I recently moved back to San Francisco after a too long time away. My neighborhood has one the oldest historic blocks in the City. It was certainly built for foot traffic.
Pedestrian sensations also give me a comparison to how I feel
when driving a vehicle, a machine made to be insulating, controlling, powerful -
and even a potential weapon. The walker in me knows the vulnerability of having
to trust in the goodwill of random vehicular traffic.
It's up to pedestrians to make safety checks. Look both ways before stepping
into a crosswalk. Make no assumptions about the driver's
attention/intentions. Get confirmation that you've been seen.
Living in the AI whirlwinds of San Francisco is an immersive preview of
unintended consequences. Trust may be the most common issue raised in
discussions around Artificial Intelligence. Responses usually involve
assurances that misleading "hallucinations" will eventually disappear. But
little has been said of how an eroding sense of trust increases alienation in
general. I got a flash of that erosion while walking in my historic
With the wave of my hand, a wave of absolute
"aloneness" washed over me. There was no one to respond when I signaled,
"Waymo, do you see me?"
The vehicle did stop but I felt an impact
just the same...the meaninglessness of my own human training data.