Dean Clough

October 25, 2023

Portico Darwin: That Was Quick


1 Minute Read

It is taking a lot of restraint for me not to write or at least ask questions about the fiasco in Israel and Gaza.  I find the current "no discussion allowed" environment to be unpleasant and not productive. 

And while I don't want to piss anyone off, I do wonder if it's healthy to equate any questioning of Israel's policies with being anti-Semitic?

It reminds me of when those who didn't line up behind Bush's invasion of Iraq were accused of "not supporting the troops" or "hating America."  Wasn't our judgment then also clouded by rightful anger over 9/11?  Is that happening again now, over 10/7?

Hard questions,  worse topic. 

So instead, today I'll poke fun at myself and my apparently premature welcoming of robotaxis to the streets of SF.  This just happened yesterday.

If you'll recall, we took our first robotaxi ride, in a Waymo, on Saturday, and it was fantastic. 

For the record, Waymo is not impacted by the DMV's pulling Cruise's permit to operate without drivers.

But why did they temporarily suspend Cruise's driverless cars?  Well, withholding information from regulators rarely works, which is what it sounds like Cruise did.  An accident occurred that ended up with a pedestrian being dragged under a driverless Cruise, and they tried to suppress the camera footage.

Obviously, not good.  But I will repeat something I have a feeling will need to be repeated often in the coming months and years:

In nearly every circumstance, a robotaxi is safer for everyone (passengers, pedestrians, and drivers in other cars).

Or am I the only one to have ridden in a taxi or an Uber driven by someone drunk, high, talking on their phone, or some combination of the above?  Not to mention the scary rides from people not under the influence or distracted, but who are instead just shitty drivers!

Remember, in a given year, between 30,000 and 40,000 people are killed in accidents involving automobiles.

So yes:  it is a tragedy if even one person dies due to a misbehaving robotaxi.
But if we're sincerely concerned about carnage on our roads, shouldn't we just ban cars altogether?   

The problem is not the robotaxis; it is our expectation they'll be 100% foolproof.  


Thank you for reading this newsletter.  


Featuring "Bicycle Race" ("I want to ride my bike!") and so much more, here is Queen and The Platinum Collection.

Just be sure to ignore the not-in-Wokistan song "Fat Bottomed Girls."

About Dean Clough