By Patrick Lin
Originally published May 6, 2014
Here is an except:
Programming a car to collide with any particular kind of object over another seems an awful lot like a targeting algorithm, similar to those for military weapons systems. And this takes the robot-car industry down legally and morally dangerous paths.
Even if the harm is unintended, some crash-optimization algorithms for robot cars would seem to require the deliberate and systematic discrimination of, say, large vehicles to collide into. The owners or operators of these targeted vehicles would bear this burden through no fault of their own, other than that they care about safety or need an SUV to transport a large family. Does that sound fair?
What seemed to be a sensible programming design, then, runs into ethical challenges. Volvo and other SUV owners may have a legitimate grievance against the manufacturer of robot cars that favor crashing into them over smaller cars, even if physics tells us this is for the best.
The entire story is here.