Rise of the smart machines? Gartner offers warning over total autonomy

(c)iStock.com/Henrik5000 Ever heard of the Google Steering Wheel Dilemma? According to Brian Prentice, research vice president at analyst firm Gartner, the issue with the search giant’s self-driving cars is that a steering wheel may be self-defeating; if one is installed in a vehicle, it infers a sober, human driver is the last point of redundancy and therefore defeating the purpose. Yes, this is a tad metaphysical at the moment – but Prentice, speaking at Gartner’s Symposium-ITxpo in Australia last week, took the theory a stage further and argued the utilisation of all smart machines face a similar issue. “Smart machines respond to their environment. But what is the environment that the smart machine is responding to?” he said. “Environments that are largely uncontrollable are not amenable to smart machine projects…


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