Re: [SystemSafety] The Moral Math of Robots

From: Daniel Grivicic < >
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2016 21:28:23 +1100


I thought about this same problem quite briefly yesterday.

Some current research [1]:

"people often feel a utilitarian instinct to save the lives of others and sacrifice the car’s occupant, except when that occupant is them"

>From the safety of my lounge chair I'd pick the oak tree. There are still
unknowns (speed, conditions, etc..) but ultimately I guess I would be the sacrifice. As noted in the reference the sales person's pitch may be different.

My understanding that as a passenger in a vehicle you should sit behind the driver as they generally try to avoid hurting themselves.

Are there any current standards which could be a starting point?

[1]
http://theconversation.com/of-cats-and-cliffs-the-ethical-dilemmas-of-the-driverless-car-49778

Cheers,

Daniel.

On Sun, Mar 13, 2016 at 11:01 PM, Les Chambers <les_at_xxxxxx

> All
>
> My hometown Brisbane is currently hosting the world science Festival. This
> afternoon I attended a thought-provoking session entitled The Moral Math of
> Robots. The session addressed the question, "Can machines learn right from
> wrong? As the first generation of driverless cars and battlefield war bots
> filter into society, scientists are working to develop moral decision
> making skills in robots. Break or swerve? Shoot or stand down? ...
>
>
>
> An interesting thought came up during the session. It was triggered by a
> variation on the well-known trolley problem (
> https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2015/12/29/will-self-driving-cars-ever-solve-the-famous-and-creepy-trolley-problem/
> ).
>
>
>
> Picture this:
>
> You are in your driverless car progressing down a two lane road with
> oncoming traffic. Without warning a pedestrian moves from behind a large
> oak tree growing on the footpath and steps right in front of your vehicle.
> At the same time a vehicle is heading your way in the oncoming lane. The
> laws of physics dictate your vehicle cannot stop in time to avoid the
> pedestrian. There are three options:
>
> 1. Mow down the pedestrian
>
> 2. Swerve into the oncoming lane with the certainty of a head-on collision
>
> 3. Swerve onto the footpath with the certainty of a collision with the oak
> tree.
>
>
>
> What ups the ante on this hitherto academic problem is that it is now
> real. And worse, a driverless car systems engineer has already made a
> decision for us on the control actions to be taken in this class of
> scenario.
>
> The best of a bad lot of solutions is probably the collision with the oak
> tree. Given that the vehicle will have air bags the probability of harm is
> reduced.
>
>
>
> But it doesn't end there. The goodness of this obvious solution is a
> matter of opinion.
>
> Picture this: you go down to your local driverless car dealer ready to
> pony up money for your first shiny new robotic chauffeur and you ask the
> sales guy this giant killing question, "Given {the above scenario} is this
> car programmed to sacrifice me or the pedestrian?"
>
> An honest person might answer, "Well you of course, it's the only logical
> thing to do."
>
> A sales person on track for sales leader of the year might answer, "Why
> the pedestrian course, he was careless, he had it coming."
>
>
>
> Are you going to buy a car that is programmed to sacrifice you?
>
> Are you going to buy a car that is programmed to mow down pedestrians in
> an emergency?
>
>
>
> Personally I don't like either solution. I'd put my money in my pocket and
> go home (I'll stick with my own decision making process for mowing people
> down).
>
>
>
> Referring to a previous discussion, is this not a case for "unambiguous
> standards".
>
> The solution to this problem cannot be left in the hands of individual
> vendors. This is international standards territory. We need an
> international ethical consensus on whether we should mow down pedestrians
> or sacrifice passengers. Unless this question is settled, no vendor will be
> able to sell these vehicles.
>
>
>
> Ladies and gentlemen, we are embarked, which will it be?
>
>
>
> Cheers
>
> Les
>
>
>
> -------------------------------------------------
> Les Chambers
> Director
> Chambers & Associates Pty Ltd
> www.chambers.com.au
>
> Blog: www.systemsengineeringblog.com
>
> Twitter: _at_xxxxxx > M: 0412 648 992
> Intl M: +61 412 648 992
> Ph: +61 7 3870 4199
> Fax: +61 7 3870 4220
> les_at_xxxxxx > -------------------------------------------------
>
>
>
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