Tech Support Pits column from  Dear Webby's Humor Letter
widely read, forwarded, copied and imitated daily since 1994
Dear Webby's Humor Letter, daily since 1994


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DearWebby is actually Helmut Morscher, the CEO of Webby, inc.

Originally the "Tech Support Pits" were reports of the funniest tech support incidents, but over the years the column gradually shifted to answering tech support questions put forward by the readers of the Dear Webby Humor Letter.

This collection of computer and web advice was started partly because readers demanded an archive, and partly because some questions were asked again and again. Each page has a different day's Tech Support Pits column.

Have FUN!
DearWebby
   
Tech Support Pits column from Dear Webby's Humor Letter of
03/14/04: Robot cars

Tech Support Pits:
From Martina=== Dear Webby, I saw on the news how badly those robot cars did in that race where the Pentagon promised some big prizes for vehicles that can drive through the desert without a driver or remote control, so that they can develop automatic ammo carriers. Was the problem that computers are not good enough? Compared to what they can do with star wars games, a simple desert should be no problem. Martina Dear Martina The computers are good enough. The problem is the boneheads in the Pentagon, who didn't think it through, and obviously were too dumb to read classic Science Fiction like Keith Laumers Bolo series from the 60's, where the author thoroughly analyzed the problems inherent with autonomous vehicles. Autonomous (driver less and without remote control) ammo carriers can be stopped and captured by half a dozen swimsuit girls. How ? The robot car can't tell if the sexy babes are friend or foe, and so it can't kill them. The girls can simply stand in it's way and drive it nuts, steal the hubcaps and set the cargo on fire. DUH! Except for the mechanical breakdowns due to sloppy workmanship or lack of foresight, the vehicles failed because they encountered too many unfoerseen challenges, like barb wire fences that appear to the robot like static or bugs on the lens. By contrast, a six year old space wars player, using the same interactive controls that were used to guide the missiles in Serbia and Kosovo, could have guided a vehicle from Barstow to Las Vegas at real race speed, AND probably would have offered to clean up his room PLUS the garage to be allowed to do it. Robots are for clearly defined, repetitive tasks; not for a challenge that requires creative thinking and dealing with new and never before encountered situations. It all boils down to the first law of computing: The computer does NOT do what you want it to do, it only does what you tell it to do. Have FUN! DearWebby
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