https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/ca ... 891493001/Consider this hypothetical:
It’s a bright, sunny day and you’re alone in your spanking new self-driving vehicle, sprinting along the two-lane Tunnel of Trees on M-119 high above Lake Michigan north of Harbor Springs. You’re sitting back, enjoying the view. You’re looking out through the trees, trying to get a glimpse of the crystal blue water below you, moving along at the 45-mile-an-hour speed limit.
As you approach a rise in the road, heading south, a school bus appears, driving north, one driven by a human, and it veers sharply toward you. There is no time to stop safely, and no time for you to take control of the car.
Does the car:
A. Swerve sharply into the trees, possibly killing you but possibly saving the bus and its occupants?
B. Perform a sharp evasive maneuver around the bus and into the oncoming lane, possibly saving you, but sending the bus and its driver swerving into the trees, killing her and some of the children on board?
C. Hit the bus, possibly killing you as well as the driver and kids on the bus?
In everyday driving, such no-win choices are may be exceedingly rare but, when they happen, what should a self-driving car — programmed in advance — do? Or in any situation — even a less dire one — where a moral snap judgment must be made?
Unlike the Trolley Problem, which would never really occur, these situations happen hundreds of times a day across the world's highways.
And in the real world, meat bags don't have time to think, not that they really would think well if they could because they're straight-arm gripping the steering wheel and standing on the brakes. But self-driving AI's generally do have time to think and can consider all outcomes (within its programmed skill). And they never panic (though I suppose panic could be programmed in).
Last month, Sebastian Thrun, who founded Google’s self-driving car initiative, told Bloomberg that the cars will be designed to avoid accidents, but that “If it happens where there is a situation where a car couldn’t escape, it’ll go for the smaller thing.”
And what if the smaller thing is a child?
The article talks about many avenues to find the right solutions. Some even legislative. What is [probably] clear: accidents will drop by an order of magnitude once self-driving cars hit the road.