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Mercedes answers autonomous car moral dilemma: Yeah, we'll just run over pedestrians

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

I can't quite follow how the tone of the article derived from the quotes. Oh well, never mind.

As we all know, the reference to philosophers is the 'Trolley Problem' ( https://xkcd.com/1455/ ), which like any good thought experiment deliberately simplifies a scenario in order to show how complex shit can get, even from a simple premise. Unlike a road, the Trolley Problem is on rails, so the 'steering' choice is binary.

- What if the tree is rotten and wouldn't inure the car's occupant?

- What if you have the choice of running over three people on one track, or two on another? What if you knew that the three people were nasty pieces of work who only caused good people misery?

- What if one person on the tracks was Adolf Hitler? (Bear in mind that Allied plans to assassinate him were shelved once it was decided that he was bonkers and that allowing him to be replaced by someone competent would only extend the war and thus its death toll) (Can we expect a VW Beetle to exhibit Oedipedal tendencies?)

- Is walking along railway lines at night a survival trait? ( This knocks us onto the whole issue of eugenics... current popular opinion is that eugenics is bad m'kay, but the Darwin Awards are good - possibly because reading the Darwin Awards doesn't affect the outcome of the special creatures described within. More seriously, what is or isn't a survival trait can't be determined locally - paddling too far from your native island might be risky and frowned upon, but if you then settle upon another island when your former community get wiped out by a volcano, it's your genes that'll continue).

My pragmatic approach to driverless cars is this: If they are demonstrably safer than us meatbags, lets go for it. As a bonus, I can be 'drunk, tired or high on drugs' - as a recent poll of Australians has identified as being key selling points.

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