Are self driving cars worth all of the ethical problems they cause?
This round I am looking at the problems that self driving cars cause
I’m dividing this post into two sections, one research part and one opinion part. The opinion part is mostly based off of the survey I made, but my opinions are also stated. I might do this for all of my posts because of my topic, but we’ll see 😊 Since this is my first round of research (ever), feel free to let me know if you think I should do something differently next time.
Many people say that self driving cars will decrease the amount of car accidents there are. They think that by taking humans out of the driver’s seat and using machines instead, there won’t be anyone to make mistakes. But the thing is that humans are moral decision-makers. We need to somehow make artificial intelligence that can make moral decisions, but that technology is very advanced.
The big question is, would the car prioritize the passenger’s safety or the pedestrian’s safety? Another option could be to try to minimise the amount of life lost it any emergency scenario, but that could mean killing the passengers. Or, the driver could make the final choice in how the car is programed, but that still is not a great option.
Although this is a big problem, Stephen Zoepf, executive director of the center for automotive research at Stanford, thinks that we are wasting to much time on this topic. He thinks we should think more about where self driving cars will fit in a world where regular cars will still be being used? Should we give self driving cars a designated right of way and how fast should we let self driving cars go?
Another thing the professors talked about in this article is the loss of jobs. More than 3.5 million truck drivers transport cargo in the U.S. and all of those people are going to lose their jobs if self driving cars become our reality. But not only truck drivers will lose their jobs. People who work in public and private transit will also lose their jobs to self driving cars in the future.
In a different article, many good questions are asked. Some of these questions were:
Is it acceptable for an autonomous vehicle to avoid a motorcycle by crashing into a wall considering that the probability of survival is greater for the passenger than the rider?
Should different decisions be made when children are on board?
If the buyer is allowed to chose who the car protects, will they be held responsible for the harmful decisions the car makes?
Another thing to think about is how self driving cars will affect people with motion sickness. People with motion sickness feel better when they get to control the motions, but with self driving cars, they can’t do that. People who have tested self driving cars report the movements to be a bit “jerky”, which is bound to make it worse for people who suffer from motion sickness.
So now I am interested in your opinion. I did a survey, and I asked you guys what would stop you from using self driving cars, as in what problems are most important in your opinion, and your answers surprised me. Here are the results:
60% of you said there could be glitches when driving
30% said the moral debate
20% said they could be hacked
And 20% said other (all of the above and how will the driver stop the car in an emergency?)
I was surprised because so many articles focus around the moral debate, so I figured that was the biggest problem. As for glitches, real drivers make mistakes as well, maybe even more than a self driving car would. That means that, in my opinion, self driving car glitches are not any more dangerous than distracted drivers.
My second question was who should self driving cars be designed to protect?
20% of you said protect the passenger
30% of you said protect the pedestrian
And 50% said let the consumer decide when they buy the car
Something to consider is that if you let the consumer decide how the car should be programed, you give them all of the power. Would you feel comfortable walking on the street or driving in your car not knowing which car around you is programed to protect you and which car is programed to kill you? It does seem like the best option at first glance but it leaves everyone with a lot of uncertainty.
Feel free to give me your opinions, I’m open to anything. Just please make sure you make it clear which parts of your comments are solid facts and which ones are opinions!
I have decided to switch up my project plan a bit. Originally my plan was to research how self driving cars are programed, and then why using and electric car would be beneficial. I have decided the order to what are the benefits of self driving cars first because then I could also look at how the cars are designed to maximise these benefits and how they are programed at the same time.
As I said, I will be looking at the benefits and the future of self driving cars. I will be making another survey for my next round of research, it would be really helpful if you guy took the survey so I can have more material for my next round. I’m super excited about this as my survey got some very interesting results in this field. You guys why you thought using a self driving car would be beneficial, and I got a lot of really great answers. One of you guys brought to my attention that self driving cars would keep us safe from drunk drivers. Someone else also said that self driving cars would increase accessibility for people with mental and physical disabilities. This is all super interesting, and I can’t thank you guys enough for your continuous feedback and support. As you probably know, this is my first time in butterfly effect and I am super impressed with the butterfly effect community.