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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Who Should Decide How Algorithms Decide?

Mark Esposito, Terence Tse, Joshua Entsminger, and Aurelie Jean
Project-Syndicate
Originally published April 17, 2019

Here is an excerpt:

Consider the following scenario: a car from China has different factory standards than a car from the US, but is shipped to and used in the US. This Chinese-made car and a US-made car are heading for an unavoidable collision. If the Chinese car’s driver has different ethical preferences than the driver of the US car, which system should prevail?

Beyond culturally based differences in ethical preferences, one also must consider differences in data regulations across countries. A Chinese-made car, for example, might have access to social-scoring data, allowing its decision-making algorithm to incorporate additional inputs that are unavailable to US carmakers. Richer data could lead to better, more consistent decisions, but should that advantage allow one system to overrule another?

Clearly, before AVs take to the road en masse, we will need to establish where responsibility for algorithmic decision-making lies, be it with municipal authorities, national governments, or multilateral institutions. More than that, we will need new frameworks for governing this intersection of business and the state. At issue is not just what AVs will do in extreme scenarios, but how businesses will interact with different cultures in developing and deploying decision-making algorithms.

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