a hardware shake-up: This is a cool phrase on Google to hire ex-Motorola Chief for running the corporate new hardware division. If you ever search Google for this phrase then it belongs to the Re/code team at @mhbergen and @inafried.
3, Bespoke Q&A Resource: I do have more than a question to ask in a single time. Google seems to be everyone’s most reliable Q&A service so far? Hey, let me Google then. The word is mentioned in one post about Jelly app relaunching as a search engine. Hey, Google, let me ask Jelly, ok?. And it does sound so cool since it reminds me about a Vietnamese SF based startup named Go.IT with a promotion of beating search engine giant Google in terms of providing question on demand with real professors’ answers.
4, DNA Storage or synthetic DNA: I think this term is too new to be shared, but it makes me afraid of the web data. Imagine that you write posts every day, you post daily those pictures and re-upload pictures, videos, texts, whatever digital data it could be? Then the storage can be full, on the whole. Can it be a new solution for digital information from the tech of synthetic DNA storage, which is shared by Twist Bioscience?
5, Outpacing The Growth: Thanks Sarah for sharing with us great post about social messenger apps for Windows 10. The arrival of Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram for Windows 10 and Windows 10 mobile is just a great options for social network users. The increase on apps for active devices are in a great number, which shows that Microsoft supports for Windows 10 apps is truly highly engaged.
6, Be on the Vast Oceans Of The Internet: It seems that our AmazinessNet is too small on the vast oceans of the Internet. Yes, we love it to be small, but as a node in the network. Since I’ve got to say Internet is a network, or the vast oceans as Claire Reilly mentioned that in Twitter wants a role changing from a social channel to be a “news” in the Apps Store.
7, PC-Centric Features: Well, that’s what DtoidJordan predicts on new feature updates for Forza Motorsport 6 when this game is soon to come out Windows 10 PC. What could you learn through a PC-Centric features? I guess it could be a brilliant, powerful, and super dude for the games on PC, right? The word that feels.
8, Staggeringly Gigantic: That’s how Timothy talks about No Man’s Sky lore on an interesting video game story that Sean Murray introduces. Well, I love the video presents about this lore talks, and I also love to know more than that of the Playstation 4 special edition then.
9, A Gag Order: Well, I’ve known a site named 9gag, but the gag order is a featured word. Here it comes, from the Facebook transparency report in which the data request was made for 46,763 times, according to Venture Beat.
10, Something is A Pixel? : That’s another ChromeBook 13 from Hewlett Packard. Would you love a Pixel like the HP Chromebook Pixel? Well, it is coming with great features of powerful compact notebook, then why not just give it a “pixel” for the new design then.
This idea of telling you the cool technology words is what I’ve been thinking around since this January, but here is my first post on technology words. All of the terms are owned by the writer on tech news posts or tech blogs, and I want to thank you to tech writer for making the technology news much more inspired day by day.
Read More Tech News on: amaziness.net/technews