If Then

Are Self-Driving Cars Really Safer Than Human Drivers?

Not yet, says a professor who builds them.

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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about the hedge fund that’s gutting the newsrooms of local newspapers across the country—and racking up huge profits. They also discuss the futuristic news out of Google’s annual developer conference, including an A.I. that can hold a conversation and book you a dinner reservation.

Oremus is joined by professor Raj Rajkumar, a self-driving-car expert who serves as co-director of Carnegie Mellon’s autonomous-driving-research lab. They discuss the future of self-driving cars, but also how today’s technology stacks up to human drivers in terms of safety, and what’s behind the recent spate of crashes.

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Don’t Close My Tabs

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

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You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.