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> What happens when some maniac changes the software to make autopilot into full self driving, then plows into a minivan on its way to Little League practice?

We can't let these hypothetical worst-case scenarios be an excuse to stifle innovation.

What happens if we let people modify their microwaves and a terrorist uses his to give kids cancer!?!?

What if we let people tinker with their toasters and somebody uses one to electrocute a pool full of kids!?!?

Please, think of the children!




> What happens if we let people modify their microwaves and a terrorist uses his to give kids cancer!?!?

I know this was said in jest, but given the (generally unfounded) fears some people have about microwaves and cellphones I want to point out that exposure to unshielded microwave radiation isn't going to cause cancer (at least not any more than anything else that heats you up could somehow cause cancer) because microwave radiation is non-ionizing; you would need at least ultraviolet light for that (and UV-C or X-rays would be most effective).

The biggest danger with strong microwave radiation would be boiling your eyeballs as they lack the cooling most of your body has but contain significant amounts of water.


Good to know, now I'll have something to say to my mom the next time tells me to back away from the microwave while it's on...


What about cooking the marrow in bone?


If that's not a weird joke, I really want to hear why you think marrow is going to absorb more microwaves than any other part of your body. Because it won't, it's an overall heat like sitting in a sauna. At low power it's warm, past that it's unpleasant, past that you have heat stroke.


bone marrow is one of the parts of the body that has high water content and thus would heat faster than others under radiation.

Sauna heat does not preferentially target liquid for heating.


Almost all of your body is high water content, and the heat will easily conduct the last little bit.

By the time you have to worry about specific non-brain parts being overheated, your overall temperature is such that you're braindead.


Actually, no, you can easily sustain heavy damage to certain organs without being brain-dead: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microwave_burn


I should have chosen my words to be more focused, I suppose. You can damage certain organs. You will not be cooking deep internal organs with an unshielded microwave. Not without cooking everything else.

Pretend my original comment ended with "Past that, you basically fell in a fire and it doesn't matter what is heating you." Is there anything wrong with that? Or the rejection of the idea that bone marrow is at risk?


have you looked into 5G signals? I was recently reading about how they plan to make them in the 50GHz range, which to me seems potentially dangerous


50 GHz is still significantly less energetic than visible light, which is in the hundreds of terahertz. The sun bombards us with a lot of visible light, but you have to get into the blue/violet/ultraviolet region before it's energetic enough (high enough frequency) to cause damage. Barring some strange and previously unknown special biological interaction with a particular radio frequency, radio signals which have lower frequencies and lower intensities than visible light from the sun are not going to cause cancer any more than exposure to red or green light would cause cancer.


>We can't let these hypothetical worst-case scenarios be an excuse to stifle innovation.

Well, given that the Earth could be wiped out at any moment with the nuclear weapons and stuff we stockpiled, long term this idea might prove to be laughably wrong.


Very true! We should be concerned about worst-case scenarios. Probably an isolated car crash is not a worst-case scenario, except for a PR-obsessed tech company.


That's not how nuclear weapons work.


Care to elaborate? Because that's exactly how they work.


Innovation is the magic word that renders everything it's attached to undebatable and unquestionable..


The parent argument is that the magic words we should stop using are "what if". So let's stop the qualitative pontification and have a quantitative discussion of cost vs. benefit for various parties.


How many people die in auto wrecks each year. How many people die due to accidents involving microwave ovens.


Put that way, the statistical impact of someone tweaking their automobile improperly is lower than that of someone messing up their toaster.


> We can't let these hypothetical worst-case scenarios be an excuse to stifle innovation.

Yes, we sure can.

I don't want your "innovation" killing a bunch of people.

If you can't innovate without endangering people, you need to "innovate your innovation" and come up with a way you can do it safely.


I'm sorry Mr. Wright, we have several, accounted ways of flying and they all led to death. Maybe you should try something a little safer. No, of course you cant experiment with only yourself as test person- this government cares about its subjects.


Still dont see the point why the third generation of the of Wrights should have a right to cease control over new forms of space travel. No reason why the descendants of the inventors wife and the patent-lawyer, shall hold back the creatives of today.




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