The social dilemma of autonomous vehicles

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Science  24 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6293, pp. 1573-1576
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf2654

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  • Autonomous Vehicles:
    • Daniel Weihs, Head, Automonous Systems program, Technion, Israel Inst. of Technology

    The advent of autonomous cars brings up a different issue- that of the enjoyment of driving. Most luxury cars sales are based on driving pleasure- which will vanish when autonomously driven. So the big profit makers of the Automobile industry will suffer most- but these are the change leaders. It will be interesting to see how this dilemma works out.

    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Black box is not safe at all.

    Before discussing the social dilemma of autonomous vehicles (1) , we must remove all black boxes from any system for security reason.
    The OBD-II specification is made mandatory for all cars sold in the United States since 1996. The European Union makes EOBD mandatory for all gasoline (petrol) vehicles sold in the European Union since 2001.
    The OBD-II and EOBD specifications both contain black boxes where all car manufactures cannot full-test the black boxes. Besides, they have no security provided in the OBD-II and EOBD specifications. In other words, for more than fifteen years with neglecting security problems, we have been driving naked cars.
    In the age of autonomous cars, we must reconsider such unsecure mandatory specifications. Why have we been forced to live with black-box testing without understanding the details of the black-box? We all know that black-box testing is not suitable for identifying the defects (hardware/software) in the black box.
    However, open source is not automatically more secure than closed source(2). The difference is with open source code you can verify for yourself (or pay someone to verify for you) whether the code is secure(2). With closed source programs you need to take it on faith that a piece of code works properly, open source allows the code to be tested and verified to work properly(2). Open source also allows anyone to fix broken code, while closed source can only be fixed by the vendor(1).

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: "Social dilemma" based on human "self-reports"

    The authors pose a “social dilemma” for autonomous vehicles (AVs) with scenarios they describe as “unlikely” while relying on surveys (static self-reports) to make predictions about human preferences to these AV decisions. But we have known for decades that preferences self-reported by humans often mis-align with human behavior ([4];[9];[6]). For example, reported in Science News [3], 90% of female partners self-reported compliance with a drug regimen to prevent transmission from their HIV mates, indicating drug failure. But before rejecting the drug, blood samples collected at the same time as the self-reports were compared to discover that compliance by the females was only 30%, giving new life to the drug. "There was a profound discordance between what they told us … and what we measured," infectious disease specialist Jeanne Marrazzo said.

    As two other examples, Nate Silver, the renowned political forecaster [2], declared a crises with polling last year after failing to predict the outcome of five national and international contests. Tetlock and Gardner [8] claimed that "forecasting ... is a skill that can be cultivated.” Their webpage titled “Good Judgment” displayed the first question for their hand-picked superforecasters: “Will a majority of voters in Britain's upcoming referendum elect to remain in the European Union?” Despite giving only a 23% chance that the British would leave the EU [5], these superforecasters failed to predict Brexi...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: The social dilemma of autonomous vehicles

    Dear readers, there is a very ethical choice and for you to evaluate. Autonomous vehicles should have a setup wizard or a control panel where the driver in each trip can provide related settings of his choice regarding the decision making of the autonomous vehicle. These data should be saved in some "box", and in case of an accident responsibility can be taken. This is ethical on driver's side, ethical also for the companies in relation of autonomous vehicle and client.

    As free society, is also ethical, same like todays. Anybody can drive a car with a numerous of outcomes (even they pass thru a process to obtain a driver's licence).

    As a society for the common good is not ethical, in case driver making the decision to save his/her self than the lives of pedestrians which are totally innocent.

    This decision is not for companies to take, but for the drivers to decide and have the responsibility if so, giving them the advantage of thinking in advance than to act in rush in any difficult moment with limited time to respond.

    However a note, that in any case, pedestrians have no responsibility and actually should be protected while they are just walking. Walking and never come back home, is a total tragedy. Also the responsibility taken by the driver thru the saved data "box", cannot bring back the life of an innocent pedestrian.

    In the other hand, someone who decide to buy a car either autonomous or not, and decid...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: The social dilemma of autonomous vehicles

    The main problem for the autonomous vehicles (AVs) that are created today is not ethical. It is a mistake. This mistake is that all these AVs are created for the existed environment with pedestrians and human operating vehicles. And problem is that you have to change the environment for AVs.
    It was clearly demonstrated in the concept “Global Intelligent Transportation System” (GITS) that was presented on 17th ITS World Congress in Busan.
    GITS concept is based on the postulate that human driven vehicles and ships must not be used in the environment where the automatically driven vehicles and ships are used and vice versa. It does not mean that the human vehicles or ships do not need the development of control systems that will provide the existing human driven transport systems with greater safety and efficiency. It means only that they cannot be used in the same environment. Proof: Boden Lake crash that I named “Boden Lake limit”. It means that there is a limit of automation for human operated systems. The collision of two airplanes over the Boden Lake some years ago showed that the human priority was the final factor of that collision.
    The ACs must have their own environment where they have not to have any ethical choice. Their environment has to exclude the choice to choose between two evils by exc...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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