Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Self-driving cars are bogus. Why do we want to be Wall-E so bad? Marisa Fraley Final Blog post.

Imagine a world where every vehicle that you placed yourself in was self-driving.

In the growing trend of our world, these cars would get progressively faster in speed and gain more intelligence about habits and how to move humans more safely around the globe.

This growing intelligence would be the work of a computer program that not only drives the car, but remembers where you usually go and when you typically go there. It also can watch other cars to make split second decisions on how to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Let’s imagine a bus full of children and a woman with her child in the backseat traveling in opposite directions across a bridge. The bus blows a tire and heads straight for the woman in the opposing lane.

This leaves two options for the self-driving bus. It can either pull into the lane with the mother and child, potentially killing both in the car, or it can go the other direction and spare the mother and child but drive off the bridge. Which of these would be the better option? Technology can’t make ethical decisions like this, and we should not give up our freedom to a programmer that’s installed this program into a car as they cannot involve independent factors such as who is driving rather than how many are.

Even if there were the option of taking the wheel for yourself, the car would make the decision before you could even react. This would completely obliterate any free will that we could possibly exercise while driving, and if we’re willing to give up our free will in the driving aspect, then what else are we willing to give up?

Why are we about to give up our own free will to programmers who install the software that allows for self-driving vehicles just to make society a “safer” place? Who decides how to define “safer”?
These are the questions that must be answered before we can allow anyone to take our free will and mass produce a programmed car that practically decides how to live our driving lives. We are a society of people who constantly drive. Why are we about to give that up?

1 comment:

  1. There's a great short story about this mindset, by E.M. Forster: "The Machine Stops." A cautionary tale for our times, written decades ago.

    On the other hand, I want a self-driving car. I also want to keep a hand on the wheel.