Tesla Crash And Self-Driving Cars: Solution Or Problem?

Tesla Crash And Self-Driving Cars: Solution Or Problem?

New technologies can bring both solutions and problems.

With the constant introduction of new stuff into our everyday lives, it’s easy to get excited about new technologies and opportunities without thinking about the possible flaws or problems that come along with these new technologies.

One of the most recent technological advances are semi-autonomous cars -- or cars who drive themselves. Recently, there was a car accident that the auto industry knew was bound to happen, but feared. On May 7, Joshua D. Brown died in an accident in Williston, Fla. He was driving a Tesla Model "S" and using it in semi-autonomous, or "autopilot," mode. The car's cameras failed to differentiate the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a bright, light colored sky and didn’t activate its brakes. Brown didn’t activate the breaks either.

Automakers and analysts have spoken about the need to be cautious when introducing more semi-autonomous features, like automatic braking and adaptive cruise control. It’s easy for people to quickly become dependent on these features and assume they work better than they actually do. The developers and workers in this particular auto industry were always concerned about the possibility of an accident like Brown’s.

Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of Southern Carolina and expert on autonomous driving issues spoke about the understanding of these new technologies. “For years people have been saying that the technology is ready and it’s one of my pet peeves, because no it’s not,” he said.

Tesla has stressed the newness of the autopilot system, declaring that drivers have to manually enable it and “must maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle” while the system is in use. Tesla released a statement saying, “Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert.”

Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, spoke about the consequences of this accident for Tesla’s reputation. “They have been touting their safety and they have been touting their advanced technology. This situation flies in the face of both,” he said.

There is still much skepticism regarding semi-autonomous and autonomous driving, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Walker Smith spoke about the inevitability of a car crash involving these self-driving technologies. This accident can help to bring forward a necessary discussion of regulations on this technology and its future limitations. Smith also said that it would be unfortunate if this accident turned the public’s opinion to be against driver-less cars and the potential for these cars to save lives.

When it comes to new technologies, it’s important to be somewhat cautious about them but to also remain open minded. The potential of these driver-less cars to save lives is amazing, and the public should not become closed-minded to this technology because of this accident, but rather maintain awareness of its limitations. Technology will never be perfect and we cannot depend and rely on it to be. Smith summarized his thoughts by saying, “Driving today is dangerous... Every solution creates its own set of problems."

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Not All Video Gamers Are Introverts Who Refuse To Recognize The Real World

Some of my best friendships manifested through gaming.

If someone was to tell you about an activity that involves a dedicated community as well as other aspects including teamwork, communication, and practice, your mind would automatically convince you that the activity being discussed is something along the line of sports.

Of course, these characterizations do describe the necessary components to be successful in an activity like a sports, but they also describe something else that can often have a bad reputation but is certainly underrated – video games.

As children, our parents insisted that video games promoted laziness, loneliness, and in some cases could even lead to violent behavior. Many people that play video games are often stereotyped as introverted individuals unable to connect with the outside world.

Being one who has played numerous games for the majority of my life, this is simply not the case.

I began playing video games around the time that I received my first PlayStation 1 in elementary school. These games, now basically unplayable with the implementation of improved graphic display and enhanced response time, consisted of Crash Bandicoot and Pong that I often played with my sister and neighborhood friends.

A few years later with the PlayStation 2, I became a member of a band that consisted of a few of my best friends, my sister, and my mother. The games were Rockband and Guitar Hero that brought us all together each weekend to hone in on our talents.

The most influential piece of technology during my youth was no other than the Xbox 360. The platform it provided was Xbox Live, a way to communicate with others also playing Xbox as well as the ability to have private parties where friends could come together and chat using a headset.

From around seventh grade to the middle of high school, some of the best friends I will ever have were made through experiences on this console playing a number of games including Call of Duty and FIFA.

Around this same time, I became addicted to a new and flourishing concept on YouTube – livestreaming video games. The concept was enormously enhanced and gained popularity with the help of a man named Felix Kjellberg, better known as his online alias Pewdiepie.

Every night, I laid in bed and watched the games he played that seemed to bring me almost more joy than playing the games myself which was also evident by the community that he was able to establish.

Although his YouTube channel is no longer based off of solely gaming, he still remains a controversial public figure on the internet amassing 60 million subscribers on YouTube, an accomplishment no other has even come close to reaching.

In the first paragraph, I discussed characterization including teamwork and practice and how this applies to video games similar to the way it applies to sports. This comes from the now burgeoning gaming league known as eSports. Similar to organized sports such as basketball or soccer, eSports gives serious gamers the opportunity to showcase their talents in competitive video games from first-person shooters such as Call of Duty to battle arena games such as League of Legends or Dota.

Taking up much of the questionnaire surrounding the eSports community is how much money a player or team makes upon winning a tournament or online league and the answer can be up to millions.

This concept of competitive gamers making this much money is often under fire as people can’t seem to grasp the idea of people making money from simply playing video games. One of the main advocates for competitive gaming comes from a member of the Boston Celtics NBA team named Gordon Hayward who began playing games competitively around the same time he began to be recruited for college basketball. He even went on Collin Cowherd to help eliminate the stereotype of professional gamers as they are often perceived.

It isn’t difficult to understand. If a person is great at something, whether it be sports, acting, managing, or even video games, why shouldn’t they be paid for it? The perception that a gamer is one that sits alone in their room to isolate themselves from the outside world is preposterous in almost every case and is a stereotype that I hope is eliminated. Video games have created communities for many that have felt out of place with similar interests as well as provided a platform for many to make a living out of.

Some of my best friendships manifested through gaming, and this is the case for millions of others.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram | @geeksandgamer

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Why Is GoPro So Special?

New Technology

Nick Woodman, the founder and inventor of GoPro launched the revolutionary company back in 2002. Just 12 years later, GoPro will be filing for an IPO worth around $100 million.

What makes GoPro so special and why are the implications so significant?

For those unfamiliar with GoPro Cameras, they are small headphones that can be held using a camera pod or strapped to your helmet. Adventure enthusiasts, tourists, and casual people are all fans.

In fact, there are countless similarities between Apple’s iPod and GoPro’s cameras. Both were revolutionary instruments, simple products, and loved by casual and professional users. This seems to be the ingredient for a successful technology, consumer-based product these days.

In general, GoPro’s unique hook comes from its simple build. The micro-cameras are convenient and functionally addictive. Not only that, but everyone’s using them, and there is nothing like real product validation when your consumers are advocating your product through the vast universe of social media.

Social networking has only increased the universal nature of panoramic, landscape, and self-imposed images. Moreover, elementary school children and even senior citizens often use social platforms to publically display images to their social networks. This only allows the rapid popularity of the company to further rise among all demographics.

But is the price justified?

On paper, it all seems to make sense. According to GoPro’s S-1 documents with the SEC, 2013 revenue was $985.7M, which is roughly an 87% improvement from the year prior. Their financial growth is extremely impressive and they are already making roughly 4 million units this year.

As such, the $100M IPO seems reasonable, considering that most technology and consumer groups who have gone public near this selling range are not nearly as profitable. Keep in mind that most companies who sell at this range are in debt and do not have profitable net income. Investors are mainly focusing on the potential and expected growth of the company. In a sense, it is a huge risk to invest in those types of companies. However, GoPro seems to be much different and other investors, such as Redbull, agree that this is a company worth watching.

Cover Image Credit: PBS

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