I can say a thousand words about car accidents, and that is nothing… Write a lot more about experiences, personal, and from family members, friends, and acquaintances… Also, cars are part of human life and death. I can cry and make oceans of tears, or tear my voice in the air shouting in pain! With absolutely nothing to gain.
Instead I took a class of Artificial Intelligence… just an introduction. Well, that is doing just another thing trying to spare tragedy among humans, that is, after doing all the learning, assimilating all the awareness, following and checking all the signs, laws or else, driving cars for many, many years… And evolving my attitude towards driving through time.
On the other hand, I can tell all the wonderful places I went using a car, or all the comic and awesome situations that can happen while driving, all the adventures and beautiful, breath taking sceneries that are only possible to appreciate while driving. All the fantastic experiences of driving at high speed! At very, very low speed! And at a regular one…I can tell you the beauty of the engine, how I disassembled my Volkswagen and put it back together. I can tell you that at the top of the mountain we saw the odometer of my Dad’s van turn all the digits to ceros! After years of driving!
But what I really, really want to tell you in this occasion is what do I learned in my Artificial Intelligence Class related to cars.
First, did you know who won the challenge in a car race in a dessert without a driver? Well, the winner is one of the professors who gave us the AI class, to thousands of students all around Earth! From Russia, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, and USA among others! Everybody was trying to learn and to think deeply how a car can make decisions by itself just by having the best algorithms set of equations, in programs installed in an inside computer with actuators, sensors, cameras, with or without GPS … Oh yes! It has to do with Math, the language in which is written the laws of the Universe, in other words, Physics, Chemistry, and Geometry…
They taught us how to reach a goal, how to find the best route, how to avoid obstacles, how to search for clues.
It has to do with probabilities, yes, those ones that you use, to know if you have a chance…The opportunity of success when you play games like checkers, or poker… Some of us remembered when a computer won a chess tournament to a human being and some argued that it was a bunch of data being processed at high speed but nothing else… yes, that was kind of the stage of computing at that time. What we have now is a set of rules that can be arranged with values that come from probabilities, including modes, and averages; all arranged in sets of equations in a matrix. You can make a program with this, with computer languages that process probabilities.
So it is a reality, all is in the sites and links the professors and other students gave us. We were able to reach all this information and knowledge with the AI Class. For example; we saw a place that uses golf carts to go around without a driver, if they wanted to use one, just a cell phone call and once is activated, the golf cart gets out of the parking zone, drives to reach their desired starting point, stops and then it takes them to their destination! In these sites you are able to see the race in the desert, the clips of the trip one Prius did, without a driver, driving by itself miles, and miles of highways, among cars, traffic lights, pedestrians, wild animals; with daylight and at night!! Whooho!
I can tell you a lot of terrible stories about interpretation, and translation… yes, the same history but now with language; how much of the population has the ability to speak, read and write in two languages? How many persons have been in a situation where it is necessary to express feelings, desires, ideas, facts… or not, that is to encrypt, to guard, to hide messages? Wars, rivalry, secrets, politics, compassion, understanding, creativity all are understood through language. This wonderful, majestic searching machine that is Google has been able to bring the World together, to find the needles in the stack! And the other professor of the AI class is teaming with Google! Google to me is a gift to humanity! Our professor explained to us how to search for words, letters, and whole sentences. How to use Logic, how to select, search, compare, analyze and find our way to see what is the message, where is the line, how many times we use it, what can be one language or another, and to find out that we are ambiguous, our sentences need to be in context some times to find out what was going on… maybe tomorrow, we can join the spectrum of the voice with the language and instead of reading this, or me writing this sentences; you can hear the tone, the voice behind the “e-ink” that is talking to you in any languaje… maybe we can hear with our hearts and touch with our minds for a better World. Ha! I should have done a video in You-Tube, haha! At least in Spanish and English; but seriously, there is a lot of written stuff, and sometimes you learn by reading not by listening. And sometimes you better write than talk.
To thank two of the most extraordinaire humans beings I have encounter in my entire life, is a privilege and an honor. So I thank you as a human, as an engineer, as a professor, as a translator, as a mom, and as a grandmother, as a wife, as a driver. You envision a world with Moms that do not have the second job of taxi driver for the munchkins, a Mom that is not as worry because a teen is in a car…a world that is not going to have one of the worst paid jobs that is rated now, the truck drivers, with endless hours of work and the shortest hours of sleep. You pointed to a world with all the revolutionary visions that come with your work… All we want is to talk to someone in other continents, in other mountains, other rivers, behind the clouds… to be inspired, to discover the wisdom of other minds, to be creative, to protect Earth from misunderstandings. And your expertise open windows to many applications in other fields as you told us and as we can understand now.
You share your wisdom with us. Thank you.
I have heard of other classes via the web, I have taken classes online and by all the effort and amount of data, students and goals, you surpassed any human expectation. Thanks to you and your team! Thank you Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun!