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Using AI to plan a bicycle trip...

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Using AI to plan a bicycle trip...

Old 03-29-24, 06:50 AM
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Thank you for convincing me that I did not make a mistake when I used Ride With GPS, Komoot, Google Maps, and two site specific websites for local trail systems in mapping out my planned route for my next tour.

I found Google Maps most useful in satellite mode so that I could actually see:
- some of the bike trails that were mapped as such, so I knew that they existed,
- campgrounds that no longer existed,
- campgrounds that actually were permanent trailer parks, not RV parks where you could not rent a site for a night,
- which RV parks actually had tent sites besides RV pads by using the website for the site as provided by Google,
- where grocery stores are when riding a long distance in rural areas to resupply,
- a couple stores along the way where I could buy more butane canisters,
- where motels were in an area where there are no campgrounds within a reasonable distance,
- etc.

There are so many examples of AI making up fiction that is designed to please the user, I will wait until I hear that it is a reliable tool for accurate planning.

When you think about it, we have been using less robust forms of AI for years already when we ask a GPS or mapping app to pick a route from point A to point B for us, sometimes I follow that route and sometimes I deviate from the suggested route.

I have not yet seen a routing program work well to tell me how to ride my bike from home to the grocery store I usually shop at. When they can do that I will trust them a little bit more.

I appreciate your posts on this topic. We need to keep up to date on the tools available.
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Old 03-29-24, 08:24 AM
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I think routing is a tougher problem where I don't expect a generic AI chatbot to do as well for a while. For trip planning it might be closer to giving an overview of the area. For example, if I were visiting Madison one thing I could do is a search or find a site like TripAdvisor and it could give me a list of top attractions, e.g. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti...Wisconsin.html I could also use that search to find a blog posting like: https://www.traverse-blog.com/48-hou...son-wisconsin/

A different approach using a generative AI is below:
> I have two days visit in Madison Wisconsin, what should I do?
Madison, Wisconsin offers a variety of attractions for visitors. Here are some suggestions for your two-day visit:

Day 1:
1. Start your day at the Wisconsin State Capitol building, where you can take a free guided tour to learn about the history and architecture of this iconic landmark.
2. Head over to the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and explore Bascom Hill, where you can find the Memorial Union Terrace, a popular spot for locals and visitors alike to relax by Lake Mendota with a picnic or a beverage from the nearby Union South.
3. Take a scenic stroll around Lake Monona, the second largest lake in Wisconsin, which offers beautiful views of the city and surrounding countryside. You can also rent a kayak or paddleboat for an on-the-water experience.
4. End your day with dinner at one of Madison's renowned restaurants, such as Graze or L'Etoile, both known for their farm-to-table menus that showcase the region's fresh and local ingredients.

Day 2:
1. Begin your day by visiting the Henry Vilas Zoo, home to over 200 species of animals from around the world.
2. Spend the afternoon exploring the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, which feature more than 16 acres of beautiful gardens and landscapes, including a Thai pavilion, rose garden, and rock garden.
3. For those interested in art, visit the Chazen Museum of Art on the UW-Madison campus, where you can see a collection of over 20,000 works spanning from ancient to contemporary times.
4. End your day with a sunset view from the top of Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, which offers stunning views of Lake Monona and the city skyline. You can also enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants or bars located inside this architectural gem.
*********
Now Google recently announced that they were essentially adding some of those features into Google Maps - https://www.theverge.com/2024/3/27/2...ts-translation so I expect some of this technology to be integrating with tools you otherwise use in any case.
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Old 03-29-24, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by mev
I think routing is a tougher problem where I don't expect a generic AI chatbot to do as well for a while. For trip planning it might be closer to giving an overview of the area. For example, if I were visiting Madison one thing I could do is a search or find a site like TripAdvisor and it could give me a list of top attractions, e.g. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti...Wisconsin.html I could also use that search to find a blog posting like: https://www.traverse-blog.com/48-hou...son-wisconsin/

A different approach using a generative AI is below:
> I have two days visit in Madison Wisconsin, what should I do?
Madison, Wisconsin offers a variety of attractions for visitors. Here are some suggestions for your two-day visit:

Day 1:
1. Start your day at the Wisconsin State Capitol building, where you can take a free guided tour to learn about the history and architecture of this iconic landmark.
2. Head over to the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and explore Bascom Hill, where you can find the Memorial Union Terrace, a popular spot for locals and visitors alike to relax by Lake Mendota with a picnic or a beverage from the nearby Union South.
3. Take a scenic stroll around Lake Monona, the second largest lake in Wisconsin, which offers beautiful views of the city and surrounding countryside. You can also rent a kayak or paddleboat for an on-the-water experience.
4. End your day with dinner at one of Madison's renowned restaurants, such as Graze or L'Etoile, both known for their farm-to-table menus that showcase the region's fresh and local ingredients.

Day 2:
1. Begin your day by visiting the Henry Vilas Zoo, home to over 200 species of animals from around the world.
2. Spend the afternoon exploring the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, which feature more than 16 acres of beautiful gardens and landscapes, including a Thai pavilion, rose garden, and rock garden.
3. For those interested in art, visit the Chazen Museum of Art on the UW-Madison campus, where you can see a collection of over 20,000 works spanning from ancient to contemporary times.
4. End your day with a sunset view from the top of Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, which offers stunning views of Lake Monona and the city skyline. You can also enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants or bars located inside this architectural gem.
*********
Now Google recently announced that they were essentially adding some of those features into Google Maps - https://www.theverge.com/2024/3/27/2...ts-translation so I expect some of this technology to be integrating with tools you otherwise use in any case.
I moved here in 1988, I still have not been to the zoo or some of the other attractions it lists. I need to get my act together on that.

Usually if I do a sightseeing day, it is because; (1) the day before was a really long day, or (2) bad weather and I would rather walk around in the rain and high wind that ride in it, or (3) have not had a break for a week or more, or (4) I got to my final destination at least a day early and have to hang around before my flight back home.

In those cases, it usually is spur of the moment, wondering what there is to see. I am more interested in historical features that the more modern attractions like museums, etc. And if there is not much worth seeing, make it a laundry day, etc.

The tour I am planning now, not scheduling any days off for sightseeing, but I am sure that some will occur on spur of the moment. That tour ends with Amtrak, not a flight, so I will order my train ticket less than a week in advance so that the end of my trip is not as tied to the calendar. I like a more flexible schedule and it is generally pretty easy to schedule Amtrak on shorter notice than an airline without having to pay an exorbitant fee in the process.

That of course is easier for retired people like me, I do not have a work schedule like I used to. My longest vacation before I retired was a week long, it was hard to map out a long trip with a work schedule.
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Old 03-29-24, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
May I borrow that for a potential signature?
LOL be my guest. Just give me credit in case it blows up and ends up on t-shirts!

One thing that I've noticed with AI is that the more specific you get about a top, the more suspect their answers become. That's because the data model that they are synthesizing their answers from gets smaller and smaller.

Ask an AI to recommend 5 places in New York City to visit, and they can draw upon thousands upon thousands of articles, photos, blog posts, social posts, public reviews, etc from millions upon millions of people to formulate their response.

Ask an AI to recommend a route and POIs between two smaller places and the dataset shrinks considerably. Get remote enough and the dataset becomes quite small, to the point where the opinions of a small group of people who are part of the dataset can sway the result considerably. And I'd imagine that they'd give extra weight to more "popular" figures, i.e., Rick Steves' opinion of a place would receive more consideration than a bicycle tourist blogging about a place even though their experience might be more relevant.

Another thing to note is that AI doesn't actually know "things". That's why they often create images of people with 6 fingers. AI has been fed thousands upon thousands of images of hands but doesn't actually know what a hand is and that by definition usually has 5 fingers. Likewise, an AI doesn't know what a bicycle or a bicycle tour is but is able to fake it by the brute force of data. Before Noam Chomsky became known as a political radical, he was a world-renown linguist, and he's spoken about this issue .

Interesting times indeed.
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Old 03-29-24, 02:33 PM
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The AI thing is similar in many ways to the way that car companies are trying to train self driving cars. Much depends on the quality of the instruction.

I do not know if this is true, but I heard that when the Tesla engineers were first trying to teach their cars to self drive, they showed lots of graphics of pedestrians to the computer with instructions not to run into a pedestrian. And when they took the car out, it ran into a pedestrian. Why? The graphics they used to train the computer showed pedestrians in crosswalks. But the pedestrian it hit was not in a marked crosswalk.
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Old 03-29-24, 06:58 PM
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I have a feeling that in the not too distant future some smart marketer is going to convince people that AI is a “must have” touring tool, you’d be crazy to ride without it, or even worse courting disaster.
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Old 03-30-24, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by phughes
I seriously do not see the current appeal of AI. I am a geek, and I appreciate the technology for use in some industries, and have actually been reading and studying what I can about it since the '90s, but its current use online is maddening. The AI online uses all that is available online currently, without discernment. There is so much misinformation online, that works its way into the AI generated responses. It is useless. Unfortunately most people using it do not take that in consideration when using it, and take it as a more reputable source than that found elsewhere.
I don't think any real geek can believe the breakneck rollout of AI technology is anything more than a slow motion Apocalypse. But, geeks are a minority population. The majority of folks love them some AI. They think detractors are worrying about nothing. As soon as they think AI is up to it, they are going to turn over KEY responsibilities for transportation, defense, economic advancement, and social order, to AI auspices. Geeks just don't see how that ends well. For one thing, the hand-off will come way too early. AI is learning fast, real fast, but it is only as good as the knowledge-bases. Still, it may need ~10 years to fully administer complex First World economies. We will give them 5. Whee doggie ...
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Old 03-30-24, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
I don't think any real geek can believe the breakneck rollout of AI technology is anything more than a slow motion Apocalypse. But, geeks are a minority population. The majority of folks love them some AI. They think detractors are worrying about nothing. As soon as they think AI is up to it, they are going to turn over KEY responsibilities for transportation, defense, economic advancement, and social order, to AI auspices. Geeks just don't see how that ends well. For one thing, the hand-off will come way too early. AI is learning fast, real fast, but it is only as good as the knowledge-bases. Still, it may need ~10 years to fully administer complex First World economies. We will give them 5. Whee doggie ...
Life imitating art.

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Old 03-30-24, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Ask “it” about tent size!
important!
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Old 03-30-24, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mev
For fun, I did an experiment to see how well a local chatbot could plan an upcoming bicycle trip. I was using a local copy of "LM Studio" on my PC and picked the Mistral Instruct 7B model. Overall less powerful than many large language models out there, but also something I could run local and portable on my PC.
Here is the prompt I provided:


Stay tuned for more updates as I continue my journey through the Lone Star State!
so your using the "CAR" option to plan a bike trip¿ did I miss something? This can't be never ever an interesting scenic cycling tour.
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Old 03-30-24, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by gerryl
I have a feeling that in the not too distant future some smart marketer is going to convince people that AI is a “must have” touring tool, you’d be crazy to ride without it, or even worse courting disaster.
Some will sign up for it and be hooked.

Some, like me will remain clueless in perpetuity, and will live happily ever after.
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Old 03-30-24, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
I don't think any real geek can believe the breakneck rollout of AI technology is anything more than a slow motion Apocalypse. But, geeks are a minority population. The majority of folks love them some AI. They think detractors are worrying about nothing. As soon as they think AI is up to it, they are going to turn over KEY responsibilities for transportation, defense, economic advancement, and social order, to AI auspices. Geeks just don't see how that ends well. For one thing, the hand-off will come way too early. AI is learning fast, real fast, but it is only as good as the knowledge-bases. Still, it may need ~10 years to fully administer complex First World economies. We will give them 5. Whee doggie ...
Yeah, I see no real good from it in the wild. I can see specific uses in very specialized closed settings, as in, not on the internet at large. Any use I envision would augment, not replace human control. I can see its use for analyzing data, along side actual humans analyzing the same data, without using the AI report as gospel, instead using it to see what they missed, with humans following up on anything missed to see if it is pertinent or even real.

Jeff Hawkins, the man behind the Palm Pilot, wrote a book entitled, "On Intelligence." It is a very good read. His thought is that we will never develop true AI until we fully understand biological intelligence, which we don't.

We cannot simply plug a program into the internet, let it collect data, then let it spit it out in a conversational form and call it intelligence. That is simply a more complex version of a parroting. There is no real understanding of anything, it cannot feel, it cannot touch, it cannot see, it cannot comprehend. It cannot experience things and learn from that experience. It cannot formulate its own opinion based on what it culls from the internet, or other sources. Despite the claims, any "opinion" formed by what is being deemed AI today, is simply a product of its program, not actual thought.
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Old 03-30-24, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by str
so your using the "CAR" option to plan a bike trip¿ did I miss something? This can't be never ever an interesting scenic cycling tour.
Unrelated to AI, but sure there are parts of the US where I find "Google Maps, avoid highways" to create better routes for my riding choices than the cycling directions. A number of areas are sparsely populated and traffic counts are not particularly high. The bike choices will go miles out of my way and be hit/miss as far as extended sections of gravel and no services. I've done a lot of riding in western US with this mode of maps.

Now in this particular case, I am actually riding between Alamogordo and Lubbock. It is an arid region and I wouldn't describe it as particularly scenic in any case. For example, between Roswell and Tatum I expect 75 miles of one highway - with moderate traffic. The only "service" is a rest area about 50 miles in where signs say the water is non-potable. Not quite enough water to grow much or have much livestock along the way. However still an interesting ride and it "connects" other places I've ridden together.
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Old 03-30-24, 02:13 PM
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Hopefully AI and VR will soon be so good that we won’t have to leave our couches to be immersed in the awesome bicycle touring experience! FTW!
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Old 03-30-24, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by imi
Hopefully AI and VR will soon be so good that we won’t have to leave our couches to be immersed in the awesome bicycle touring experience! FTW!
Thank you imi
I read all this stuff and shake my head.
But hey, look at the bright side--we won't have to argue about what chain lube is the best anymore!
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Old 03-30-24, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
Thank you imi
I read all this stuff and shake my head.
But hey, look at the bright side--we won't have to argue about what chain lube is the best anymore!
AI can do it for us!
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Old 03-30-24, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by mev
... , between Roswell and Tatum I expect 75 miles of one highway - with moderate traffic. ....
Maybe you can hitch a ride with the space aliens for part of the distance? Or, do I have the wrong Roswell?
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Old 03-30-24, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Maybe you can hitch a ride with the space aliens for part of the distance? Or, do I have the wrong Roswell?
This is the correct Roswell. Their tourist business definitely plays up the alien theme with green men everywhere.

More interesting to me is this is also the region Robert Goddard did many early rocketry experiments.

Unfortunately I suspect rockets and UFO hitchhiking would be even more elusive than finding a pickup truck... Hopefully don't need any of them.
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Old 03-31-24, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by imi
Hopefully AI and VR will soon be so good that we won’t have to leave our couches to be immersed in the awesome bicycle touring experience! FTW!
I'm looking forward to a VR experience where I can be riding in the peloton of the Tour de France in the Alps and the Pyrenees and the bunch sprint on the Champs Elysee and feel the speed and jostling for position.
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Old 03-31-24, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
I'm looking forward to a VR experience where I can be riding in the peloton of the Tour de France in the Alps and the Pyrenees and the bunch sprint on the Champs Elysee and feel the speed and jostling for position.
As an older dude who works with old folks and doing the family member thing of those getting to the
​​​End of their lives, I'm sure that when we are old geezers with physical limitations and all that fun crap, there will certainly be an extension, more vr like, of stuff that I already enjoy watching-- pov stuff of bike trips, the amazing pov and onboard shots of motorcycle and other Motorsport racing etc etc.
But a whole other level of being more realistic. It will be fun to be able to watch/experience things that we loved doing during our lives.
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Old 03-31-24, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by imi
Hopefully AI and VR will soon be so good that we won’t have to leave our couches to be immersed in the awesome bicycle touring experience! FTW!
Looking at some bikes and roads used here, I think we are riding on couches already.
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Old 03-31-24, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
As an older dude who works with old folks and doing the family member thing of those getting to the
​​​End of their lives, I'm sure that when we are old geezers with physical limitations and all that fun crap, there will certainly be an extension, more vr like, of stuff that I already enjoy watching-- pov stuff of bike trips, the amazing pov and onboard shots of motorcycle and other Motorsport racing etc etc.
But a whole other level of being more realistic. It will be fun to be able to watch/experience things that we loved doing during our lives.
100%. I have thousands of old photos and hundreds of hours of video footage of me riding motorcycles, bicycles, and generally enjoying life. When I can no longer do those things, my only wish is for someone to put a pair of VR goggles on me so that I can relive those days.

More recently, I used VR goggles to float around the interior of the International Space Station as it virtually orbited a virtual earth. I used handholds to stay still and push and pulled on them to move around. I looked outside the windows and I operated the giant robotic arm to try to grab a passing satellite. It's the closest thing to being the astronaut that my 10 year old self dreamed of being.
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Old 03-31-24, 11:21 PM
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I’ll keep doing it until I can’t. Then I’ll have memories.
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Old 04-01-24, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
100%. I have thousands of old photos and hundreds of hours of video footage of me riding motorcycles, bicycles, and generally enjoying life. When I can no longer do those things, my only wish is for someone to put a pair of VR goggles on me so that I can relive those days.

More recently, I used VR goggles to float around the interior of the International Space Station as it virtually orbited a virtual earth. I used handholds to stay still and push and pulled on them to move around. I looked outside the windows and I operated the giant robotic arm to try to grab a passing satellite. It's the closest thing to being the astronaut that my 10 year old self dreamed of being.
I regret not going to that iss exhibit when it was here.
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Old 04-01-24, 08:35 PM
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I’ve been happy seeing the ISS pass overhead three times.
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