Brookings Institute Is The Rapper, Alain Kornhauser Is The Hype Man

ratpag has been traveling, part of the team to coal country and the others to flyover country, so today’s post is going to be a little light. Fortunately Alain Kornhauser pushed out another email blast of “analysis” Friday, and what is journalism if not recapping the America’s daily output of one original thought?

Regulation of self-driving cars (or driverless vehicles, a misnomer but whatever) is the hot new topic. The Brookings Institute weighed in. ratpag weighed in on that. Reddit users then weighed in on ratpag’s commentary on the original piece. ratpag loves Reddit, by the way. Only an advocacy group with a rat-in-a-suit logo could appreciate this brevity:


See, Melnorme gets it!

Although regulation of driverless vehicles and tort liability are complicated questions, fortunately, they have very simple answers. From the Brookings white paper:


ratpag has already discussed Brookings, but they’re not the only game in town. What does Brad Templeton, former advisor to Google’s self-driving car team and ambiguously-compensated promoter of robocars have to say on the issue?


While funny, ratpag took this section out of context, and that really wasn’t fair. Brad here was talking about small-scale regulations for safety and moving violations, and proposes that instead of working exclusively through the regulatory process, perhaps it would be quicker to establish informal agreements under the threat of legislation. It’s like a handshake agreement for a multi-billion dollar industry.

Brad’s actually in favor of laws, as long as they are laws that exist solely to exclude self-driving cars from all other laws. 


To recap, they should be able to speed, stop, and do rolling stops because they are robots and better than you.

(Editor’s note: On his website, Brad has a really creepy and unfunny parody of “The Rules” dating guidelines for women, but for men. Try not to picture any of the situations it describes.)

ratpag will just keep direct quoting. This post is writing itself. On regulating for safety:


The unspoken assumption here is that automated vehicles will rarely crash, and any government effort other than a blank check will mess this all up forever. All this talk about regulation makes ratpag wonder why they don’t play “Regulate” by Warren G / Nate Dogg on the radio anymore.

Back to Princeton’s Alan Kornhauser. His weekly round up had lots of hmmm…, hmm…, and hmmmmm….. but mostly just a deep love of libertarian thinking.


If Brookings is the rapper, Alain’s like the hype man in the background. So he likes less regulation. But surely there’s a limit?


In case you’re skimming, this is a summary of a report by the subtly-named “Competitive Enterprise Institute” arguing that not only should these vehicles have little to no regulation, but that lawmakers are responsible for the deaths of those who die in the interim. It’s using this exact logic that ratpag would like every member of Congress tried for murder for not mandating the installation of Ingition Interlocks on all vehicles. They are demonstrated to improve safety!!! Alain gives this three explanation points, no need for a hmmm… And ratpag thought academics were liberal.


This entry was posted in Autonomous Vehicles / Self Driving Cars, Transportation Legislation Station and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s