Dirk Knemeyer

Ethical Treatment of AI, March 1, 2016

I think people will figure [how to properly interact] with the human representations just like they’ve figured it out with dealing better with women and racial minorities. Certainly not that everyone does all the time, to be sure, but certainly in a public forum, in companies, in restaurants, in places where societies come together, the bad behavior is largely eliminated now. I think it will be the same with robots as well. It represents a continuing evolution of us as animals to treat things better, to not have expressions of rage, anger, disrespect, violence. Those are things that are part of our less evolved selves. Those are part of the Stone Age human, and as we become increasingly a different manifestation of humanity in a context that is wildly different, our behaviors will similarly come to be much more admirable.

There’s so many possibilities of the future, what different robots will look like, or how they’ll manifest writ large, but I think that at the end of the day, people will be treating them well just as a natural byproduct of our continuing evolution forward.


Mainstreaming Self-Driving Cars, January 15, 2015

Yeah, you’re right in a lot of ways. First of all – and I’ll make this prediction today – in the 2020s, all cars will be self-guided, or the majority of cars traveling on the roads will be self-guided. That is happening. That’s not a “will it?” It’s a will. I think that’s the time frame.

It does change us from the mechanical horse model, which goes back to something that’s 19th Century and previous technology to what I’ll call a mobile room model, where suddenly we are behaving and acting and doing the same things we would do in our home, but, oh, yeah, now we’re getting from point A to point B at the same time.
That is a huge shift in context and much closer to the reality, not just of how we live and function in general today, but how we treat our cars today. It’s pretty insane. As I drive down the road – and I’m guilty of this as well – I look over and everybody’s on their God-damned devices. They’re not 2 hands, 10 and 2, and looking forward.
They have removed themselves from the physicality of trying to move this vehicle forward to take them where they’re going. They’re doing the minimum they possibly can to keep the vehicle in progress, and the rest of it they’re retreating into how they would operate normally around their technology.

It’s all been already asked-and-answered. The only issue now is to get the cars to take care of themselves so we’re not dangerously driving, half-paying attention down the road.


Imminence of Drone Delivery Services, December 28, 2014

One thing that I think we’re going to see [in 2015] is a prototype in a city, prototype in a city, town, village at some scale of a municipality, home delivery by flying drones. Depending on how inculcated our listeners are into technology, at a minimum you’ve read stories about flying drones on mainstream news websites. Some of you may be conversant in the technology and even own a drone yourself. It’s going to go from the fringes and from drones in warehouses, Google, or whomever trying to get municipalities to accept drones, trying to get the government to institute legislation that is friendly to widespread business use of drones.

We’re going to shift from those stories to a story of, hey, no, Podunk, Wisconsin … and I don’t predict it’s going to be in Wisconsin; I don’t know where the hell it will be … is the first prototype of Amazon home delivery or some Google project or some more obscure company. I think that we’ve reached a point that that’s going to be real and is going to go from this theoretical thing on the fringes to something that’s really being tried at scale that is the precursor to a wider adoption, which I think a wider adoption has some pretty big problems.