Would you ride in a car without a driver?

#12 | Would you ride in a self-driving car? Yeah, neither would I.  As far as the public at large is concerned, they wouldn’t either. One 2018 survey cited only 21 percent of the public was willing to even try riding in an autonomous vehicle.  I think that’s a BIG problem for a lot of startups and major companies who have already invested a lot of money into the technology.  So, what can they do to convince the public to ride in them? Well, I have a few ideas. Tune in to hear them.

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About the host:

Over the past decade, Jim Stroud has built an expertise in sourcing and recruiting strategy, public speaking, lead generation, video production, podcasting, online research, competitive intelligence, online community management and training. He has consulted for such companies as Microsoft, Google, MCI, Siemens, Bernard Hodes Group and a host of startup companies. During his tenure with Randstad Sourceright, he alleviated the recruitment headaches of their clients worldwide as their Global Head of Sourcing and Recruiting Strategy. His career highlights can be viewed on his website at www.JimStroud.com.


Hi, I’m Jim Stroud and this is my podcast.

The path to progress is not always easy. Recently, I read a report from the DailyMail which sounded like a harbinger of things to come. Here’s a quote…

“Police in Arizona have recorded 21 incidents in the past two years concerning vigilante citizens who have hurled rocks, pointed guns at and slashed the tires of Waymo’s autonomous vans. In other cases, people stood in front of the vehicles to prevent them from driving, yelled at them, chased them or forced them off of the road…”

This type of reaction to technology is nothing new. In fact, its been going on for a lot longer than you might think. I’ll explain after this message.

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Imagine you are an Entrepreneur and you produced clothing for various customers around the world. One day, a machine was invented that did the work you performed, and it did it faster and more efficiently than you ever could. And to make matters even more interesting, the cost of using machines was cheaper than the cost of employing highly skilled laborers. Sound familiar? If it does, you might be a student of history because that very thing happened in the 19th century and it sparked a movement – the luddite movement.

The Luddites were 19th-century English textile who protested against newly developed labor-economizing technologies, primarily between the years 1811 and 1816. Inventions like the stocking frames, spinning frames and power looms introduced during the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace the highly skilled luddites with less-skilled, low-wage laborers who could run those machines and thus, leave them without work. The Luddite movement culminated in a region-wide rebellion in Northwestern England that required a massive deployment of military force to suppress.

Fast forward to the year 2015 and taxi drivers all over the world are protesting how Uber and its technology has disrupted their way of life. The backlash of the protesting taxi drivers included fires, arrests and unprecedented civil unrest. If you want to know the details, Google the term “uber riots” and be amazed by how far the disdain for Uber goes in certain countries.

Now fast forward to 2018 when people are attacking Waymo’s autonomous vans. When I read the article, my reflex was to dismiss the concern as neo-luddites fighting the inevitable future. However, as I read more about why the people were attacking the autonomous vehicles, I had to admit to sharing some of their concerns. Here are a few quotes from an article posted by The Next Web.

“One Arizonan, from the city of Chandler, became so fed up with the sight of Waymo‘s vans in his neighborhood that he stood on his lawn pointing a pistol at the human safety driver inside of one as it passed his home. He told police he wanted the person in the car to be afraid, presumably to send the message that self-driving cars aren’t welcome. He’s one of dozens of citizens (on record) who’ve engaged in wildly dangerous acts provoked by, apparently, nothing more than the idea of a car driving itself.”

Here’s another one…

“People have thrown rocks at Waymos. The tire on one was slashed while it was stopped in traffic. The vehicles have been yelled at, chased and one Jeep was responsible for forcing the vans off roads six times.”

And one more…

“Why are people so angry at self-driving cars? After all, none of the reported incidents we’ve seen indicate the people attacking machines and harassing their human safety drivers are experiencing road rage. It doesn’t appear as though anyone got cut off by a robot, or got tailgated, or had one sitting at a green light in front of them. It seems the existential threat that driverless cars represent is the sole catalyst for these outbursts.”

As I read deeper into the article and others like it, the resentment was not that the autonomous vehicles were taking people’s jobs away. It was primarily a safety concern. In March 2018, Elaine Herzberg was killed by a self-driving Uber vehicle and no one wants to see that history repeat itself. I get it. It is a very real concern. So, what can be done about it? What can car companies do to make the general public feel better about autonomous vehicles? Well, I have a few ideas…

“The Society of Risk Analysis” published a report in the Risk Analysis journal which sought to determine how safe is safe enough for self-driving vehicles to be accepted by the general public. According to their research, the answer is approximately four to five times as safe as human-driven vehicles. So, how do you do that?

Let’s say that all autonomous vehicles must be linked to a big brain in the sky that records every accident and every fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle. Once that incident is recorded, everybody sees what happened and every variable that contributed to the accident (weather conditions, human beings not paying attention, whatever). As soon as new data hits the system, a community of scientists works on a solution and programs that solution into all autonomous vehicles so the same accident, under the same conditions will not happen again. Furthermore, inside the autonomous vehicle is data detailing how many days since a fatality was caused by an autonomous vehicles. That data would be or should be, accessible to people before and after they ride in an autonomous vehicle; all so that they can feel empowered to make a decision that’s best for them. Make sense? Maybe not. I’m curious. How would you make autonomous vehicles safer?

If you love what you heard, hate what you heard or, don’t know what you just heard, I want to know about it. You can reach me at my website – www.JimStroud.com. In addition to finding source material and related information for this podcast episode, you’ll find other goodies that I hope will make you smile. Oh, before I go, please financially support this podcast with a little somethin’-somethin’ in my virtual tip jar. (There’s a link in the podcast description.) Your generosity encourages me to keep this podcast train chugging down the track. Whoot-whoot, whoot-whoot, whoot-whoot…

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Google, don’t be evil! Too late…

Google Dragonfly

Google’s motto used to be “Don’t Be Evil” but, they removed it.
I don’t know why. Maybe its because of projects like Dragonfly.
Dragonfly is a search engine made for China. At the request of
the Chinese government, some info will be blocked from
Chinese citizens.

I think that’s evil. Other people do too. Among them, Google’s
own employees. Some people have even quit Google over it.

I plan on quitting Google because of Dragonfly and other things.
I’m not going to do it all at once. It will be gradual. The first
thing I will do is list all of their “free” products I am using.
The second thing is to seek out alternatives, especially those
that are more privacy conscious, and move forward with them.

I will likely not stop using Google overnight. However, I will
immediately reduce its influence in my personal life by
using it only for work-related stuff. Care to join me?

Google alternatives I am reviewing and/or now using.

Instead of Google Chrome
# Brave | I use it now.  I love it.
# Vivaldi | I use it now. I love it.
# Firefox
# Maxthon

Instead of Google Search
# DuckDuckGo | I use it. I love it.
# Yandex
# Qwant
# Startpage

Instead of Gmail
# Protonmail
# Mailfence
# Tutanota
# Mailbox

Instead of Google Plus
# MeWe
# Gab
# Diaspora

Instead of YouTube
# Real.video
# Vimeo

If you know of any other tools I should be using, please do let me know in the comments below. Thanks in advance.


How To Archive Then, Delete Your Google Data

I have been doing some research on Google lately and the more I do, the less inclined I am to support their business or trust them with my personal data. As such, I am systematically UnGoogling myself (as best I can). I imagine that I will always use their search engine but, I will not rely solely on it; especially when it comes to controversial issues. Other things that make me uncomfortable with Google are cited in the articles below but, that is only a partial list.

But, I digress.  I am carefully monitoring what Google and other big tech is doing with my data and zealously seeking alternatives for the sake of my personal privacy. But, that’s a blog post for a different day. For now, let me share this with you.

Google keeps a record of your activity on its platform. You can view your activity history by clicking here. (You will have to sign into your Google account.) Once there, click the “Delete activity by” link, as depicted by the arrow below.

Delete and archive your Google history

On the “Delete activity by” link, I can delete activity on all products based on a custom date or by my entire history with Google.

Delete and archive your Google history

Hmm… Before I click the delete button, I am more than a bit curious. So, I go back to the My Activity page and click the “Other Google Activity” link.

Once I am on the “Other Google Activity” page, I immediately notice the Location History section.  Check out the “Visit Timeline” button.

I opted out of this data some time ago (for what good it did), so not much to see on my timeline. If I had not opted out of this, I would see everywhere I’ve been that Google was aware of. I suggest you check yourself out NOW, just to see even more how Google tracks you.

Okay, let’s go back to the “Other Google Activity” link and scroll down until I see the “Download your data from My Activity” section. From there, I click the “Download Your Data” link (as the arrow is pointing to).

Once on the “Download Your Data” page, I will have the option to choose which Google product data I want to archive.  Once I make my selection, I click the “Next” button at the bottom of that page. (Not shown in the picture below.)

At this point, I’m basically done.  I choose how I want to receive the archived data (.Zip or .TGZ) and wait for Google to email me a link to where I can download it. More than likely, I will download it to an external drive for later reference.

The data I am backing up includes my Gmail as well. Just in case you were curious. It saves it in a MBox format.

Are you keeping up with what Google (and other tech companies) are doing in terms of censorship and privacy (or lack thereof)? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Am I being paranoid? Or, not paranoid enough? #tinfoilhat