SF stories involving artificial intelligences often play up the fact that a computer-based intelligence would find human thought processes glacially slow in comparison to its own.
But you don’t have to dip into speculation about the future of computing to see that. The Australian newspaper The Age points out that although “survivors of serious car crashes often say time appears to slow down in the moments around the impact and that they can recall the event in extraordinary detail,” in reality, “the crash is often over before the human brain has registered the incident, and it’s only by later replaying it in their minds that crash victims achieve such vivid recollections.” (Via Instapundit.)
Accompanying the story is this anatomy of a crash which makes their point:
All over in the blink of an eye
This is a reconstruction of a crash involving a stationary Ford Falcon XT sedan being struck in the driver’s door by another vehicle travelling at 50 km/h.
One millisecond equals 1/1000th of a second.
0 milliseconds – An external object touches the driver’s door.
1 ms – The car’s door pressure sensor detects a pressure wave.
2 ms – An acceleration sensor in the C-pillar behind the rear door also detects a crash event.
2.5 ms – A sensor in the car’s centre detects crash vibrations.
5 ms – Car’s crash computer checks for insignificant crash events, such as a shopping trolley impact or incidental contact. It is still working out the severity of the crash. Door intrusion structure begins to absorb energy.
6.5 ms – Door pressure sensor registers peak pressures.
7 ms – Crash computer confirms a serious crash and calculates its actions.
8 ms – Computer sends a “fire” signal to side airbag. Meanwhile, B-pillar begins to crumple inwards and energy begins to transfer into cross-car load path beneath the occupant.
8.5 ms – Side airbag system fires.
15 ms – Roof begins to absorb part of the impact. Airbag bursts through seat foam and begins to fill.
17 ms – Cross-car load path and structure under rear seat reach maximum load.
Airbag covers occupant’s chest and begins to push the shoulder away from impact zone.
20 ms – Door and B-pillar begin to push on front seat. Airbag begins to push occupant’s chest away from the impact.
27 ms – Impact velocity has halved from 50 km/h to 23.5 km/h. A “pusher block” in the seat moves occupant’s pelvis away from impact zone. Airbag starts controlled deflation.
30 ms – The Falcon has absorbed all crash energy. Airbag remains in place. For a brief moment, occupant experiences maximum force equal to 12 times the force of gravity.
45 ms – Occupant and airbag move together with deforming side structure.
50 ms – Crash computer unlocks car’s doors. Passenger safety cell begins to rebound, pushing doors away from occupant.
70 ms – Airbag continues to deflate. Occupant moves back towards middle of car.
Engineers classify crash as “complete”.
150-300 ms – Occupant becomes aware of collision.
So if the Singularity every arrives, does this mean it will all be over before humans even notice it’s begun?
(Image: Wikimedia Commons.)
[tags]automobiles, safety, computers, artificial intelligence[/tags]