Do self driving cars weigh more than ethical dilemmas?

Do Self Driving Cars weigh more than ethical dilemmas?

mediumThis post was originally published by Oshin Saini at Medium [AI]

“35”-yes 35 That’s the number of people that are going to die worldwide in an automobile accident just now while you’re reading this article. It’s an interesting bizarre concept because if you do the Math and if statistics hold up fine, five people are going to die in India till the time you finish reading this article. It seems crazy yet it’s a unique part of our humanity because if you look at the Top 10 causes of death, they are all diseases but if you roll down to number 3, it is an automobile accident. So here is the strange thing that out of all the ways to die there is only one thing that’s been created for ourselves just in the last hundred years to comfort ourselves and yet we go out again and do this every day for some reason.

A study was done for the same to find out the defective component and it turns out it was a Driver’s Fault (99% times). When they drove deep to find out what’s the biggest cause for the driver’s fault, they found out it was the Human Error. So the only way we are really gonna abolish such huge statistics and make progress is to figure out a way to reduce Human Errors.

The closest and the best overlapping solution is to have machines control it because given the fact, machines work on algorithms, facts, data, figures, laws, and mathematics and we are certainly trying to limit any space for errors. But the only drawback that comes along with it is that the Machines work on algorithms, facts, figures, data, laws, and mathematics and cannot really deal with ethical and social dilemmas. Yes, you read that right! The strongest power has now started to behave like the biggest weakness.

So now if you imagine a world of self-driving cars, we have actually saved 33 to 34 people out of those previous 35 deaths which were definitely gonna happen earlier. So self-driving cars do give you 95% efficiency with only 5% of the dilemma. A dilemma that continues to exist whether you choose self-driving cars or not (due to ethical dilemmas caused by human-driven cars). So instead of frowning upon the negative 5% we gotta take the full advantage of 95% and try to modify that 5% to our benefit.

source: National Association of city transportation officials

The modification includes teaching and optimizing the program to learn to minimize the total harm. We can escape this dilemma by actually setting up data, facts, figures, and Statistics which could briefly categorize the risks, the probability, the chances, the preferences, and much more. The proposed rules could include that self-driving cars should always attempt to minimize human death and shouldn’t discriminate between individuals based on age, gender, or any other factor. Human lives should also always be given priority over animals or property. This makes self-driven cars safer and machines are able to make quick, split-second moral choices. We recognize that human-driven cars are going to work out for self-preservation instincts in the heat of the moment while machines, on the other hand, are viewed as more coldly because they don’t have those human frailties. So perhaps the accident is warranted as machines are programmed in advance by people not immediately in the situation and make the best decision possible.

Now when we talked about minimizing the total harm, we do keep in mind the value of our own life. We weigh more towards our safety while we chose between the others. Because if the product is not protecting you, then people won’t be interested in buying that product. So these kinds of categories of the dilemma are weighed back and forth to mitigate such problems.

Also, when we talk about the ethical dilemma, studies have shown that only 1% of those situations come to life. So the chance of actually blaming a self-driven car will now become 1% of 5% [0.0005] and this is a pretty small figure to decide upon the flaws of the system. If you must have read the poem the road not taken, its a beautiful poem where the poet is trapped into a dilemma of choosing between the two roads, one which separates him from the crowd but may have a lot of hindrances. The other one traveled a lot(safer) but pushes deeper into the crowd. So the point is an ethical dilemma is a part of our life and is seen everywhere in nature. We can’t really have the graph going from negative to a positive side but can try to push it towards zero and using self-driven cars is one step forward.

So if we can’t completely wipe off the ethical dilemma at least we can try to minimize it. We can have a detailed survey about what people think and how they react when they were put into similar situations because getting these surveys gets us the moral or ethical compass of that country. The compass decides to keep in mind the probability, risk, predictions, and a couple of other factors to weigh in the correct decision.

the moral-ethical compass

When we are talking about the dilemma we often include trade-offs and these tradeoffs often require ethics thus making it a cycle. We are a major part of this cycle. Thus we need to find out what the society wants as ultimately regulations and laws are a reflection of societal values. And this process is by the society and for the society.

Self-driving cars will also introduce new forms of human control. Not having to own a vehicle and hiring one only when it’s needed will itself be a major new form — one that will likely give many people more control over their monthly finances.

Lastly, having a debate over self-driven cars and ethics can go on and on but one thing is for sure that this entire process is a change, a revolution, and

The best is yet to come…

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This post was originally published by Oshin Saini at Medium [AI]

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