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Transportation AI Crime

Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb 239

Rick Zeman writes Wired has an interesting article on the possibility of selectable ethical choices in robotic autonomous cars. From the article: "The way this would work is one customer may set the car (which he paid for) to jealously value his life over all others; another user may prefer that the car values all lives the same and minimizes harm overall; yet another may want to minimize legal liability and costs for herself; and other settings are possible. Philosophically, this opens up an interesting debate about the oft-clashing ideas of morality vs. liability." Meanwhile, others are thinking about the potential large scale damage a robot car could do.

Lasrick writes Patrick Lin writes about a recent FBI report that warns of the use of robot cars as terrorist and criminal threats, calling the use of weaponized robot cars "game changing." Lin explores the many ways in which robot cars could be exploited for nefarious purposes, including the fear that they could help terrorist organizations based in the Middle East carry out attacks on US soil. "And earlier this year, jihadists were calling for more car bombs in America. Thus, popular concerns about car bombs seem all too real." But Lin isn't too worried about these threats, and points out that there are far easier ways for terrorists to wreak havoc in the US.
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Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb

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  • by maliqua ( 1316471 ) on Monday August 18, 2014 @12:32PM (#47696077)

    I'm not really sure why they call it 'ethics of the car' not ethics of the owner or programmer, or administrator of the car.

    If you put a bomb in a robot car and had tell it to drive to a statium, the car didn't fail to make an ethical choice. I doubt the car would even be aware of the bomb, or what a bomb is, or why its bad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @12:32PM (#47696079)

    2) Most likely ALL cars will be told to be mostly selfish, on the principle that they can not predict what someone else will do, and in an attempt to save an innocent pedestrian might in fact end up killing them. The article has the gall to believe the cars will have FAR greater predictive power than they will most likely have.

    This is a thing that is starting to irritate me. This is a piece from the director of the "Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group"
    Recently we have seen writeups about the ethics of automate from psychologists and philosophers that are completely clueless to what laws are already in place and what best practices are when it comes to automation.
    They go in with the assumption that a machine is conscious and will make conscious decisions, ignoring that it it impossible to get anything remotely resembling an AI through the certification process needed for safety critical machinery.

  • Re:Insurance rates (Score:5, Informative)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Monday August 18, 2014 @01:21PM (#47696567) Journal
    There in principle cannot be a car insurance market if cars don't crash anymore.

    In the past 15 years, I have invoked my car insurance three times, and haven't had a single accident in that time.

    Insurance covers more than just liability - It covers a small rock falling from a dump-truck and breaking your windshield; it covers your car getting stolen; some policies even act as a sort of extended warranty, covering repair or replacement costs in the event of a breakdown.

    And, even with a hypothetically "perfect" driver, some accidents will still happen - Front tire blowout at 75MPH in dense traffic, deer running from the woods into the road 10ft in front of you, construction debris falling from an overpass, etc. Driverless cars will probably handle these events better than live humans do, but such events will still happen.

    All of that said, I would love for you to have it 100% correct, because I fucking loathe insurance companies, and deeply resent the government forcing me to pay them in order to drive. I just don't realistically see it happening.
  • by d34thm0nk3y ( 653414 ) on Monday August 18, 2014 @05:30PM (#47698551)
    I, for one, cannot wait for the day when I can set my car's logic system to different ethical settings, sorted by philosopher.

    I just tried the Plato setting and now I'm stuck in a cave. Thanks Joe!

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault