[ExI] Self-driving cars to make moral and ethical decisions like humans

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Fri Jul 14 19:37:23 UTC 2017

By Jonathan Wilson     Published Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A new study has demonstrated that human ethical decisions can be
implemented into machines using morality modelling. This has strong
implications for how autonomous vehicles could effectively manage the
moral dilemmas they will face on the road.

The results were conceptualised by statistical models leading to
rules, with an associated degree of explanatory power to explain the
observed behavior. The research showed that moral decisions in the
scope of unavoidable traffic collisions can be explained well, and
modelled, by a single value-of-life for every human, animal or
inanimate object.

Leon Sütfeld, the first author of the study, says that until now it
has been assumed that moral decisions are strongly context dependent
and therefore cannot be modelled or described algorithmically.

“We found quite the opposite”, he said. “Human behavior in dilemma
situations can be modelled by a rather simple value-of-life-based
model that is attributed by the participant to every human, animal, or
inanimate object.”

This implies that human moral behavior can be well described by
algorithms that could be used by machines as well.

Prof. Gordon Pipa, a senior author of the study, says that since it
now seems to be possible that machines can be programmed to make
human-like moral decisions, it is crucial that society engages in an
urgent and serious debate.

“We need to ask whether autonomous systems should adopt moral
judgements,” he said. “If yes, should they imitate moral behavior by
imitating human decisions, should they behave along ethical theories
and if so, which ones and critically, if things go wrong who or what
is at fault?”


My worry is that everyone has different ethical systems.

I'm not sure that I would buy a 'Jesus-freak' car that says "I'm very
sorry Bill, but my ethics module says that in this situation saving
your life is not the most efficient solution".


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