The ethical dilemma of self-driving cars – Patrick Lin

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Self-driving cars are already cruising the streets today. And while these cars will ultimately be safer and cleaner than their manual counterparts, they can’t completely avoid accidents altogether. How should the car be programmed if it encounters an unavoidable accident? Patrick Lin navigates the murky ethics of self-driving cars.

Lesson by Patrick Lin, animation by Yukai Du.


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20 Replies to “The ethical dilemma of self-driving cars – Patrick Lin”

  1. I a world of self driving cars 1 why are there motorcycles 2 trucks should probably be more secure than that 3 self driving cars can talk to each other just prevent self drivign cars from being boxed in

  2. The video is missing the point, the data (NHTSA) show that the human variable is the most dangerous element in the driving equation. There is a forth ethical dilemma that is: should we restrict a technology that can save tens of thousands of lives because our current philosophy of ethics discriminates between "deliberate and reactionary actions and consequences?"

    IMO no

  3. The car should always prioritize the passengers. We can all agree no one wants to go in a car that will make you die before everyone else, even if it's incredibely egoistic.
    So, motorcycle or SUV? The SUV, because it might have more passengers, but it has higher safety levels. If you hit the motorcycle, the biker would have nearly no chances of surviving.

  4. One thing to consider is that self driving cars almost entirely eliminate human reaction time. This means the car can make decisions significantly faster than humans and dramatically reduce the chance of a collision taking place. Granted there will be some scenarios where a collision may be unavoidable, but in practice given collision rates of self-driving cars vs human-driven cars, especially when you consider evolution of self-driving cars working together on the same road sharing information with each other in order to even further reduce risk, I don't think this will be a problem.

  5. Why go through all that when you can program the car from the very beginning.. Make sure the car doesn’t drive to close, that it reacts quickly to accidents or falling objects like with the truck and that it sends alert messages to other vehicles to slow down and so on to stop / take distance, no need to hit or crash to whatever..

  6. Everyone should sue the autonomous vehicle provider for not programming in the keeping of a safety distance from the front trailer so that a safe braking can be executed. The rest of the suppositions are just a waste of time. One should not determine the capabilities of networked autonomous vehicles that can move in tandom with the limited perspective and reaction time of a single individual human.

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