Self-driving cars and the Trolley problem
Tanay Jaipuria
1K70

It’s an interesting thought experiment, but in the real world I think it would actually be quite a bit more boring. For instance, a car faced with a collision would not be deciding to slam into car A or car B as its only two decisions, like an organic brain pressed for time would be doing.
Onboard computers would calculate a wide variety of possible options (for example, turn onto the shoulder, brake completely, turn to collide with a nearby inanimate object, attempt to execute a roll or skid) and would then make the decision with the highest statistical chance of saving ALL lives, (based on speed, vehicle make and age, road quality, passenger type, past crash data, prevailing weather conditions).
It would also do so with the speed of an electronic brain, meaning we could be fairly certain it would have time to arrive at the best decision after considering all variables. Of course the decision may still fail, but so long as the computer calculated the best option and carried it out according to a standard which will no doubt be codified at some point in the future, then the company’s ethical obligations are pretty much fulfilled, and it pretty much comes down to statistical analysis and not a whole bunch of philosophy.

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