Monday 18 April 2016

Self-driving cars - information ethics again

From IEE Spectrum
Self-Driving Cars Will Be Ready Before Our Laws Are

It is the year 2023, and for the first time, a self-driving car navigating city streets strikes and kills a pedestrian. A lawsuit is sure to follow. But exactly what laws will apply? Nobody knows. [...]

The solution to the lawsuit problem is actually pretty simple. To level the playing field between human drivers and computer drivers, we should simply treat them equally. Instead of applying design-defect laws to computer drivers, use ordinary negligence laws. That is, a computer driver should be held liable only if a human driver who took the same actions in the same circumstances would be held liable. The circumstances include the position and velocity of the vehicles, weather conditions, and so on. The “mind” of the computer driver need not be examined any more than a human’s mind should be. The robo-driver’s private “thoughts” (in the form of computer code) need not be parsed. Only its conduct need be considered. [...]

For example, a computer driver that runs a red light and causes an accident would be found liable. Damages imposed on the carmaker (which is responsible for the computer driver’s actions) would be equal to the damages that would be imposed on a human driver.
My emphasis at the end there.

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