IBM continues in "Bank of America" fashion, madly filing patents on anything it can think of related to blockchain, this time a patent for self-driving vehicles. The patent was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on April 2.

I could almost bet money that this eventually has something to do with them selling more cloud subscriptions. Especially given the following statement from the patent:

“Observing, detecting, and sensing of the driver behavior data can be collected by the in-vehicle sensors of the driver's vehicle in real-time and uploaded onto a cloud data hub...” says the patent.

To explain the idea simply, the concept is to have cars watch other cars and report this to IBM's cloud so that other cars can read the information and act accordingly.

Am I the only one who sees disaster written all over this silliness? 

The idea itself doesn't completely suck, for example, if this were relying on a network like bitcoin's blockchain where the tamper-free environment can be somewhat believable, then perhaps this would be an idea worth trusting the life of you and your family to. 

However, trusting your car to rely on data from a database housed somewhere in IBM's data center to cart you around? Sounds more like suicide by IBM cloud.

IBM states the use of real-time analytics through this mechanism can provide utility to self-drivers and no doubt, it certainly could, so long as it's not tucked away somewhere under IBM's thumb.

Creating the Problem 

IBM was late to the blockchain party, it wasn't until recently (about two years ago) that they would even give blockchain any recognition at all and originally called the technology "a design pattern made popular by bitcoin" insinuating they were some sort of master of ancient technology they set aside centuries ago.

The onslaught of patents and whitepapers over the last 24 months is proof alone they didn't have a damn clue and wish they would have been paying attention sooner. 

Instead of paying attention, they basically laughed at the technology and now they are spending millions trying to convince people they've been here all along going so far as to call themselves the "pioneers" of blockchain. 

Apparently, IBM has a dictionary that defines the word "pioneer" differently than the rest of the planet, instead of  "... the first to apply ...", IBM's copy must say "... one of the last to apply..." or maybe it says "... the first, after 8 years of everyone else, to apply..." ... or more specifically "... when IBM finally notices and applies...". 

But hey, at least they stopped laughing.

Back to the aforementioned copy-cat activity... here is the problem with this entire thing. This is a great idea that if implemented could better the world ... if it were a public service maintained by nobody and collectively contributed to by everyone. It could save lives, speed commute times, and a number of other things.

This technology already exists basically. The traffic system in the United States routinely broadcasts to the world what's going on and where, complete with traffic camera's and re-routing suggestions. Apps like Waves does exactly this.

This works well and it's free for all to use. Insert a commercial into the mix here and there to pay for the service and we're all good to go.

However, the difference is the current system(s) isn't on a blockchain and there are no self-driving cars to collect the data for consideration prior to making it's next decision. 

Enter IBM. So let's take what works and not modify it for the good of mankind, instead, let's patent it and cause a problem for everyone. 

This is an assumption of course, but by the very nature of this patent, it's clear that IBM intends to charge the shit out of automakers for access to such a system.

Eliminating the Problem

So now that IBM has created the problem, others will have to eliminate it. Patent or no patent,  a group of folks can get together and build a network for this very thing and offer it to the public free of charge.

You know, basically do what IBM does, take someone else's idea and steal it for their own personal gain. The difference here of course is that this would benefit the world and not just IBM's bank account.

Hopefully something like this will be on a public blockchain free from authoritative manipulation or any requirement to trust it's security to an organization who managed to file a patent on something first.

I guess that's what you do when you're last, take that extra time and sit around thinking up other ways to call yourself first, or better yet .... just get a copy of IBM's dictionary.


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