How AI System Consistency Is Vital To Self-Driving Car Efficacy

Lance Eliot
8 min readNov 21, 2019

Dr. Lance Eliot, AI Insider

[Ed. Note: For reader’s interested in Dr. Eliot’s ongoing business analyses about the advent of self-driving cars, see his online Forbes column: https://forbes.com/sites/lanceeliot/]

Consistency.

Maybe so, maybe not.

One of the hot topics in the distributed computer systems realm involves notions of consistency.

Simple stated, if you have multiple machines that are intended to store some particular data, what are the various ways that you can keep that data “consistent” across those myriad of machines, meaning that the same data is at those machines whenever you opt to take a look.

This is a lot harder to arrange than it might seem at first glance.

Let’s use an everyday example to illustrate this theme about consistency.

Example Of Consistency Difficulties

In a distributed system, it’s important to consider the latency aspects, meaning how long will it take for the distributed members to communicate with each other.

If I told you that with your chosen bank you’d need to wait at least 24 hours before your updates at one branch ATM propagated to all the other ATMs of that bank, you might be distressed about the rather excessive delay. You might be so upset that you’ll switch to another bank that can get things done much faster.

Another way to phrase things is to say that we want to ensure that the data is consistent across the distributed members.

Immediate Or Strong Consistency

If possible, you’d likely want immediate consistency, which sometimes is referred to as strong consistency.

Suppose we somehow had interconnected all the bank’s ATMs with super-duper fast fiber cable and within a split second of your $60 deposit it was communicated to all the others.

From your perspective, it would seem as though it was instantaneous and utterly consistent.

I think we can all agree though that it would still have been momentarily inconsistent, maybe just for a fraction of a second while the updates were occurring, but…

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Lance Eliot

Dr. Lance B. Eliot is a renowned global expert on AI, successful startup founder, global CIO/CTO, , was a top exec at a major Venture Capital (VC) firm.