Eek! Eek! Red!
John A. Ward
I got the idea for the robot warning system when I was driving to the post office.  I pulled into the center lane to make a left turn and Anne started squealing like a scared rabbit.  It was the "Eek! Eek!" that caught my attention.  The "Red!" was specific for the red light, so I was focused.  The trouble is, I'm always in a hurry, so even red looks green to me.

  There really was no danger. There were no cars coming from any direction and I could just as well have made the turn, unless there was one of those cameras that records cars failing to stop.  The police can see the license plate number and the driver's face.  To foil that system, I'm thinking of making plates with the number "IM-666" and wearing a devil mask.  

  My contemplated warning system consists of a digital video camera and a computer with an image recognition neural network.  It's programmed to recognize traffic hazards that foreshadow impending doom.  All of the warnings will begin with "Eek!  Eek!", which is basically to give the computer time to process the data and prepare the appropriate response.  

  In addition to "Red!" the repertoire will include "Pedestrian!" or "Cyclist!" and "Emergency vehicle with flashing lights!" as well as the generic "We're going to die!"  I have to work on distilling those down to one word that captures the essence of the hazard, so the driver doesn't have to think too much.  


First published: May, 2012
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