Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ethics Delemmas may hold back Autonomous Cars Study

by AFP26 Jun 201625

Washington (AFP) – If it has to make a choice, will your autonomous car kill you or pedestrians on the street?

The looming arrival of self-driving vehicles is likely to vastly reduce traffic fatalities, but also poses difficult moral dilemmas, researchers said in a study Thursday.

Autonomous driving systems will require programmers to develop algorithms to make critical decisions that are based more on ethics than technology, according to the study published in the journal Science.

“Figuring out how to build ethical autonomous machines is one of the thorniest challenges in artificial intelligence today,” said the study by Jean-Francois Bonnefon of the Toulouse School of Economics, Azim Shariff of the University of Oregon and Iyad Rahwan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“For the time being, there seems to be no easy way to design algorithms that would reconcile moral values and personal self-interest — let alone account for different cultures with various moral attitudes regarding life-life tradeoffs — but public opinion and social pressure may very well shift as this conversation progresses.”

The researchers said adoption of autonomous vehicles offers many social benefits such as reducing air pollution and eliminating up to 90 percent of traffic accidents.

“Not all crashes will be avoided, though, and some crashes will require AVs to make difficult ethical decisions in cases that involve unavoidable harm,” the researchers said in the study.

“For example, the AV may avoid harming several pedestrians by swerving and sacrificing a passerby, or the AV may be faced with the choice of sacrificing its own passenger to save one or more pedestrians.”
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