Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Google’s Self-Driving Cars Have at Least One Happy Customer

If you have trouble imagining Google’s self-driving cars actually making their way out of the lab and into normal life, watch this video of a blind man running errands from the driver’s seat of a test vehicle.

Steve Mahan, who says in the video he’s “well past legally blind” with 95 percent of his vision lost, buys tacos from a drive-through, picks up his dry cleaning, and talks about how much the promise of independence means to him.

Google released the video this week, along with a milestone: Its autonomous cars have completed 200,000 miles of computer-led driving.

The company also preemptively warned watchers that Mahan took a “carefully programmed route.”

“We organized this test as a technical experiment, but we think it’s also a promising look at what autonomous technology may one day deliver if rigorous technology and safety standards can be met,” said Google’s fine print.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik