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     as well as [[List of all comics]], which is obviously not a comic page. -->
 
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remain. '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Add yours]]''' while there's a chance!
 
remain. '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Add yours]]''' while there's a chance!
 
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== Latest comic ==
 
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== New here? ==
 
== New here? ==
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<div style="float:right; margin: 0 0 1em 1em">{{Special:ContributionScores/10/7/nosort,notools}}<div style="font-size:0.85em; width:25em; font-style:italic">[[Special:ContributionScores|Lots of people]] contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account [[Special:UserLogin/signup|here]].</div></div>
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You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at [[explain xkcd]]. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
 
You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at [[explain xkcd]]. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
  
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* Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
 
* Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
  
* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links ([[like this]]) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! [[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]].
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* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links ([[like this]]) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]]'''.
  
 
== Rules ==
 
== Rules ==

Revision as of 21:16, 24 March 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 5 xkcd comics, and only 1953 (100%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Self-Driving Issues
If most people turn into muderers all of a sudden, we'll need to push out a firmware update or something.
Title text: If most people turn into muderers all of a sudden, we'll need to push out a firmware update or something.

Explanation

Cueball explains being worried about autonomous cars, noting that it may be possible to fool the sensory systems of the vehicles. This is a common concern with AIs; since they think analytically and have little to no capability for abstract thought, they can be fooled by things a human would immediately realize is deceptive.

However, Cueball quickly realizes that his argument actually doesn't hold up when comparing AI drivers to human drivers, as both in fact rely on the same guidance framework. Human drivers follow signs and road markings, and must obey the laws of the road just as an AI must. Therefore, attacking the road infrastructure impacts both AIs and humans equally in this case.

Cueball further wonders why, in this case, nobody tries to fool human drivers as they might try to fool an AI, but White Hat and Megan point out the obvious sociological answer; that most road safety systems benefit from humans not actively trying to maliciously sabotage them.

The title text continues the line of reasoning, noting that if most people did suddenly become murderers, the AI would need to be upgraded in order to deal with the presumable increase in people trying to cause car crashes by fooling the AI - a somewhat narrowly-focused solution given that a world full of murderers would probably have many more problems than that. It might also be suggesting a firmware update for the people who have become murderers, one that would fix their murderous ways. We are not currently at a point where we can create and apply firmware updates for people, however... unless you count psychiatry, cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, mind-altering drugs, prison, CRISPR, etc.

This cartoon and 1955: Robots share the common theme of human fear and overreaction to the advent of more or less autonomous robots.

Transcript

[Cueball is speaking while standing alone in a slim panel.]
Cueball: I worry about self-driving car safety features.
[In a frame-less panel it turns out that Cueball is standing between White Hat and Megan, holding his arms out towards each of them, while he continues to speak.]
Cueball: What's to stop someone from painting fake lines on the road, or dropping a cutout of a pedestrian onto a highway, to make cars swerve and crash?
[Zoom in on Cueball's head as he continues to contemplate the situation holding a hand to his chin, while looking in White Hat's direction. Megan replies from off-panel behind him.]
Cueball: Except... those things would also work on human drivers. What's stopping people now?
Megan (off-panel): Yeah, causing car crashes isn't hard.
[Zoom back out to show all three of them again.]
White Hat: I guess it's just that most people aren't murderers?
Cueball: Oh, right. I always forget.
Megan: An underappreciated component of our road safety system.

Trivia

The title text was published with a typo: "murderers" was misspelled as "muderers."



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Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.

Rules

Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.) Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

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