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View Full Version : I've just solved the ethical debate over autonomous cars



Sad, little man
June 25th, 2015, 09:29 AM
You know how everyone says "What are we going to do about the ethics of letting a car drive for us when it gets into a situation where it has to decide between two bad outcomes?" I just figured out a solution.

We'll have two large buttons on the dash, and they will each have displays next to them. Say your car gets into a situation where its only options are to plow into a tree or bowl over a small child in the street... At that instant, the buttons will light up bright red, and one will display an image of the child while the other will display an image of the tree. You will be able to push one, and the car will run into whatever you push. If you don't push fast enough, I guess the outcome would be randomized or something.

There, ethical dilemma solved, the control is back in the hands of the driver.

Kchrpm
June 25th, 2015, 09:55 AM
If there's enough time for the driver to see the button, assess the situation, and hit the button, there's probably enough time for the car to stop.

MR2 Fan
June 25th, 2015, 10:09 AM
I didn't know hitting a tree was unethical :p

Edit: I prefer the difference between, say, hitting a pedestrian and a school bus full of children.

The next question, if we are driving that fast in a regular car, are we able to make any conclusion in that fast of a scenario anyway?

Sad, little man
June 25th, 2015, 10:15 AM
Keith, maybe we could do something with a heads up display to quicken response times.

Again, if the driver isn't fast enough, let's randomize the outcome then. It's no different from today if you aren't fast enough to react to a situation while driving. The important part here is putting some control in the driver's hands, even if it's fleeting.

MR2, it is unethical for a car to autonomously choose to hit a tree without driver involvement, thus risking harm to the occupants.

MR2 Fan
June 25th, 2015, 10:26 AM
Keith, maybe we could do something with a heads up display to quicken response times.

Again, if the driver isn't fast enough, let's randomize the outcome then. It's no different from today if you aren't fast enough to react to a situation while driving. The important part here is putting some control in the driver's hands, even if it's fleeting.

MR2, it is unethical for a car to autonomously choose to hit a tree without driver involvement, thus risking harm to the occupants.

Well, there's a LOOOOOT of variables here. I would really love to get into the inner workings of what Google has implemented into their cars.

I mean, how does the car know that the object its seeing is a small child, compared to a fire hydrant, or a garden gnome, whatever.

Can it judge the approximate weight of the object in the way, if it's bolted down or not, etc. the way a human can?

Edit: I know I'm not asking the same questions you are, but this is just on my mind.

Sad, little man
June 25th, 2015, 10:40 AM
I would imagine any car capable of fully driving itself could differentiate between inanimate and moving objects, and assume that the latter are probably living things, combined with cameras that are designed to actually recognize when something looks like something it has been programmed to recognize as a living thing.

Kchrpm
June 25th, 2015, 10:48 AM
These may provide the info you're looking for, MR2


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXylqtEQ0tk


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDOnn0-4Nq8

thesameguy
June 25th, 2015, 12:44 PM
The answer is a disintegration. If the car can't make a good decision, it disintegrates. Easy.

overpowered
June 26th, 2015, 12:33 AM
If there's enough time for the driver to see the button, assess the situation, and hit the button, there's probably enough time for the car to stop.
This. Seriously.

I am always amazed at the people grasping at the impossible scenario when in fact, a good driver doesn't really get into the impossible scenario in the first place.

Crazed_Insanity
June 26th, 2015, 08:19 AM
I think SLM's idea makes sense, but rather than asking occupant right before a crash, perhaps this is a question that occupants can answer in advance... in an unlikely event of a crash would you rather end up in a crash that minimize casualties (that can save more lives) or would you want the system to protect the occupants at all cost? (meaning you'll likely run over dogs/cats/pedestrians in unavoidable crashes)

thesameguy
June 26th, 2015, 11:32 AM
Maybe everyone should carry a device that lets them bid on the value of their own life. If the car occupant has outbid the pedestrian, well, get a better job next time.

21Kid
June 26th, 2015, 01:36 PM
Sounds like someone has been watching i-Robot lately... :popcorn:

thesameguy
June 26th, 2015, 03:43 PM
I've actually never seen that movie... a whole host of sci-fi from that era I missed. I've never seen Minority Report, or Episode III, or that Godzilla remake. I just finally saw Solaris like six months ago.

speedpimp
June 27th, 2015, 05:14 AM
This is what do we do if they become self aware? Hope they have a self-deprecating sense of humor?

speedpimp
June 27th, 2015, 11:33 AM
Or would they blush when they backfire?

21Kid
June 27th, 2015, 07:49 PM
I've actually never seen that movie... a whole host of sci-fi from that era I missed. I've never seen Minority Report, or Episode III, or that Godzilla remake. I just finally saw Solaris like six months ago.

Then I won't spoil it for you. But, it deals a lot with what your topic involves. :)

novicius
December 14th, 2016, 11:55 AM
Uber’s self-driving cars start picking up passengers in San Francisco. (https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/14/ubers-self-driving-cars-start-picking-up-passengers-in-san-francisco/)


The autonomous cars won’t operate completely driverless, for the time being – as in Pittsburgh, where Uber launched self-driving Ford Focus vehicles this fall (https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/14/1386711/), each SUV will have a safety driver and Uber test engineer onboard to handle manual driving when needed and monitor progress with the tests. But the cars will still be picking up ordinary passengers – any customers who request uberX using the standard consumer-facing mobile app are eligible for a ride in one of the new XC90s operated by Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG).
This plus Amazon's maiden voyage of it's drone delivery program (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-14/with-an-airdrop-of-popcorn-amazon-makes-drone-delivery-history) shows the inexorable march of automation to make human labor obsolete.

Fully automated commercial kitchens (i.e. Hardee's/Carl's Jr., McDonald's, etc.) are next.

thesameguy
December 14th, 2016, 12:12 PM
I have a lot of thoughts on this. Too early to tell if any of them are any good.

21Kid
December 14th, 2016, 01:07 PM
Fully automated commercial kitchens (i.e. Hardee's/Carl's Jr., McDonald's, etc.) are next.

I'm surprised they still use people to complete orders.
I'd rather enter my order on a tablet than fill my own soda. :|

MR2 Fan
December 14th, 2016, 01:35 PM
my thoughts on this, automated cars can be made a LOT lighter than all of the massive, safety-laden cars we have now, dramatically increasing their stopping/maneuverability capabilities.

MR2 Fan
December 14th, 2016, 01:40 PM
Fully automated commercial kitchens (i.e. Hardee's/Carl's Jr., McDonald's, etc.) are next.

I'm surprised they still use people to complete orders.
I'd rather enter my order on a tablet than fill my own soda. :|

There's a McDonald's I stopped at in Lakeland, Florida which was starting to use an automated touch screen inside...but it was so confusing (even for me, and I do this type of stuff for a living) they had an employee helping people learn how to use it.

Kchrpm
December 14th, 2016, 01:43 PM
my thoughts on this, automated cars can be made a LOT lighter than all of the massive, safety-laden cars we have now, dramatically increasing their stopping/maneuverability capabilities.

I am curious what design changes you think will come as a result of autonomous driving that will remove the need for safety-focused design for its occupants.

Crazed_Insanity
December 14th, 2016, 01:48 PM
my thoughts on this, automated cars can be made a LOT lighter than all of the massive, safety-laden cars we have now, dramatically increasing their stopping/maneuverability capabilities.

Unmanned fighter jets yes, but how can driverless uber do away with passenger safety? Even if that can be done, you actually would enjoy such a roller coasting uber ride that accelerates, turns and stops at ludicrous levels? ;)

Super market self check outs are on their way out. New tech has to not only reduce labor but also make things more convenient in order to work.

If uber type self driving cars can really be made to work conveniently and safely, I can see our family not purchasing another car in the future. I'd only keep my S2000.

Godson
December 14th, 2016, 01:52 PM
And yet trump wants to piss and moan about SNL and how jobs are going to stay in the US. When in reality, they will just be eliminated entirely.

Sad, little man
December 14th, 2016, 01:55 PM
my thoughts on this, automated cars can be made a LOT lighter than all of the massive, safety-laden cars we have now, dramatically increasing their stopping/maneuverability capabilities.

I don't really foresee the safety features going away. No one will want to remove those. Even if the car is theoretically infallible, always got to plan for the worst case failures.

Planes mostly fly themselves, and yet, the seat cushions still float.

Kchrpm
December 14th, 2016, 02:17 PM
Super market self check outs are on their way out. New tech has to not only reduce labor but also make things more convenient in order to work.
They are? I haven't seen any evidence of that out here. They're quite good, but of course I'm buying random stuff for one person, not a whole family.

MR2 Fan
December 14th, 2016, 02:19 PM
I don't really foresee the safety features going away. No one will want to remove those. Even if the car is theoretically infallible, always got to plan for the worst case failures.

Planes mostly fly themselves, and yet, the seat cushions still float.

I'm not saying we'd do away with all safety features, but there's really no reason for most cars to weigh 3,000 to 4,000 pounds or more.

Two 1,500 pound cars in a collision would do FAR less damage than two 4,000 pound cars in a collision, all things being equal, if you get what I mean.

Yes, a lot of car's weight is the engine and materials and luxury features people want. I'm saying that you can have a quality car with new technology and not weigh that much when it doesn't need to.

Kchrpm
December 14th, 2016, 02:35 PM
I still don't understand why autonomous driving allows for fewer safety features.

Kchrpm
December 14th, 2016, 02:43 PM
And how are you going to get an autonomous SUV or minivan under 2000 lbs? Airbags aren't *that* heavy, or do you think we'll just be able to get rid of the rigid structures in their design and let them be relatively flimsy vehicles?

MR2 Fan
December 14th, 2016, 02:48 PM
And how are you going to get an autonomous SUV or minivan under 2000 lbs? Airbags aren't *that* heavy, or do you think we'll just be able to get rid of the rigid structures in their design and let them be relatively flimsy vehicles?

You're thinking old-school in design. New design practices save LOTS of weight and complexity, especially when it involves 3D printing. You can take what would take hundreds of separate parts and print them in just a few parts that are much stronger.

Local Motors is building 3D printed cars that weigh half of their regular counterparts and also introducing autonomous components, as well as planning to have higher than required crash safety standards.

Kchrpm
December 14th, 2016, 02:51 PM
You're thinking old-school in design. New design practices save LOTS of weight and complexity, especially when it involves 3D printing. You can take what would take hundreds of separate parts and print them in just a few parts that are much stronger.

Ok, but what does that have to do with autonomous cars specifically? If vehicle design itself is changing, why does the vehicle being autonomous have anything to do with that? Can't you get those same weight savings with a human-driven car?

MR2 Fan
December 14th, 2016, 02:57 PM
Ok, but what does that have to do with autonomous cars specifically? If vehicle design itself is changing, why does the vehicle being autonomous have anything to do with that? Can't you get those same weight savings with a human-driven car?

Because autonomous cars should have a MUCH lower accident rate, and therefore less safety components necessary. I didn't think the equation was that difficult to come up with.

Edit: Safety components aren't just seat belts and airbags...there's lots of things associated with safety...crumple zones, side impact beams, all of the electronics and sensors, etc.

Kchrpm
December 14th, 2016, 03:04 PM
By the time autonomous cars are so ubiquitous that we can stop worrying about accidents, the vehicle design advancements you spoke of should make the weight savings from those things minor. I just don't see them taking over the roadways at a significant enough pace for "ok, now we can stop worrying about making cars safe in an accident" to be a realistic statement for a very long time.

And how exactly is an autonomous car going to save weight on electronics and sensors?!

Edit: Movie idea: the reverse of Red Barchetta. New autonomous cars are allowed to be built flimsy, but older, human driven cars are required to be built like tanks. DESTRUCTIVE INSANITY ENSUES! The Fast and the Autonomous!

Sad, little man
December 14th, 2016, 03:26 PM
Two 1,500 pound cars in a collision would do FAR less damage than two 4,000 pound cars in a collision, all things being equal, if you get what I mean.

Have fun in your 1,500lb autonomous car when it gets in a tangle with the 30,000lb semi that will still be lumbering along, albeit autonomously.

thesameguy
December 14th, 2016, 03:52 PM
I would wager that autonomous cars will get even bigger and heavier. If you aren't encumbered with driving, the obvious thing to do is put a living room on the road. Couch, TV, snack bar, scantily clad cocktail waitress. Personal luxury vehicle takes on a whole new meaning when you take driving out of the equation. In the future when cars drive themselves, everyone has a limo.

speedpimp
December 14th, 2016, 05:19 PM
Grump Old Man

KEEP YOUR FUCKING ROBOTS OUT OF MY CAR AND MY WORK TRUCK!

/Grumpy Old Man

neanderthal
December 14th, 2016, 06:12 PM
Super market self check outs are on their way out. New tech has to not only reduce labor but also make things more convenient in order to work.



I avoid those religiously, even shopping for only one person at 1am.
I also use my atm card infrequently to get cash. I go to the bank and withdraw with a teller.
I never use self service machines if I can deal with a person there.

To me, those devices rob someone of a job. It may be menial, but some little girl or little boy might depend on moms income from her supermarket job. Or fast food job. Or bank job. I can wait ten minutes.

Yw-slayer
December 14th, 2016, 07:33 PM
Plus, self check-out machines are rubbish.

thesameguy
December 14th, 2016, 08:26 PM
My experience is that most cashiers are rubbish. :shrug:

We live in a very confusing time.

Drachen596
December 14th, 2016, 10:39 PM
i do alot of shopping at 3 and 4 in the morning since thats my 'night' since 3am is when i get off work. the only registers open are self check out. i don't mind them but i wish the voice prompts were entirely optional. Speaking of grocery stores, anyone notice Amazon just opened one with NO registers? you scan with cell camera and an app that bills your amazon.com account.


btw... Uber was just ordered to STOP using the self driving cars in San Fran. something to do with permits and regulations for self driving cars. Uber says they don't need a permit since a drivers in the car at all times.

novicius
December 15th, 2016, 03:03 AM
Have fun in your 1,500lb autonomous car when it gets in a tangle with the 30,000lb semi that will still be lumbering along, albeit autonomously.
They won't get in a tangle, that's the point. ;)

I was under the assumption that an autonomous car without safety gear is a delivery car without seats for humans.

Kchrpm
December 15th, 2016, 04:17 AM
Speaking of grocery stores, anyone notice Amazon just opened one with NO registers? you scan with cell camera and an app that bills your amazon.com account.
You don't scan with cell cameras, the store has cameras all around and it can tell when you pick stuff up and put it in your bag or put it back. You use the app to let yourself in, then you just grab what you want and leave.

balki
December 15th, 2016, 05:09 AM
Will these autonomous cars come with Sub 1.0L turbos making well under the 200-300hp that most sedans and SUV come with? It will be paired with a less sturdy gearbox, skinnier tires, less overly engineered chassis, ...
That should help out with cutting some of the weight

wait, what are the laws for autonomous cars? it's not like the software is an 18+ year old human (though they may have passed a DMV road test)

novicius
December 15th, 2016, 05:13 AM
They do need special permits to operate.

balki
December 15th, 2016, 06:12 AM
Wonder how this is going to play out over the next decade or so: will tens of thousands of Uber drivers revolt against the machines?

novicius
December 15th, 2016, 06:41 AM
Truckers, package delivery drivers, pizza drivers, bus drivers, etc. It's more than just Uber, it's an entire industry of paid drivers that are going to be obsolete within years. Throw in fast food and even some traditional restaurants and it's millions upon millions jobs lost.

Throw in the automation that's occurring across the board in insurance, human resources, finance and investing, again larger and larger swaths of careers going to be lost in our (your) lifetimes.

Robotics are going to end human labor... but then crime and corruption will also grow... so a lot more shit will "fall off the back of trucks" too? :lol:

Godson
December 15th, 2016, 07:33 AM
Idiocracy and/or Wall-E

novicius
December 15th, 2016, 07:42 AM
At this point I think we're gonna race past Idiocracy and go right to The Running Man. :|

JSGeneral
December 15th, 2016, 07:45 AM
At this point I think we're gonna race past Idiocracy and go right to The Running Man. :|

Climbing For Dollars. :up:

balki
December 15th, 2016, 08:06 AM
Total Recall would be better, because of ... well you know

21Kid
December 15th, 2016, 09:04 AM
They are? I haven't seen any evidence of that out here. They're quite good, but of course I'm buying random stuff for one person, not a whole family.I don't think so... But, Amazon is testing out a store without any registers. Using your phone & Amazon app.

Amazon just opened a grocery store without a checkout line (http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/12/05/amazon-go-supermarket-no-checkout-no-cashiers-artificial-intelligence-sensors/94991612/)

Crazed_Insanity
December 15th, 2016, 10:13 AM
http://www.businessinsider.com/is-self-service-checkout-on-the-way-out-2013-10

I think one thing is for sure is that current self check out systems cannot completely replace humans. I like to use them when I have a few items with bar codes on them, but not when I shop for produce or have some special store coupons. I know if I run into problems, self check outs will usually take longer because you might have to wait forever to get somebody to help you.

Interested to see how well the Amazon system works.

Anyway, with regard to autonomous driving, I just don't think we're there yet. Maybe technically we're getting close, but not sure about the legal challenges. Case in point, uber in SF!

speedpimp
December 18th, 2016, 02:00 PM
Total Recall would be better, because of ... well you know

Chick with three breasts? Not all that far off, they should be really numerous in areas with lots of nuclear fall out.