Should your self-driving car kill you to save others?

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    The autopilot may have a lot of complex information, and be required to make a lot of very fast decisions. Its information will always be limited by security clearance, availability of data and the accuracy of its sensors (The one in Florida couldn't distinguish a hulking great truck from the sky; the truck driver apparently didn't see a low, dark-coloured - more like the one in the background http://www.wcpo.com/news/national/tesla-driver-killed-in-crash-while-using-cars-autopilot - car approaching at speed in the opposite lane; all three drivers were inattentive, but only two died. ) Assuming that its programming is sophisticated enough to make the kind of informed choices mentioned in this thread, its decision-making still doesn't require an "ethical" component. It could simply assess relative quantities of damage. Maybe according to the odds of saving the lives of victims in the projected accident. Maybe in $ figures. Maybe in time and material to produce replacements for the personnel, mechanics and road furnishings. Maybe in terms of damage to society or disruption to traffic. Maybe according to a table of human valuation by age, sex, occupation, police and health record.
    It's a machine: give it technical terms of reference, not sentimental ones.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Your original example was surgeon versus gang-banger.

    Regardless, I think you're waxing fanciful - as in: fun to make conjectures but not really a serious discussion. I don't think you honestly believe that, in a real world / near-future, the auto company or the driver would ever or could ever place a value on a life in such a situation.
     
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Well, the example is actually "us" versus "them".

    I do. I think Asimov's Laws of Robotics are utterly unrealistic.

    Look at drones. One of the first uses of the technology was to choose whom to kill. We're only a very small step away from eliminating the remote human operator entirely.
     
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Precisely. So more a movie plot than real life. There's no realistic separation between those two outside of a contrived movie plot.

    You mean military drones?

    You've got the cart before the horse. Killing is why they were invented. The 'killing' need came first; the technology was developed to meet that need.


    Isn't that like saying 'they put 75mm guns on tanks, so they'll be appearing on cars next'?
     
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Well, kinda. More like 'they put wifi in restaurants, so they'll be putting it in cars next'.

    Are you suggesting that they wouldn't put 75mm guns on cars if there was a demand for them? The NRA and the 2nd Amendment would certainly support it.
     
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I'm suggesting that we're drifting into pure speculation for the sake of something to talk about. The opening topic is a real, if rare, concern in the real world. Flipping switches to customize a car's weighting system for what lives to spare is sci-fi.
     
  10. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    On the contrary, it's a very real possibility. We set up our computers to suit our personal preferences. A computerized car could be set up in exactly the same way. There's no question of sci-fi. The only question is, "Should we?" We can't decide whether we should do it if we pretend it can't be done.
     
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed. Trolley problems are interesting thought experiments, but don't currently have real world applications when it comes to autonomous vehicles (and will not for a long, long time.)
     
  12. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    If that is the case why didn't I win the Miss Universe?
     
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    So, this comment dated itself pretty quickly...

    They're already rolling onto the streets.
     
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    ?? My comment was not "autonomous vehicles won't happen" - heck, I have one. It is that the "trolley problem" thought experiment does not really apply to them, any more than it applies to modern aircraft autopilots or modern autonomous train control systems.
     
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Ah. mea culpa.

    In that case, yes. An interesting philosophical debate, but its practical application is dubious.
     
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    There's one semi-practical aspect - it might be in the interest of the rest of us to include a "kill the driver to save others" subroutine in these very expensive self-driving cars. So it's there, if we need it.
     
  17. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    And if "kill the driver to save others" were ever hacked it would be a hack of a way to go

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    What does the cost of the car have to do with it? Is it be less important to do in cheaper autonomous vehicles?
     
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Hint: the Republican tax bill kills Social Security and Medicare as we know it, and guarantees the transfer of another 15% or so of existing wealth (along with continuing the current sequestering of essentially 100% of new wealth) into the ownership of the very rich.
     
  20. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Ah, so killing such people is OK.

    Next up - a car that sacrifices the least productive group of people. For the good of the country, of course.
     
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    In self defense - if we need to.
    That was first up already.
     
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    There is this:

    • Munroe, Randall. "Self-Driving Car Milestones". xkcd. 6 December 2017. https://xkcd.com/1925/
     
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  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Hah. I was going to post that here.
     

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