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http://moralmachine.mit.edu

The visitors to this page are greeted with an interesting welcome message: “The Moral Machine is a platform for gathering a human perspective on moral decisions made by machine intelligence, such as self-driving cars. We generate moral dilemmas, where a driverless car must choose the lesser of two evils, such as killing two passengers or five pedestrians. As an outside observer, people judge which outcome they think is more acceptable.” This is a fascinating exercise and I highly recommend taking the few minutes to participate. Be sure to read the descriptions of each scenario before “judging.” Upon completion, the site then provides each participant with feedback on their ranking regarding moral decisions.
 

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I prefer that the vehicle sacrifices the people in the car, even more so over pets than people according to this. Following traffic laws had little influence.
 

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So what happens when the car sacrifices the passengers because it saw an advertisement with pictures of people in it, instead of real pedestrians?

I don't think AV programmers are writing any morality into their code. The cars follow traffic laws. If a pedestrian dives in front of a moving vehicle, he will get hit, just like with a human driver. If the pedestrian is in a crosswalk and can be detected in time, the car will stop. There's no real moral dilemma here. Nobody is going to program a car to drive off a cliff under the right circumstances. The potential liability would be too high.
 

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I prefer that safety technology be used for primary safety of the occupants, and secondary safety to the other vehicles, be they car, bicycles, pedestrians. Each class of vehicle should be of this design. Pedestrians should protect themselves first, and other pedestrians and vehicles second.
 

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Sacrificing innocent pedestrians (or whomever) for your own sake is reprehensible and even more so when you abdicate any control over who your machine kills.
 

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Sacrificing innocent pedestrians (or whomever) for your own sake is reprehensible and even more so when you abdicate any control over who your machine kills.
There are innocent people in an AV. They did not cut the brakes, they did not design the car. Biologically, they share DNA with pedestrians.

Pedestrian deaths have been rising since 2006. Few car drivers are held criminally responsible unless they were intoxicated, speeding, or failed to yield right of way.

So we have already developed a set of laws that allows killing them with cars.

It's like when you ride a bicycle or motorcycle. You need to have a healthy fear of cars and never assume they can see you, or would hit the brakes even if they did see you.

Going to the extreme, if a train sees a pedestrian on the tracks, should it derail?
 

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Pedestrians had a very bad day with me as King.
I recall my experience with psychology experiments in college, where the premise is always a lie and they are really testing something else.
 

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Maximum Sentence for Vehicular Manslaughter (no DUI)

This offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, at the prosecutor’s discretion. They will choose the charge based on how reckless or negligent you were being, your previous criminal history, and how strong their case against you is.

The maximum sentence for each one is:

Misdemeanor version: Up to 1 year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000
Felony version: Up to 6 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000
What is the maximum sentence for vehicular manslaughter in California?
 

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Allows killing? That's kind of a simplistic statement. It makes accommodations for unavoidable situations.
No, it's true. I didn't say murder. It is legal to kill a pedestrian with your car if you were not breaking the law when you did it.

It happens to motorcycles and bicycles also. No criminal charge for killing.

This is not true in all countries. In some, you are held responsible for your decisions while driving even if you are driving legally, that is sober, within the speed limit, and have the right of way. You are expected to do everything possible to avoid a crash. "I did not see them" is seldom an acceptable excuse. What we call 'accidents' they call 'failure to control a car leading to injury or death', and you can go to prison.
 

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Here's just one of many that made the papers. It was a high profile case. The driver did not allow enough following distance due to the trailer behind his SUV, could not stop in time, and killed a woman. 100% bad driving technique with a trailer on that particular road:

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-charges-declined-caitlyn-jenner-20150930-story.html

A woman hit a man walking on the shoulder of the road in Lake Elsinore, and barely made the paper. No street lights, she did not see them. She was driving faster than her headlights and brakes would allow, but not speeding per signage.

In front of my house, a man hit a parked car. A woman was between the car and a van and it cut off her legs. I applied tourniquets and blankets. She lived. No charges. Dark rural road with a speed limit of 55 mph, he hit his brakes and drifted into her.

All three of those and many more, do not generate criminal charges. Sometimes there is a traffic citation which assists civil proceedings, but nothing criminal.

There are some in your area. Do a search in local papers about pedestrian, bicycle, or motorcycle deaths. Then follow the story with searches.
 

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I see a couple if scenarios here. One is the obvious AV kills a pedestrian or a kid running out for a loose ball. But how about......

There are innocent people in an AV.
The AV kills only the passengers of the vehicle unrelated to any traffic incident?

We'll have to wait and see how these play out in court.

I think AVs will be big for the handicapped and the elderly, etcetera. But I'm a bit skeptical when it comes to liability. Unleashing potentially millions of 2-ton missiles on the streets may not pan out the way the idealist sees it from today's perspectives.

And let's not ignore the possibilities where cybersecurity risks are involved. There's a lot of stink about car hacking floating around. My wife just pulled a WSJ article on it for me to read.
 

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I think we can agree blowing stoplights is not actually legal, even in SF. Yes, if a vehicle runs multiple lights and kills, it is criminal even in California. Since he was not sentenced to any jail time, he will most likely get the felony expunged if he has good behavior through his probation. We simply do not treat traffic deaths as a serious matter in most cases. If he was dropping bowling balls from a bridge, the sentence probably would be harsher.
 

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Here's just one of many that made the papers. It was a high profile case. The driver did not allow enough following distance due to the trailer behind his SUV, could not stop in time, and killed a woman. 100% bad driving technique with a trailer on that particular road:

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-charges-declined-caitlyn-jenner-20150930-story.html

A woman hit a man walking on the shoulder of the road in Lake Elsinore, and barely made the paper. No street lights, she did not see them. She was driving faster than her headlights and brakes would allow, but not speeding per signage.

In front of my house, a man hit a parked car. A woman was between the car and a van and it cut off her legs. I applied tourniquets and blankets. She lived. No charges. Dark rural road with a speed limit of 55 mph, he hit his brakes and drifted into her.

All three of those and many more, do not generate criminal charges. Sometimes there is a traffic citation which assists civil proceedings, but nothing criminal.

There are some in your area. Do a search in local papers about pedestrian, bicycle, or motorcycle deaths. Then follow the story with searches.
As someone who rides a bike, it pains me to see how little punishment there is for killing pedestrians and cyclists, etc.
 

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I'm a Utilitarian, but I avoid what people assume to be the Utilitarian approach to this.
People say that the Utilitarian approach is to weigh value of the things you'd hit.
But I say that the Utilitarian approach is to stop wasting so much time pontificating about extreme edge cases and do something more useful.

(1) Don't crash into things.
(2) If you have to crash hit your brakes and hope you slow down enough that nobody gets badly hurt.
(3) If you don't have brakes, try not to hit anything while physics is busy stopping the car.

Simple rules help other vehicles, and, more importantly, the fuzzy meatbags who have more need to get out of your car's way than you have to get out of theirs.
 
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