Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 26th Aug 2017 19:08 UTC
In the News

Some light weekend reading: ethical guidelines for self-driving cars, as proposed by an ethics commission of the German government.

The technological developments are forcing government and society to reflect on the emerging changes. The decision that has to be taken is whether the licensing of automated driving systems is ethically justifiable or possibly even imperative. If these systems are licensed - and it is already apparent that this is happening at international level - everything hinges on the conditions in which they are used and the way in which they are designed. At the fundamental level, it all comes down to the following question. How much dependence on technologically complex systems - which in the future will be based on artificial intelligence, possibly with machine learning capabilities - are we willing to accept in order to achieve, in return, more safety, mobility and convenience? What precautions need to be taken to ensure controllability, transparency and data autonomy? What technological development guidelines are required to ensure that we do not blur the contours of a human society that places individuals, their freedom of development, their physical and intellectual integrity and their entitlement to social respect at the heart of its legal regime?

Cars are legalised murder weapons, and the car is probably one of the deadliest inventions of mankind. Self-driving cars, therefore, open up a whole Pandora's box oef ethical dilemmas, and it only makes sense for governments and lawmakers to start addressing these.

Beyond the ethics related to life and death, though, there are also simpler, more banal ethical considerations. What if, in the hunger for more profits, a car maker makes a deal with McDonalds, and tweaks its self-driving car software just a tad bit so that it drives customers past McDonalds more often, even if it increases total travel time? What if a car maker makes similar deals with major chains like Target, Walmart, and Whole Foods, so that smaller chains or independent stores don't even show up when you say "take me to the nearest place that sells X"? Is that something we should allow?

Should we even allow self-driving car software to be closed-source to begin with? Again - cars are legal murder weapons, and do we really trust car manufacturers enough not to cut corners when developing self-driving car software to meet deadlines or due to bad management or underpaid developers? Shouldn't all this development and all this code be out there for the world to see?

Interesting times ahead.

Permalink for comment 648348
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: Comment Title
by fmaxwell on Sat 26th Aug 2017 23:05 UTC in reply to "Comment Title"
Member since:

I do not think that it makes sense for us to let satanic psychopaths like governments address our moral issues. They have done quite a shitty job so far at addressing our moral issues.

So we should just get rid of all of those "satanic" government-imposed laws against child molestation, murder, rape, theft, fraud, torture, etc.? You're comments about satanic beliefs are disturbing. You might want to talk to someone because your beliefs are so far out of the mainstream that it's cause for concern.

The government should stop controlling the market so that the people can be free again. And then the people should vote with their wallet.

Given the choice of polluting their neighbor's well or spending an extra $100, far too many would choose to let the neighbor drink poison.

If you think that things are so much better without government regulating things, then Somalia should be a paradise for someone like you. The government is so small and powerless as to be all but non-existent in most people's lives. And you know what? The country is a hell-hole. Serious, brutal, and often fatal crimes are common.

Reply Parent Score: 3