For Driverless Cars, a Moral Dilemma: Who Lives or Dies?

For Driverless Cars, a Moral Dilemma: Who Lives or Dies?

Published By: Associated Press, 1/18/2017

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Researchers at MIT are conducting a worldwide survey to determine how consumers think a self-driving car should handle morally complex situations. Their findings will tell designers how drivers will generally expect their self-driving vehicles to react, and what might need to be added so that potential buyers can better trust the new technology.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of Article: 10.9

Extended Discussion Questions

  • Consider the dilemma of the large elderly group vs. the mother and stroller, presented at the beginning of the article. How would you expect a self-driving vehicle to react?
  • What would it mean for a computer to be able to “solve” this kind of dilemma?
    • How would you decide whether it had solved each dilemma correctly?
  • What would a car’s computer need to be able to do to satisfy you that it had an ethical capacity? What do you think most people would want it to be able to do?

Background Reading

“Trolley Problem”
Published By: Wikipedia  || View the Article
Provides an explanation of the Trolley Problem, a theoretical moral dilemma mentioned in the article.

Relating This Story to the CSP Curriculum Framework

Global Impact Learning Objectives:

  • LO 7.3.1 Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.
  • LO 7.2.1 Explain how computing has impacted innovations in other fields.

Global Impact Essential Knowledge:

  • EK 7.3.1A Innovations enabled by computing raise legal and ethical concerns.

Other CSP Big Ideas:

  • Idea 4 Algorithms

Banner Image: “Network Visualization – Violet – Offset Crop”, derivative work by ICSI. New license: CC BY-SA 4.0. Based on “Social Network Analysis Visualization” by Martin Grandjean. Original license: CC BY-SA 3.0

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