Who will your (future) automatic car decide to kill? [What does Jesus have to do with it?!?]


In philosophy, there’s an ethical question called the trolley problem. If you had to push one large person in front of a moving trolley to save a group of people on the tracks, would you? This abstract idea has taken hold in programming self-driving cars: what happens if it’s impossible to avoid everyone?

Researchers from the Toulouse School of Economics decided to see what the public would decide, and posed a series of questions to online survey-takers, including a situation where a car would either kill 10 people and save the driver, or swerve and kill the driver to save the group.

They found that more than 75 percent supported self-sacrifice of the passenger to save 10 people, and around 50 percent supported self-sacrifice when saving just one person. However, respondents didn’t actually think real cars would end up being programmed this way, and would probably save the passenger at all costs. (1)

Indeed a difficult problem. How can you program that into a robot, when you yourself is not yet fully aware of why you would sacrifice yourself to save other people?

Robots will never understand what cannot be understood.

Robots will never comprehend the incomprehensible.

Robots will never be alive.

There is godly nature in us. And such decisions should be left to gods (humans) alone. Because only God can choose to die to save a human…

Automated cars. Manual people.

Volvo has started testing autonomous cars on public roads, making it one of the first automakers to put fully autonomous vehicles in the hands of consumers.
The Swedish company is selecting people to participate in a new project called Drive Me, which is endorsed by the Swedish government. Customers will drive cars equipped with Volvo’s Autopilot technology on 30 miles of selected roads in and around Gothenburg, Sweden. The company aims to have 100 vehicles in the program by 2017.

The vehicles include those in Volvo’s regular lineup, a spokesman said. Volvo’s Autopilot technology allows drivers to hand over all driving functions to the vehicle.
“The test cars are now able to handle lane following, speed adaption and merging traffic all by themselves,” says Erik Coelingh, technical specialist at Volvo.
Ultimately, the goal is to have cars drive the entire test route all on their own. Volvo did not say how close it is to accomplishing this. (1)

This news is coming after Google announced similar progress with its own automated cars…

“Google Inc. said it has begun testing its self-driving cars on city streets, a crucial new phase in its quest to eventually make the technology a standard feature in automobiles. After several years of testing self-driving cars on freeways, where driving conditions are more predictable, Google in the past year shifted its focus to city street driving, the company said in a post on its official blog on Monday.” (2)

Soon enough all cars will be automated.

And vice-versa, all humans will be manually operated.

By computers…

Toyota, cars without drivers, responsibility

Toyota has given a taste of self-drive car safety technology ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week. (1)

It sounds great.

I have one question though: Who will be held responsible in case of an accident? The human non-driver, the company or… the car?

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