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Driverless Cars (2)

Stanford engineering professor Chris Gerdes has been examining the complexities of programming self-driving cars to make moral decisions — in this case, the “trolley problem” involving a decision that saves some lives at the expense of another’s.

 

I try and read up on and write document driverless car technology as often as I can. As the computer disrupted many peoples offices, so will driverless cars disrupt our roads and many industries that use cars and trucks.

Today I came across this fascinating article on C-net about the tricky moral problems driverless cars present.

There are some really interesting questions, for example, in case of accidentwhat if the fewest people will be killed if a car’s driver and passengers are the ones to die?”

It seems like these kinds of questions will eventually have to be answered because the kind of situations where these decisions come in to play will unfortunately occur.

I generally believe that when technology, business & design get together, our species will be left better off that before. I believe humans should not drive cars and than machines/computers/robots should take over so we are all safer and more productive.

But in the article mentioned above Brad Templeton, who has consulted to Google on these kinds of topics makes this interesting point:

 

“There will be difficulties when, inevitably, a self-driving car is found responsible for someone’s death. But it’s important to consider what happens if we let humans keep on driving, too…

People do not like being killed by robots. They’d rather be killed by drink,” Templeton said. “We’ll be choosing between our fear of machines and our non-fear of being killed by drunks because we’re so used to it.”

 

“People don’t like being killed by robots.” I love that line, mainly because I think it is true. It feels like whenever a new technology is introduced, there are generations of people who fight it and dismiss it, but to the generations of people who grow up with it, it seems like the perfect answer to real problem.

You hear cab drivers complain about Uber. My parents question the insurance and safety, but I hope my children have a point of view that car ownership is a waste of money.

You hear people question Airbnb, again about safety, but I hope my children don’t see the sense in hotels.

We will hear people complain about driverless cars, but I wonder if one day we all believe that being killed by a robot is a better out come than being killed by a drunk driver.

Or maybe death won’t be a problem if Google keep working on it.

 

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