21st Century Wire says…
Are we moving into a world where A.I. will decide your fate?
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In a world of rapidly exploding technological advancements, artificial intelligence is still facing the exact same philosophical problems mankind has been struggling with for thousands of years.
Self-driving cars may be programmed to kill you in certain situations, due to the classical philosophical trolley problem:
‘There is a runaway trolley barrelling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: 1. Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track or 2. Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the correct choice?’
Do you trust the A.I. brain? (Photo Credit: Michael Royon)
Although supposedly safer than human-controlled cars, there will inevitably be times where accidents are unavoidable. So, The Independent reports that ‘it is conceivable that whoever programmes [self-driving cars] will decide that ploughing you into a road barrier is better than continuing your course into a bus packed with school children.’
Expert Ameen Barghi says ‘utilitarianism tells us that we should always do what will produce the greatest happiness’, no matter the method of reaching ‘the greatest happiness’. However, deontology says ‘some values are simply categorically always true. For example, murder is always wrong.’
The Mercedes F 015 Self-Driving Car (Photo Credit: Mercedes)
With technology developing at a much faster pace than solutions to such philosophical and ethical problems, how much further should we really be pushing ahead with A.I. systems?
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Self-driving cars may have to be programmed to kill you
The self-driving cars that could soon dominate our roads, perhaps even making human-driven ones illegal some day, could end up being programmed to kill you if it means saving a larger number of lives.
READ MORE ON THE COMING A.I. THREAT: 21st Century Wire A.I. Files