“The Sputnik of Servgoods: Autonomous Vehicles”
James M. TIEN
In an earlier paper [Tien 2015], the author defined the concept of a servgood, which can be thought of as a physical good or product enveloped by a services-oriented layer that makes the good smarter or more adaptable and customizable for a particular use. Adding another layer of physical sensors could then enhance its smartness and intelligence, especially if it were to be connected with each other or with other servgoods through the Internet of Things. Such sensed servgoods are becoming the products of the future. Indeed, autonomous vehicles can be considered the exemplar servgoods of the future; it is about decision informatics and embraces the advanced technologies of sensing (i.e., Big Data), processing (i.e., real-time analytics), reacting (i.e., real-time decision-making), and learning (i.e., deep learning). Since autonomous vehicles constitute a huge quality-of-life disruption, it is also critical to consider its policy impact on privacy and security, regulations and standards, and liability and insurance. Finally, just as the Soviet Union inaugurated the space age on October 4, 1957, with the launch of Sputnik, the first man-made object to orbit the Earth, the U. S. has inaugurated an age of automata or autonomous vehicles that can be considered to be the U. S. Sputnik of servgoods, with the full support of the U. S. government, the U. S. auto industry, the U. S. electronic industry, and the U.S. higher educational enterprise.
About the Speaker
After 8 years as Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, Dr. James M. Tien stepped down in 2015; he remains a Distinguished Professor. He received the BEE from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the SM, EE and PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has held leadership positions at Bell Telephone Laboratories, at the Rand Corporation, and at Structured Decisions Corporation (which he co-founded). He joined the Department of Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering at RPI in 1977, became Acting Chair of the department, joined a unique interdisciplinary Department of Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems as its founding Chair, and twice served as RPI’s Acting Dean of Engineering. Dr. Tien has published extensively, been invited to present dozens of plenary lectures, and been honored with both teaching and research awards, including being elected a Fellow in IEEE, INFORMS and AAAS and being a recipient of the IEEE Joseph G. Wohl Outstanding Career Award, the IEEE Major Educational Innovation Award, the IEEE Norbert Wiener Award, the IEEE Richard M. Emberson Award, and the IBM Faculty Award. He received a Doctor of Engineering (honoris causa) from Canada’s University of Waterloo and is also an Honorary Professor at over a dozen non-U.S. universities. Dr. Tien is also an elected member of the U. S. National Academy of Engineering..