Main Page

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
m (Waldir moved page explain xkcd to Main Page: revert move)
(New here?)
(36 intermediate revisions by 7 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
__NOTOC__
+
__NOTOC__{{DISPLAYTITLE:explain xkcd}}
{{DISPLAYTITLE:explain xkcd}}
+
 
+
 
<center>
 
<center>
<big>''Welcome to the '''explain xkcd''' wiki!''
+
<font size=5px>''Welcome to the '''explain [[xkcd]]''' wiki!''</font>
We already have [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-3}}''' comic explanations]]!</big>
+
  
(But there are still {{#expr:{{LATESTCOMIC}}-({{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-3)}} to go. Come and [[List of all comics|add yours]]!)
+
We have an explanation for all [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics|R}}-13}}''' xkcd comics]],
 +
<!-- Note: the -13 in the calculation above is to discount subcategories (there are 8 of them as of 2013-02-27),
 +
    as well as [[List of all comics]] and the pages it has been split across, which are obviously not comic pages.
 +
    The extra one difference corresponds to 404, which is not really a comic, even though we've categorised it so.
 +
-->
 +
and only {{PAGESINCAT:Incomplete articles|R}}
 +
({{#expr: {{PAGESINCAT:Incomplete articles|R}} / {{LATESTCOMIC}} * 100 round 0}}%) [[:Category:Incomplete articles|are incomplete]]. Help us finish them!
 
</center>
 
</center>
 
 
== Latest comic ==
 
== Latest comic ==
 
 
<div style="border:1px solid grey; background:#eee; padding:1em;">
 
<div style="border:1px solid grey; background:#eee; padding:1em;">
<span style="float:right;">[[{{LATESTCOMIC}}|'''Go to this comic''']]</span>
+
<span style="float:right;">[[{{LATESTCOMIC}}|'''Go to this comic explanation''']]</span>
 
<br clear="right">
 
<br clear="right">
 
{{:{{LATESTCOMIC}}}}
 
{{:{{LATESTCOMIC}}}}
Line 18: Line 19:
 
{{Talk:{{LATESTCOMIC}}}}
 
{{Talk:{{LATESTCOMIC}}}}
 
}}</div>
 
}}</div>
 +
 +
<small>''Is this out of date? {{Purge|Clicking here will fix that}}.''</small>
  
 
== New here? ==
 
== New here? ==
Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the explain xkcd wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an [http://www.xkcd.com xkcd] web comic, it should be here.
+
<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>
  
* If you're new to wikis like this, take a look at these help pages describing [[mw:Help:Navigation|how to navigate]] the wiki, and [[mw:Help:Editing pages|how to edit]] pages.
+
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.
  
* Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
+
*If you're new to wikis like this, take a look at these help pages describing [[mw:Help:Navigation|how to navigate]] the wiki, and [[mw:Help:Editing pages|how to edit]] pages.
  
* [[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!
+
*Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at [[Explain XKCD:Community portal]]. Share your 2¢!
 +
 
 +
*[[List of all comics]] contains a table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed [[:Category:Incomplete articles|here]]. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
 +
 
 +
*If you see that a new comic hasn't been explained yet, you can create it: '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]]'''.
 +
 
 +
*We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go [[explain xkcd:Advertise Here|here]].
  
 
== Rules ==
 
== 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.
+
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.
 
If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
  
Please only submit material directly related to&mdash;and helping everyone better understand&mdash;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 posting such are at risk of being blocked.
+
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.
 
+
If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is [[Special:ListUsers/sysop|here]].
+
 
+
== Logo ==
+
  
Explain xkcd logo courtesy of [[User:Alek2407]].
+
If you need assistance from an [[explain xkcd:Administrators|admin]], post a message to the [[explain xkcd:Community portal/Admin requests|Admin requests]] board.
  
 
[[Category:Root category]]
 
[[Category:Root category]]

Revision as of 03:05, 4 September 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have an explanation for all 1 xkcd comics, and only 0 (0%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

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

Explanation

Cueball explains being worried about self-driving 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 assumes that his argument actually doesn't hold up when comparing AI drivers to human drivers, as both 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, an attack on the road infrastructure could impact both AIs and humans. However, humans and AIs are not equally vulnerable. For example, a fake sign or a fake child could appear to a human as an obvious fake but fool an AI. A creative attacker could put up a sign with CAPTCHA-like text that would be readable by humans but not by an AI.

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 most obvious answer: most road safety systems benefit from humans not actively trying to maliciously sabotage them simply to cause accidents.

The title text continues the line of reasoning, noting that if most people did suddenly become murderers, the AI might be needed 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. As Megan sees humans as a 'component' of the road safety system, it might also be suggesting a firmware update for the buggy people who have all become murderers, one that would fix their murderous ways. We are not currently at a point where we can create and apply instantaneous firmware updates for large populations; even combining all the behavioral modification tools at our disposal -- psychiatry, cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis, mind-altering drugs, prison, CRISPR, etc. -- is not enough to perform such a massive undertaking.

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."

The theme of human fear and overreaction to the advent of more or less autonomous robots also features in 1955: Robots.

Self-driving cars is a recurring subject on xkcd.

A variation on the idea that humans are mentally "buggy" is suggested in 258: Conspiracy Theories, though in that case divine intervention is requested to implement the "firmware upgrade".

This comic appeared one day after the Electronic Frontier Foundation co-released a report titled The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation. The report cites subversions and mitigations of AI such as ones used in self-driving cars. However, the report tends toward overly technical means of subversion. Randall spoofs the tenor of the report through his mundane subversions and over-the-top mitigations.


Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

New here?

Last 7 days (Top 10)

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 table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • If you see that a new comic hasn't been explained yet, you can create it: Here's how.
  • We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go here.

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.

If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.

Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
Tools

It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?