Will Self-Driving Cars Be Able to Handle… Bears?

A wild bear broke into a parked car looking for food. This set AI pundit Lance Eliot a-thinking…

The AI driving system of a self-driving car is always intact. A parked self-driving car is immediately able to become a moving car…. If the self-driving car is making use of its object detection system, even though the autonomous vehicle is parked, the AI driving capability would be alerted at [a hypothetical] pending crash that is about to occur… Depending upon what the AI developers anticipated, the AI driving system might activate the self-driving car and attempt to quickly drive away from the converging human-driven car.

For most makers of self-driving cars, this is an obscure "edge" case. But Eliot imagines a world where a self-driving car is parked next to a forest…

The human hiker has left the autonomous vehicle and has trekked somewhere deep in the woods. A bear meanders into the parking lot, looking for a free meal. If the AI driving system is using its object detection features, the bear would likely be detected. When the bear decides to wander directly toward the self-driving car, the AI driving system might activate the autonomous vehicle and drive away from the bear.

It is unclear if the bear will somehow divine that the self-driving car is capable of moving on its own accord… After a while, it seems plausible to suggest that bears will be concerned that those free meal containers (on wheels) seem to move away upon the bear approaching. This will possibly discourage some bears and they will steer clear of parked cars. Other bears might turn this into a game. Kind of hide-and-seek, of sorts. Approach a car, it moves away. Fun! Walk over to the car and see which way it goes next. A grand old time in the parking lot, that’s for sure.

And as long as we’re telling shaggy bear stories…
The odds are that self-driving cars will be designed differently on the interior than are conventional human-driven cars. For example, there is no need for a steering wheel and nor any need for the pedals. Those will no longer be included. The interior is opened up to allow for perhaps swiveling seats, possibly reclining seats so that you can sleep on a long journey inside a self-driving car. Given that type of interior, the bear is bound to find things a lot more comfortable inside a self-driving car than a conventional human-driven car. The next thing you know, bears will fall in love with self-driving cars, doing so because it is a quiet, spacious, and secure place to rest and relax. No need to worry about predators getting at the bear while relishing the plush and roomy interior….

A second question is whether the bears might figure out how to communicate with the AI driving system. You know, bears are pretty sharp. Perhaps a truly enterprising bear could convince the AI to take the bear for a cozy ride while inside the self-driving car.

Don’t be especially surprised if you start to see bears riding around in self-driving cars.

And please remember, you heard about it here, first.

Bitcoin White Paper’s 13th Anniversary Celebrated with Decentralized Pizza (and Gilbert Gottfried)

Today the iconic Bitcoin white paper “celebrates thirteen years of financial disruption,” notes Cointelegraph, “after being first published on Oct. 31, 2008, by an anonymous person or entity named Satoshi Nakamoto.” (Here’s a 2013 story from Slashdot about version 0.3.)
Cointelegraph writes:

The white paper, titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, foresaw the need for a peer-to-peer online payment system that is self-governing, secure and limited in quantity. The Bitcoin network was launched on Jan. 3, 2009, with each Bitcoin priced at $0.0008…. Today, Bitcoin maintains a stable trading value well above $60k after experiencing a gradual appreciation of 7,749,999,900% since its launch.

Cointelegraph celebrated the anniversary by embedding a video of the original bitcoin white paper being read by comedian Gilbert Gottfried — but they weren’t the only ones. Entrepreneur/investor Anthony Pompliano celebrated with the return of what he describes as a decentralized pizzeria” named Bitcoin pizza. (An interactive online map shows participating locations around the U.S.A. where pizzas can be ordered with cash or with 0.0003 BTC — either through the web site or through the Uber Eats app.)

“If you want to pay for your pizza in bitcoin, I will gladly take your bitcoin,” Pompliano says in a video posted to Twitter. “I don’t think that you should use your bitcoin to buy the pizza — but we now accept bitcoin.” The five available topping combos even have bitcoin-themed names like “No Keys, No Cheese” and “Satoshi’s Favorite” — and the pizzas are all delivered in a special commemorative bitcoin-themed pizza box. “Every single dollar that I make from this, I donate to bitcoin developers,” Pompliano explains in the video. “I make zero dollars from Bitcoin Pizza.”

“And we’re going to keep building this until eventually we are the single largest independent pizza chain in the United States. And then after we become the single largest independent pizza chain in the United States, we’re going to turn around, and then we’re going to go international.”

Researchers Wait 12 Months To Report Vulnerability With 9.8 Out of 10 Severity Rating

About 10,000 enterprise servers running Palo Alto Networks’ GlobalProtect VPN are vulnerable to a just-patched buffer overflow bug with a severity rating of 9.8 out of a possible 10. From a report: Security firm Randori said on Wednesday that it discovered the vulnerability 12 months ago and for most of the time since has been privately using it in its red team products, which help customers test their network defenses against real-world threats. The norm among security professionals is for researchers to privately report high-severity vulnerabilities to vendors as soon as possible rather than hoarding them in secret. CVE-2021-3064, as the vulnerability is tracked, is a buffer overflow flaw that occurs when parsing user-supplied input in a fixed-length location on the stack. A proof-of-concept exploit Randori researchers developed demonstrates the considerable damage that can result.

“Our team was able to gain a shell on the affected target, access sensitive configuration data, extract credentials, and more,” researchers from Randori wrote on Wednesday. “Once an attacker has control over the firewall, they will have visibility into the internal network and can proceed to move laterally.” Over the past few years, hackers have actively exploited vulnerabilities in a raft of enterprise firewalls and VPNs from the likes of Citrix, Microsoft, and Fortinet, government agencies warned earlier this year. Similar enterprise products, including those from Pulse Secure and Sonic Wall, have also come under attack. Now, Palo Alto Networks’ GlobalProtect may be poised to join the list.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.