The future is now, everybody: University of Toronto grad Samah El-Tantawy has invented a smart traffic light that utilizes artificial intelligence, machine learning, and game theory in order to cut down on congestion and traffic delays. Using El-Tantawy’s system, the lights at an intersection detect traffic in the vicinity and communicate with other intersections in order to find the optimal strategy for getting people moving. Test results on Toronto streets have shown a reduction of travel times by 26 per cent… Holy statistical significance, Batman! Although it will take some years to see this technology tested and commercialized, it’s comforting to know that someday soon, your dreary, soul-sucking drive to work could be 26 per cent less dreary and soul-sucking.
Now with terms like ‘machine learning’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ being thrown around, you can’t help but think about the inevitable robot uprising. You know: Supreme mechanical overlords, nuclear winter, the fate of humanity and all you hold dear hanging in the balance – the usual. But don’t worry – if the Terminator films have taught us anything it’s that we can always go back in time and destroy the machines before they achieve self-awareness. Or we could go Matrix style and defeat those malevolent automata using spoons and kung-fu (and stylin’ shades). Regardless, the point is that the robot apocalypse won’t come for at least a year or two…in the meantime think about how much time you’ll save getting to work!
Toronto’s commute times are some of the worst in the world, with a Board of Trade study showing an average of 80 minutes per day for a round trip. A 26 per cent reduction in commute times would result in an average of 21 minutes saved every day. Multiplied by 250 work days a year, that’s an extra three-and-a-half full days every year for you to do whatever you want. Three and a half days.
Here are 10 things you can do with your extra time:
1) Read a book
2) Write a book
3) Be a book (Difficult, but doable)
4) Learn to play the accordion
5) Run for president
6) Run from president (Apparently he’s not a fan of accordion music)
8) Drive to work (They moved the office, it’s now 26% farther away)
9) Invent a time machine
10) Avert the robot apocalypse
There you have it, folks…these are exciting times we live in. What would you do with an extra three and a half days per year?