Procrastination As A Human Behavior Imbued Into AI Systems: The Case For Autonomous Cars

By Lance Eliot, the AI Tendencies Insider

Procrastination. Procrastinator. As the previous joke goes, when somebody asks you what the word procrastination means, you’re presupposed to say “I’ll get back to you about that.”

I’m positive we’ve all felt like a procrastinator at one time or one other. Typically thought-about a destructive facet of human conduct, some liken procrastination with being lazy, careless, and otherwise much less desirable than being immediate and proactive.

We’d though be considerably making a false generalization about procrastination.

Does being a procrastinator all the time should be dangerous?

It is stated that prolific and ingenious inventor and artist Leonardo da Vinci was recognized for dragging out the works he owed his patrons and sometimes taking almost eternally to get carried out what he had been obligated to supply. Charles Darwin had acknowledged that he typically postpone issues that he was imagined to do or needed to do. Few understand that he took years to put in writing his acclaimed “On the Origin of Species” and was at occasions utilizing his time to as an alternative research barnacles. If these greats had bouts with procrastination, can it really be that dangerous a factor?

If you end up falling into the procrastination lure and don’t need to be a procrastinator, you’ll be able to all the time call upon Saint Expedite.  For these of you might have been to New Orleans, or have certain spiritual interests, you possible know that Saint Expedite is considered the patron for people who need to avert being a procrastinator, and you may ask for his assistance find speedy solutions to nagging issues. I suppose too, there are some that say you just have to kick your self in the you-know-where, however anyway it may be exhausting to stop the urge to procrastinate nevertheless you try to forestall it.

Psychologically, it’s theorized that folks typically procrastinate as a result of they worry the act of doing one thing which may fail.

As such, with a purpose to keep away from failure, they postpone it. Presumably, by not making an attempt, you persuade yourself that you are higher off. You may even use trivial gadgets to assist your self be a procrastinator. Should I’m going to the dentist, or perhaps as an alternative I want to scrub my socks and clean the latrine? One may assume that dealing with the well being of your tooth can be a excessive priority compared to those different duties. It’s superb how we will permit seemingly low-priority gadgets to assist us in avoiding coping with meatier issues or subjects.

For some individuals, they are an occasional procrastinator. Perhaps most of the time they get things completed on a well timed foundation. A specific state of affairs may trigger them to enter a procrastination mode. A personal example is that the opposite day my automotive dashboard lit up with an indicator that my low-beam left headlight bulb was burnt out. I in all probability should have taken my automotive instantly to have the lamp changed. As an alternative, I sheepishly admit that for a number of weeks I drove at night time with the high-beams on, slightly than the low beams, so that I’d have both headlamps working. I actually meant to go over to have the headlight changed, but appeared to let different issues take larger precedence.

Typically a procrastination can have probably dangerous penalties. You can say that my instance about driving round with my high-beams on, moderately than utilizing my low beams, made my driving circumstances a bit less protected. Not a lot much less, I’d argue, however definitely just a little bit. Then again, shortly after I had the left headlight replaced, a couple of days later my left rear brake mild abruptly went out. It was a Murphy’s Regulation type of curse as a result of had it gone out just some days earlier, I might have had it changed concurrently the headlight. However, no, it had to wait and then pressure me to make a second trip to the automotive repair store. In concept, I might have driven for a lot of days or perhaps weeks with the left rear brake mild out, however this for positive would have lowered the security factor of my driving.

Theories About Our Procrastination

There are the perennial or serial procrastinators. These are the kinds that simply seem to shove the whole lot off into the longer term. No cause to get one thing carried out at the moment, in case you can hand it off to the longer term, they consider. They could overtly have this perception and relish it. Others find themselves steadily getting immersed into this strategy, occurring virtually without them consciously realizing they’re doing so. It can be a deathly type of spiral. You beat yourself up for having procrastinated. It happens once more. You beat your self up again. You then grow to be satisfied that you are a “failure” and destined to procrastinate. Nothing goes to get you out of that spiral, aside from some type of direct intervention.

There’s a well known concept that considerably covers this, referred to as Temporal Motivation Concept (TMT). You may find of interest a core formulation typically used to precise TMT:

Motivation = (Expectancy x Value) / (1 + Impulsiveness x Delay)

Your “Motivation” is the quantity of want that it’s a must to obtain a specific end result. In case your motivation rating is low, you usually tend to procrastinate. In case your motivation rating is excessive, akin to should you understand that your brake mild being out is placing you in grave hazard, you usually tend to take motion about it. We will calculate your motivation for a given circumstance.

The “Expectancy” is the chance of attaining success on the matter at hand. The “Value” is the reward that you simply personally will achieve by attaining the specified end result. By multiplying the Expectancy by the Worth, the formulation is saying that if a type of variable is low it’s going to convey down the mixture of them, while if they are both high it should make their combination larger. I feel that my expectancy of fixing my brake mild is sort of excessive (simply have to get the automotive over to the restore store), and the worth of increasing my security while driving my automotive is high.

The “Impulsiveness” is the individual’s sensitivity to delay. Some individuals are very impulsive and have to do things immediately. Other individuals are more susceptible to taking their time or at the least considering that they’re prepared to take time and don’t need to right away deal with the matter. There’s the “Delay” which is considered the time to comprehend the wanted achievement.

Anyway, it’s type of an fascinating method as a result of it tries to mathematically categorical one thing that all of us appear to know is occurring, however don’t have at hand a tangible solution to calculate why we do what we do. Utilizing the formulation, you’ll be able to turn into extra reflective when faced with a state of affairs that you’re probably going to procrastinate on. You’ll be able to ask your self, why is your motivation so low, and whether or not it is because of the expectancy, the worth, the impulsiveness, or the delay, or probably some mixture of those several elements.

Individuals typically make excuses for why they procrastinate. Once I refer to those elements as excuses, I ought to clarify that perhaps they are valid. We frequently react to the word “excuse” and assume it’s a made-up facet or an try and deflect blame. Typically an excuse is sort of legitimate. It doesn’t should be a cover story or a deflection.

Here’s a few of the conventional excuses or coping responses:

  • Avoidance of the matter
  • Denial concerning the matter
  • Trivialization of the matter
  • Distraction concerning the matter
  • Mocking of the matter
  • Blaming concerning the matter

Procrastination Can Be A Manifest Strategy

This fast introduction to the topic of procrastination then brings us to a serious remaining point earlier than I transfer onto using this foundation for other purposes herein. I declare that procrastination can happen perchance, nevertheless it may also be a manifest strategy.

In the case of my left headlight, I was properly aware that I was “procrastinating” about taking in the automotive to have the headlight changed. I gained’t attempt to convince you that I used to be so busy that I couldn’t take it in (that’s a potential “excuse” or coping avoidance). If I had really thought the headlight being out for the low-beam was essential, I might have gotten to the automotive restore promptly. As an alternative, I made an specific “procrastination” choice that I might delay taking the automotive in, and that using the high-beam was sufficiently acceptable in the interim.

Someone outdoors of my state of affairs, taking a look at what I had carried out, may label my actions as those of a procrastinator. Okay, if you wish to label me that means, for this example, I’ll take it. Is the word “procrastination” in this instance a displaying that I’m a nasty individual that is careless and lazy? I don’t assume so. It merely exhibits that I had calculated that the delay in doing something was for my part a correct thing to do.

You may marvel if I now have gotten bitten by the procrastination virus and every little thing I do is infected with procrastination? No, that hasn’t happened. Indeed, as mentioned, I opted to instantly deal with the brake mild, although it was a problem as I had simply already been the restore shop and so had to go there a second time (wasting my time, in a sense, aside from to effect the restore, which might have been presumably executed in one go to, had I recognized the brake mild was about to go out too).

Making use of Procrastination As Part Of An AI System

What does all of this should do with AI self-driving driverless autonomous automobiles?

At the Cybernetic AI Self-Driving Automotive Institute, we’re using the core points of “procrastination” for two purposes, one is serving as a direct strategy of the AI driving the automotive, and the opposite is to cope with what we consider shall be a human foible relating to AI self-driving automobiles.

Let’s deal with the human foible matter first.

As I’ve stated many occasions, an AI self-driving automotive continues to be a automotive. By this I mean that some individuals are moving into their heads that an AI self-driving automotive will magically work 24×7 and can never have any mechanical issues or breakdowns. This utopian view of the world assumes that there’s some sort of magical fairy dust that we are going to sprinkle onto AI self-driving automobiles that keeps them from sporting out and from having elements that break. Let’s get actual. A automotive is a automotive. The brake lights are going to go out, identical to on a daily automotive. The oil will have to be changed. The transmission might want to get overhauled.

That is going to truly happen more often and with deeper impression since we expect AI self-driving automobiles to be operating all the time, versus at present the typical automotive is unused almost a lot of the day – see my article about this:

Additionally, take a look at my general framework about AI self-driving automobiles:

Not only will the traditional elements of the self-driving automotive breakdown, however you’ll be able to guess that the specialized add-on elements are going to breakdown too. The specialised processors to run the AI methods will ultimately begin to falter and must be changed. The sonar units will ultimately must be replaced. The radar units will have to be replaced. And so on.

See my article about kits and AI self-driving automobiles:

I hope you now agree that an AI self-driving automotive is a automotive. It can have all types of mechanical issues over time. This can occur to the traditional elements of the automotive. This can happen to the specialized elements of the automotive. We don’t hear something about it immediately as a result of the few AI self-driving automobiles on the roadways live pampered lives. They’re like horses which are thoroughbreds. The auto maker or tech firm caters to their each want. These self-driving automobiles are regularly getting primped and revived. The odds of having an element breakdown during considered one of their journeys could be very distant.

Now imagine an AI self-driving automotive that Joe Smith has purchased and he’s utilizing it for himself, for his household, for his associates, and renting it out too for journey sharing. That self-driving automotive is busy.

When something snaps or breaks on the AI self-driving automotive, we have to think about these ramifications:

  • Does the AI self-driving automotive understand that one thing is broken or amiss?
  • Can the AI self-driving automotive continue safely working?
  • Is there something the AI self-driving automotive can do to get itself repaired?

We can’t assume that the AI will even know that one thing on the self-driving automotive is damaged. We’re creating our AI self-driving automotive software program to purposely attempt to detect that one thing has gone afoul. Most of the auto makers or tech companies think about this to be an “edge” drawback. An edge drawback is one thing that you simply don’t think about core to what you’re doing. A lot of the auto makers and tech companies simply want an AI self-driving automotive to cope with driving the automotive. Proper now, since these self-driving automobiles are pampered, there’s no have to cope with detecting anomalies mechanically and having to cope with them immediately and instantly.

Instance In The Use Case Of Autonomous Cars

Right here’s how procrastination involves play.

Suppose the human owner becomes conscious that some facet of their AI self-driving automotive has gone afoul. Perhaps an occupant driving in it referred to as the proprietor to complain. Perhaps the AI detected that one thing was amiss and texted the owner to indicate that the self-driving automotive is having an issue. What is going to the human owner do?

You may assume that the human proprietor will promptly be sure that the AI self-driving automotive gets repaired. This might occur within the utopian world. In the real-world, we’re betting that the human proprietor is probably going to procrastinate. If there are say ten cameras on the AI self-driving automotive, and it’s been designed to have the ability to function with just 9, although inferior to it might with ten cameras, the human proprietor may determine to maintain the AI self-driving automotive going and not take it in for restore.

Is that this protected? Perhaps yes, perhaps not. Will the subsequent occupant that will get into that AI self-driving automotive even know that it is just operating with nine cameras? Probably not. Should we be sure that the AI of the self-driving automotive warns any passengers about any anomalies? The owner of the self-driving automotive won’t like that concept, and be frightened that as a experience sharing rental that they’ll lose cash if the AI begins to blab about what is flawed with the self-driving automotive.

There aren’t any laws that pressure the AI to reveal what’s happening. The proprietor likewise is just not beneath any direct regulation to take action, although you may construe numerous elements about security and the general public which may turn this into a criminal offense. For the second, using AI for self-driving automobiles is so new that we have now yet to determine what twists and turns will occur, and nor can we yet know what sorts of laws and new legal guidelines may be required.

See my article about lawsuits and AI self-driving automobiles:

See my article about laws and AI self-driving automobiles:

The general level is that we need to anticipate the risks of potential “procrastination” based mostly on human foibles and how it may adversely influence AI self-driving automobiles and their security on our roadways.

Our focus is for the second aimed at the technical aspect of issues. The AI wants to be able to detect that one thing is amiss. When this occurs, the AI needs to be refined sufficient to know the right way to attempt to overcome the facet that went afoul, if it might, and concentrate on any new limitations that come up (perhaps the self-driving automotive can only go 5 miles per hour and no quicker, or perhaps it will probably make right turns however not any left turns, and so forth.).  And, it has to concentrate on whom to contact concerning the matter.

There are some that say that is “easily” solved because as soon as the AI self-driving automotive detects that one thing is amiss, it will possibly simply route itself to the closest restore store. Drawback solved.

Properly, not fairly. Perhaps the AI self-driving automotive is unfit to be able to get to the closest repair shop. Perhaps it is match to take action, however perhaps it’s Okay for it to as an alternative continue on its journey and afterward go to the repair store. Perhaps it can’t detect itself that itself is in hassle. As such, the AI ought to permit for the human occupants to probably tell it that something is amiss (“we see smoke coming out of the engine compartment”), and probably even talk by way of V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle communications) and be informed by another AI self-driving automotive that something is improper (self-driving automotive X12345 transmits a warning to self-driving automotive Y87654 that there’s smoke coming from the engine compartment).

Leveraging Procrastination In Driving

The second part of the procrastination facet related to AI self-driving automobiles includes utilizing procrastination as a driving technique.

I do know that you simply may be considerably stunned or shocked at this idea of utilizing procrastination purposefully. Keep in mind although that I earlier said that procrastination can occur by happenstance, or it can be used as a directed technique.

Suppose I’m driving on the freeway. My exit is up forward. I do the suitable thing and lengthy earlier than the exit make my method over to the rightmost lane. I sit there in the sluggish lane, perhaps a mile ahead of my exit. I’m going bumper-to-bumper nevertheless it’s Okay because at the very least I know I’m securely in my wanted exit lane. Do humans really drive this manner? Some do, many don’t. What’s truly more doubtless is that I’ll “procrastinate” and postpone stepping into the sluggish lane until the last second, simply in time to make that exit.

That is more environment friendly driving, from the attitude of most drivers (I understand that you simply visitors researchers out there would argue that that is lousy driving and worsens visitors, and it’s unsafe driving, however anyway that’s a unique debate for an additional day).

We are constructing “procrastination” into the AI of self-driving automobiles. Slightly than being the goody two footwear type of driver, our view is that if self-driving automobiles are presupposed to have the opportunity finally drive nearly as good as a human, they need to be adopting human driving methods. The utopians on the market are going to go ape, since they consider that each one AI self-driving automobiles might be perfectly civil and obey all legal guidelines and be candy and type to all different automobiles on the roads. Perhaps. I don’t assume so.

See my article about defensive driving practices and AI self-driving automobiles:


Don’t misjudge what I am saying. We aren’t meaning to make AI self-driving automobiles which are daredevils. Our focus is AI self-driving automobiles that drive as affordable humans do. There are lots of driving conditions wherein “procrastination” (the great type) is actually useful to think about as a part of the driving repertoire. Shouldn’t be used all the time. Shouldn’t be used indiscriminately.  Must be used in the appropriate state of affairs, on the right time, in the fitting approach.

Some need us to realize AI self-driving automobiles that can move a variation of the Turing Check. Because of this AI self-driving automobiles would be capable of drive a automotive in the identical method that a human does. If we have been standing outdoors and watching two automobiles drive alongside, and we couldn’t see into the automobiles, and we had to attempt to say which one was being pushed by the human and which by the AI – if we couldn’t discern which was which, in a small method the AI has passed a kind of Turing Check.

See my article about Turing Checks and AI self-driving automobiles:

In the present day’s AI self-driving automobiles are programmed to drive a automotive like a teenage novice driver, and certainly much less so because the AI of at present does not have common sense reasoning and lacks a myriad of different human-thinking qualities. This state of affairs shouldn’t be going to get us to the vaunted Degree 5, which is a true AI autonomous automotive. Using the technique of purposeful “procrastination” is among the some ways by which an AI self-driving automotive can drive more like a human can.

Oh, you’ll have to excuse me, I’ve prevented doing extra improvement work on the Machine Studying algorithm for our AI system because I opted to as an alternative write this column —  I assume that was my allotted “procrastination” act for the day.

Copyright 2019 Dr. Lance Eliot

This content material is initially posted on AI Tendencies.