Talk:1897: Self Driving

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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I think this is more a reference to various projects (like the ReCAPTCHA that protects this site) that use CAPTCHAs to digitise text and so on, by involuntarily crowdsourcing the typing out of the text by users trying to complete a login, rather than specifically about bots trying to circumvent anti-bot protection. It also brings to mind things like the Zooniverse projects, where volunteers contribute to the classification of astronomical bodies, identification of animals in game reserves, and so on, in that a computer is able to make a rough guess as to what the image is, but it takes a human intervention to make a reliable (and therefore useful) identification. Similarly, Google's (now discontinued) Picasa software had a 'People' function where it would attempt to guess who the people in your photos were - yet it would make so many false identifications, and make you go through saying 'Yes/No' to each of them, that it often felt as though you might just as well have classified them all yourself in the first place.162.158.155.32 10:33, 2 October 2017 (UTC)

The comic clearly references techniques like reCAPTCHA that trick (1) unsuspecting people into doing the real work for free while they think they are solving a captcha, and (2) users of the final product who think it was created by an AI (or at least an OCR) when it was done "by hand". The comic is neither about teaching AIs, nor voluntary collaborative projects. Zetfr 11:42, 2 October 2017 (UTC)

I think the comic is about the borderlands between knowingly volunteering your time and unknowlingly supplying an AI with valuable information. When reading the caption my first thought was Google Translate, where the gamification / voluntary work is based on the texts submitted by a lot of unsuspecting users. When voluntarily contributing to the AI, I've been presented with some poor bloke's chat log, and another person's travel plans. 162.158.134.100 12:11, 2 October 2017 (UTC)

From what I have read, some image recognition AI projects use human input to refine their algorithms. Many AI algorithms also give probabilities of the correctness of the results. So in the domain of image recognition for self-driving cars it is conceivable that the computer would request human input to verify the interpretation of the scene. The comic is considering this possibility in a context that pokes fun at the field of AI in a rather scary real-world situation. Rtanenbaum (talk) 13:31, 2 October 2017 (UTC)

"From the creators of "Twitch Plays Pokemon" comes an all new reality series that'll blow you away! "Twitch Taxi!" Coming this Fall!" 162.158.62.153 13:38, 2 October 2017 (UTC)

Twitch-driven car would crash in SECONDS. -- Hkmaly (talk) 03:52, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
We need Twitch Plays Mario Kart. Right now. NealCruco (talk) 02:27, 4 October 2017 (UTC)
Twitch plays GTA? (I'm talking about the original one from 1997. But the 3D versions could be... interesting, too.) Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:32, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

It seems to me the person viewing the image and registering some product is not an occupent of the "self driving" car being referred to in the comic. Rather, the self driving car (possibly containing passengers) is dependent on some random stranger on the Internet responding (correctly) to the question about the stop sign. Maybe this is obvious but when I first glanced at the comic, my interpretation was the occupants of the vehicle were being asked for the information. But after thinking about it a bit, I believe that any passengers in the car are blissfully unaware of their situation, likely assuming the car doesn't depend on input from someone in the next 5 seconds or so. Not really sure how to word all this in the explanation. But it seems like a business model Black Hat would employ. 172.68.58.23 19:54, 2 October 2017 (UTC)Pat

There has never been any doubt in my mind that this CAPTCHA is being answered by someone having no relation to this car, not the passenger. I figure it's of the quiet "Psst! Help me out with this!" type of interaction, that the passenger is supposed to have no idea that the car is getting input, so as not to panic about their safety in this "self"-driving car. NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:19, 13 October 2017 (UTC)

This is a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wizard_of_Oz_experiment whereas actual self-driving cars, to the extent that they can use Recapcha-like human detection systems, would produce an asynchronous decision system. Other synchronous decision systems which actually exist are political voting and money as a token of the exchange value of trade. 141.101.98.82 14:48, 3 October 2017 (UTC)

I added a paragraph based on that comment to the explanation. 141.101.98.82 18:09, 3 October 2017 (UTC)


Does anyone else see a tornado in the distance off to left? —jcz 162.158.186.12 22:05, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

I suspect it's supposed to be a tree made blurry by being off to the side and caught by a crappy camera - same quality as a backup camera on a car - but it looks enough like it that I would consider it a possibility. Though I fail to see the point, since it isn't referenced and doesn't really relate to the rest of the comic. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:19, 13 October 2017 (UTC)