Speeding Ticket Robots To Cite Autonomous Cars?

Could you write a program to issue speeding tickets automatically? And if you did, what factors would be used to mitigate autonomous law enforcement, if any? Academics from West Point and Samford University in Alabama assigned it as a problem to student programmers, asking them to go beyond the parameters for an automatic ticketing device at intersections (which already exists).

These programmers were provided with real-world driving data extracted from the on-board computer of a commuter's automobile (a late model Toyota Prius) and a second dataset providing manually-constructed, but realistically-derived, speed limit information. Given this data, the first group was asked to implement “the letter of the law” and issue traffic citations accordingly (the datasets are available online). The second group was asked given an additional, carefully-crafted, written specification from which to base their software implementation. Both a computer scientist and an attorney reviewed this specification for accuracy. The specification was also verbally briefed to the third group to further clarify the requirements. The programmers had two weeks to complete the assignment.

The widely-varying interpretations by reasonable programmers demonstrate the human filter (or "bias") that goes into the drafting of the enforcement code. Once drafted, the code is unbiased in its execution, but bias is encoded into the system. This bias can vary widely unless the appropriate legislative or law enforcement body takes extra precautions, such as drafting a software specification and performing rigorous testing.

An automated system, however, could maintain a continuous flow of samples based on driving behavior and thus issue tickets accordingly. This level of resolution is not possible in manual law enforcement. In our experiment, the programmers were faced with the choice of how to treat many continuous samples all showing speeding behavior. Should each instance of speeding (e.g. a single sample) be treated as a separate offense, or should all consecutive speeding samples be treated as a single offense? Should the duration of time exceeding the speed limit be considered in the severity of the offense?

In the fine tradition of academia, their paper resulted in more questions than answers, of course, particularly in terms of the societal cost of automated law enforcement when involving artificially-intelligent robotic systems unmediated by human judgment.

However, modern-day academics must take a back seat to science fiction writers on this issue. In his excellent 1941 novella Old Fireball, Golden Age sf great Nat Schachner describes a dashboard device that could automatically issue you a ticket right in your car:

Kerry looked obediently at the little oblong screen above the dashboard. On it, flashing neatly, was imprinted a summons for violation of the traffic laws. The photoelectric eyes at each crossing had clocked the gyro's speed. As it passed the legal limit, the automatic mechanism recorded the offender's license, sent out the impulses that printed the summons in the offender's cab.
(Read more about the automatic speeding fine)

In John Jacob Astor's 1894 story A Journey in Other Worlds, there is a reference to instantaneous Kodaks which could be placed on a road for speed control.

The policemen on duty also have instantaneous kodaks mounted on tripods, which show the position of any carriage at half-and quarter-second intervals, by which it is easy to ascertain the exact speed, should the officers be unable to judge it by the eye; so there is no danger of a vehicle's speed exceeding that allowed in the section in which it happens to be; neither can a slow one remain on the fast lines.
(Read more about the instantaneous Kodaks)

Via An Experiment in the Law as Algorithm (pdf) and Ars Technica.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/10/2013)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Velkess Energy Storage System (It's A Flexible Flywheel!)
'The kinetic man unjacked Lalji’s kink-springs from the winding treadmills...'- Paolo Bacigalupi, 2005.

Man-Made Earthquakes Now A Reality
Fracking yields unexpected increase in energy. Earthquake energy, that is.

Love That Shear Thickening Fluid Body Armor
'The pressure suit was soft ... instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...'- Larry Niven, 1966.

Zoom Contact Lenses
'You've got DreamTime technology in contact lenses?'- Niven and Barnes, 1992.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Zap Space Debris With Telescope Laser On ISS
'... their lasers vaporized the smaller satellites...'

Moran Cerf, When Will We Get Neuro Tech For Ourselves?
If brainwave-sensing consumer products tickle your fancy...

Velkess Energy Storage System (It's A Flexible Flywheel!)
'The kinetic man unjacked Lalji’s kink-springs from the winding treadmills...'

Performance Enhancing Drugs - In Gaming?
'A faint smell of rachag stimulant wafted down the table.'

Automated Treadmill Adjusts To Your Pace
'The auto-treadmill's bumps and gullies matched...'

Mr. Anderton, Beware This Long-Range Iris Scanner
Try keeping your eyes shut, Mr. Anderton.

Mini Statues Of You From 3D Images
'...A three-dimensional simulacrum of himself six inches high took form.'

'Forever' Camera Powered By Its Own Images
'What I have in this camera is not a record of what you did just now but what will go on here in the next half hour...'

Robot Chef Makes Thousands Of Dinners
'I got one of those new electronic cameras... and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'

Revault Wearable Private Cloud Is Too Vaporous
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres...'

Spacex Sticks Landing! But Neglects Lateral Forces
So close!

Lumo Projector Turns Kids Rooms Into Bradbury's Veldt
'The walls began to purr and recede... and presently an African veldt appeared...'

Ground Control Space Beer
Ninkasi Brewing Co. has its own space program.

Google Wants To Give Orders To Robot Armies
Or maybe they aren't bent on world domination.

Gestures Control Spider Robot Army
'What do you think - four spiders, one per floor?'

Hologram Protest World's First
'Their bodies were in their dwelling cells, but their telucid images filled the hall.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.