PerspectiveEthics

Our driverless dilemma

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Science  24 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6293, pp. 1514-1515
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf9534

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  • RE: Our driverless dilemma

    Why do all autonomous vehicles have to have the same behavior in an ethical situation? Why can't the vehicle's owner specify their autonomous vehicle's preference for preserving the vehicle's driver/passengers or those outside the vehicle?

    If all autonomous vehicles are programmed to sacrifice their driver/passengers versus pedestrians, what brazen behaviors will that produce from the pedestrians? How many accidents will the "me first" oriented population produce as they rush across the street, knowing they will make it but the vehicles around them may not?

    We always told our children, "when you are driving and an animal runs in-front of you, hit the animal but stop as soon as you can safely. People were another matter. Will autonomous vehicles be able to differentiate between people, dogs, cats, squirrels, deer, horses, and moose? If they will, perhaps a suitable configuration menu will enable the vehicle's owner to tailor their vehicle's behavior?

    Competing Interests: None declared.