Quartz.comOriginally published September 17, 2017
Driverless cars sound great in theory. They have the potential to save lives, because humans are erratic, distracted, and often bad drivers. Once the technology is perfected, machines will be far better at driving safely.
But in practice, the notion of putting your life into the hands of an autonomous machine—let alone facing one as a pedestrian—is highly unnerving. Three out of four Americans are afraid to get into a self-driving car, an American Automobile Association survey found earlier this year.
Carmakers working to counter those fears and get driverless cars on the road have found an ally in psychologists. In a paper published this week in Nature Human Behavior, three professors from MIT Media Lab, Toulouse School of Economics, and the University of California at Irvine discuss widespread concerns and suggest psychological techniques to help allay them:
Who wants to ride in a car that would kill them to save pedestrians?
First, they address the knotty problem of how self-driving cars will be programmed to respond if they’re in a situation where they must either put their own passenger or a pedestrian at risk. This is a real world version of an ethical dilemma called “The Trolley Problem.”
The article is here.