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Description: You have undoubtably seem or heard the increasing buzz about driverless vehicles and you might think that the one thing you do NOT need if your vehicle has no driver is Psychology. But, think about this – driverless vehicles work the way they do because of how they were designed and a crucial part of their design has to do with how they are going to “make decisions” out there on the road in the world where there are going to be real people. So, think of this – moving through the world and interacting with people requires that we make ethical and moral decisions regarding the potential impact of our actions (or our lack of action) on other around us. So here is a BIG question – what sort of moral decision-making rules, strategies or decision-making algorithms should we program into driverless vehicles before we allow them our to share the roads and the world with us? Didn’t see that one coming, did you? So, try and get your head around that question and then read the article linked below for a multinational perspective on it.

Source: How should autonomous vehicles be programmed? ScienceDaily, Quirky.

Date: October 24, 2018

Photo Credit: Edmond Awad et al. Nature

Article Link: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181024131501.htm

So, what do you think? Does it make sense to work at having the driving morality of autonomous vehicles reflect local beliefs and moral demands? What are your core driving decision-making peices? Numbr of potential acasualities? Age of Casualties? At a minimum the research as the researchers suggest, could provide a framework for both local discussions about what we want of autonomous vehicles and about what might distinguish local from general guidelines for such important programming.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Does it make sense or is it important to talk about the morality of driverless vehicles?
  2. What sorts of driving dilemmas or questions should the programmers for autonomous vehicles be working on?
  3. What might be some of the wider implications and applications of this line of research and refection (like who is liable if something goes wrong)?

References (Read Further):

Edmond Awad, Sohan Dsouza, Richard Kim, Jonathan Schulz, Joseph Henrich, Azim Shariff, Jean-François Bonnefon, Iyad Rahwan. The Moral Machine experiment. Nature, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0637-6

Althoff, M., Althoff, D., Wollherr, D., & Buss, M. (2010, June). Safety verification of autonomous vehicles for coordinated evasive maneuvers. In Intelligent vehicles symposium (IV), 2010 IEEE (pp. 1078-1083). IEEE. https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/doc/1287516/file.pdf

Marchant, G. E., & Lindor, R. A. (2012). The coming collision between autonomous vehicles and the liability system. Santa Clara L. Rev., 52, 1321.  http://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2731&context=lawreview

Bonnefon, J. F., Shariff, A., & Rahwan, I. (2016). The social dilemma of autonomous vehicles. Science, 352(6293), 1573-1576. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1510.03346

Bonnefon, J. F., Shariff, A., & Rahwan, I. (2015). Autonomous vehicles need experimental ethics: Are we ready for utilitarian cars?. arXiv preprint arXiv:1510.03346. http://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/13d4/56d4c53d7b03b90ba59845a8f61b23b9f6e8.pdf

Goodall, N. J. (2014). Machine ethics and automated vehicles. In Road vehicle automation (pp. 93-102). Springer, Cham. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Noah_Goodall/publication/300567119_Machine_Ethics_and_Automated_Vehicles/links/57d02ff308ae5f03b489083f.pdf

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