Posts by BenWilson

  • Polity: Key peddles cynical “interest…,

    The OCR is also not the interest people pay. The banks add their bit, and that stays constant. It really has nowhere lower to go. Frequently, they don't pass on the rate cuts. So the OCR halving doesn't nearly translate into our costs halving (even without the inflationary effect on property prices that have actually effectively doubled under Key).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10007 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    They're pretty much a go-for-broke outfit. It would seem they're throwing all their eggs into two baskets - buying market share, and buying driverless car technology in the hope that they can join the two at some future point. It's an incredibly risky strategy, since it relies on technological break throughs, and law changes, and a future in which the market share they bought actually even wants that technology (not guaranteed!). I presume you won't be able to downrate your driverless car, so one of the most powerful things about their whole service, the ability of customers to arbitrarily wield the fear of losing your job over the drivers, will be gone. That's even if they can get it to work, something that has huge barriers, both practical, ethical, legal, and financial.

    It could pay off. Or shit itself and flop, leaving investors with jack. The ride-sourcing business will continue, though. Already a great many competitors all around the world are cutting in. Including here.

    I'd like to think it's not too late for them to pull back from the brink. But I think hubris has a very strong hold on them, that their entire corporate culture has systematically made itself invulnerable to common sense and criticism. It is thus extremely brittle. The bluster and bravado that one sees in public statements is in stark contrasts to outright atmosphere of fear in their front offices. I don't really see any organization lasting in which the actual owners are deliberately unavailable and responsible staff literally hide and run away from anyone trying to confront them.

    Tell me any corporate sign up office you've ever seen in this country, in which they pay a doorman to push a button just to let you in to a room that only has two staff members, and all they do is sign up drivers? Not a secretary, to screen meetings and handle minor functions. This guy is literally doing nothing except making sure that people they don't want can't get in. The staff in there, when questioned, claim not to actually work for Uber.

    It's literally like a shell organization. It's the kind of thing you'd expect from a Ponzi scheme.

    When it comes to hubris, I heard a story that Travis Robotnik, or whatever his name is that runs the whole outfit, lost the deal to have BMW supply them with their driverless car technology because the executive team from BMW came all the way from Germany to the USA to meet him to discuss it, and he didn't show up because he was too hungover, and didn't even hide it. They decided to dump Uber there and then. We're seriously talking about someone who is riding on hubris and it will not be long before his visions crumble before his eyes...IMHO.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10007 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…,

    I wonder, also, if the software is updated, whether that technically makes the "driver" into a different "person". Or, on the whole 'nother angle, if the personhood resides in the software, whether that means the same "person" is in all the different vehicles, and thus any demerits scored in any vehicle all accrue to the same "person", who would then be disqualified for a simple offence made hundreds of kilometers away.

    Clearly, the law is not designed for non-humans. Only in fantasyland is this good for driverless vehicles.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10007 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to Moz,

    specifically the eye test and the oral questions

    Proving they're 16 years old and ready for their learners license will also be interesting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10007 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to Moz,

    Sure, that’s not a full day on the road by any means

    At 50km/h, it's well beyond a full day's work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10007 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cannabis reform is not a…,

    I find it hard to argue about the best kind of decriminalization in good faith. I fundamentally cannot think of a "fair" fine or punishment to impose on a cannabis user. It could only be done as a bargain thing, in which I start from the position that there should be no fines, and the other extreme is arguing for no change, and we meet somewhere in the middle. But where in the middle and why? I can't see any way to reason that one. I literally don't accept any of the reasoning behind the punishments, so there's no way to be systematic, to find some kind of reason for a particular level of punishment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10007 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to David Hood,

    So an unregulated, unregistered driverless car would be left to go on its way on the road after authorities remove/fine the offending passenger?

    Well this is in the hypothetical world that Uber continues to get the free pass that it has so far, that the government will never hold them accountable for any criminal incitement whatsoever, and the millions that the have made in profit for the crimes they incited will never be recovered. When the government claims that they are taking steps to make Uber follow the law, so far they have meant that they are taking steps to enforce the law on drivers. Every driver sent off the road with a big fine (I’ve spoken to many of these in the last few weeks) is replaced in the sign up offices in mere hours.

    I call them sign up offices specifically, because they are clearly not the actual Uber offices. Uber does not have any offices in NZ. When someone went in to serve them a dispute notice the other day, apparently the staff ran away screaming that they do not, in fact, work for Uber. They literally put their hands up like they were being robbed. They went out the back to find the actual Uber staff, but apparently they had literally run away. As in, physically ran out the back door of the office.

    This is an organization our government wants to be putting guided 2 ton missiles on the road? Wow. Somewhere there’s not so much a logic fail as a basic humanity fail going on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10007 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    LOL, now there's an angle I never thought of. That the Minister would say it's already legal!!

    I'm finding it a bit hard to believe he took legal advice on that. The law states that the driver must have an appropriate license, and that they must be of the appropriate age to get that license. The license has to have on it their name, photograph, date of birth, etc. The reference everywhere to the driver is as a "person". I don't really think it takes much of a genius to realize that the law implicitly assumes that the driver is a human, that the entire Land Transport Act is predicated on that.

    There's no way around having to rewrite the entire thing. It's hundreds of pages long. 275 clauses. Best get on that, Minister!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10007 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to David Hood,

    Which would be tricky to do if they are developing their own cars and putting those assets on a road. That gives authorities something to latch onto.

    Yes, you'd hope that if driverless cars were unleashed without legislation allowing them, that the punishments in the country would be quite severe. But then again, with the current governmental attitude, such a move could just be seen as "disruptive" and the punishment would be promises to railroad legislative changes enabling it through. This would then not actually be done, but individuals found in such cars would be charged instead. Because compliance in this country is meant only to punish locals and disadvantage them against foreign based multinationals.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10007 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Love that Italian one. Those literally do exist, they even look exactly like that. They're called mobility scooters. Somehow, they just haven't taken off, though, although they are good for the disabled. I wonder if that's going to be the real spinoff from all the driverless technology. Flop on the mass market angle, but made cars that Stephen Hawking can drive! FTW.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10007 posts Report Reply

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