View full lesson: 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.
Self-driving cars are already cruising the streets. Fully autonomous vehicles have the potential to benefit our world by increasing traffic efficiency, reducing pollution, and beyond all eliminating up to 90% of traffic accidents. Not all crashes will be avoided, though, and some crashes will require AVs to make difficult ethical decisions in cases that involve unavoidable harm. For example, the AV may avoid harming several pedestrians by swerving and sacrificing a passerby, or the AV may be faced with the choice of sacrificing its own passenger to save one or more pedestrians. What would you do in a situation like that? How can a person decide between two really bad options? We will explore this disturbing ethical dilemma through Bentham and Kant’s philosophies and we will seek some insights on our true inner ethics by examining some of the scientific research on the topic. In this video: 1. The Trolley problem 0:00 2. Autonomous vehicles – potential benefits and problems 0:53 3. Iyad Rahwan’s research: Bentham and Kant’s philosophies 2:27 4. Immersive virtual reality study 3:56 5. Problems with the “value of life” approach 4:54 6. The big questions ahead us 5:39 Interested in futuristically oriented content? Check our previous video exploring the question of whether we should expect mind blowing changes in the near future ( If you want to see more from us SUBSCRIBE to our channel: and find us on: FACEBOOK: TWITTER: Research and script: Irina Georgieva Art, editing and narration: Daniel Stamenov [More]
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The inspiration for Kelly McGillis’ character in Top Gun, Christine Fox is the Assistant Director for Policy and Analysis of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Prior to joining APL, she served as Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense from December 2013 to May 2014, making her the highest-ranking female official in history to serve in the Department of Defense. Ms. Fox is a three-time recipient of the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal. She has also been awarded the Department of the Army’s Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service. Ms. Fox currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Board on Mathematical Sciences and their Applications (BMSA) at the National Research Council, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. With nearly 6,000 staff at what is the nation’s largest University Affiliated Research Center, Johns Hopkins APL makes critical contributions to a wide variety of national and global technical and scientific challenges. As the Director of Policy and Analysis, Ms. Fox leads efforts to increase APL’s engagement on technical policy issues and directs research and analysis projects on behalf of the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and other federal agencies. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at