Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Robot Car Ethics Article Review

In the wired.com article The Robot Car of Tomorrow May Just Be Programmed to Hit You, Patrick Lin discusses the ethical problems in robot cars and their moral math and choices. He presents the situation of a robot car facing an inevitable crash and it has to choose between hitting an SUV and a Mini Cooper. You would think that the robot would hit the vehicle with more safety to the driver so it would hit the bigger and stronger SUV. However that would damage the robot more as opposed to hitting the Cooper. That's one of the important questions to consider when programming the car on what to hit. Does the safety of the robot car driver matter more than the other drivers?  Many would say that the driver of the robot should be kept more safe by the car as opposed to other drivers on the road. Also is it fair that SUV owners will always have to take the hit over smaller cars? They never asked to be hit. Just because their car is big doesn't mean others have more right not to be hit than them.  The cars need another decision making system that is more fair but not as random as a number generator. Those same issues come up with hitting a biker with or without a helmet. Just because someone decided to be safe, do they deserve to take the hit? What if because of this situation, people stop wearing helmets completely? The car should try to avoid exposed drivers completely.  But then again a random pick isn't very fair either. A random hit is what humans do which is what the robot should be better than.  These cars need a better solution before being out on the road. The purpose of robot cars is to be better than human drivers so if it crashes it is not the human's fault. The human got in the robot car so it could do all the work in the first place. If the car crashes it is the programming fault or another drivers fault.  The driver does control the car but only to go where they want to go not how. In conclusion, there are a lot of difficulties in the development of these robot cars and many situations to consider on the road.  It will take a lot of time but I believe that there is a solution for the ethical problems robot cars have that will satisfy most people if not all.