Saturday, July 31, 2010

This taxi driver has developed a cognitive filtering machine.

So here I am in Sunnyvale, California. It is 2:42 p.m. local time. In the evening, I will be attending the Science Foo Camp sponsored by Google and Nature. After I am done with this blogging, I will most probably take a nap, as I could not get adequate sleep on the plane.

I originally thought of hiring a car, but then judged it was probably too much trouble. Therefore I took a cab instead. I always enjoy conversation with the driver.

We were discussing the high tech devises on the car. The driver pointed to a camera and said it captured 8 hours of video, looping. "Do you get any strange customers?" I asked. "Yes", the driver said. "Especially at night. You know when people are loaded, when they are drunk, they sometimes behave strangely. But you can tell pretty well whether a guy is going to behave strangely when he is standing on the road." "Really?" "Oh, yeah. When a guy is waving his hand like that, or is standing in the middle of road, you can pretty well tell that he is going to make trouble. I just pass by them."

So it appears that this taxi driver has developed a cognitive filtering machine, telling potentially troublesome customers beforehand. A good adaptation. I am curious about the specific details for classification, though.


Strange Egg said...

The taxi driver's professional scent of trouble is interesting. It seems that he never overlooks a suspicious action.
Taking the taxi, you were classified as a good passenger. I worry whether the driver picks me up.

Have a nice stay and enjoy delightful conversations!

Greg said...

Welcome to California. The weather should be more bearable than in Tokyo.

It sounds like the phenomena where residents know where it's safe or unsafe, but tourists have no idea. Perhaps the taxi driver has a detailed catalog of the features of potential customers that, in certain combinations, identify some as problematic. There may be things that he is not aware at the conscious level. He might label such things as intuition. This might be one product of a developed expert system.