philosophy point of view to see the autonomous vehicle- more about the ethics

There are more things to discuss once we go the ethics area. From the philosophy point of view, the autonomous vehicle becomes more interesting.First I will list this questions

  • Non-identity problem

This problems in fact is everywhere. According to the definition of Stanford encyclopedia of Philosophy  “If a person’s existence is unavoidably flawed, then the agent’s only alternatives to bringing that person into the flawed existence are to bring no one into existence at all or to bring a different person – a nonidentical but better off person – into existence in place of the person whose existence is flawed. “(1)

It actually means that every change you made may lead to the nonexistence of the future person. Choosing an autonomous vehicle may cause you marry a different women and have a different children as you should have. That is not fair to your children who should have been born in the situation that you are driving a normal car.

According to wikipedia, the definition is “There is a runaway trolley barrelling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. Unfortunately, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. “(2)

Imagine that your vehicle meet this situation: You have to choose hit on 5 person on the narrow road or hit the tree side by the road- this action may kill yourself but will definitely save 5 lives. There is no option 3.How should the computer choose? It’s even a hard problem for a human, can a computer give us a satisfactory answer to that?

  • buttery effect

What if you use the autonomous vehicle and avoid hitting on the person. But 10 years later, this person becomes another  Hitler? The chain effect is not predictable.

(But personally, I extremely dislike the Non-identity problem. In this logic, everything we do may be “wrong” because this will influence the future and may let you have a different child. Considering this problem is nonsense. I really don’t know why philosophy guys are interested into this problem. Same for the butterfly effect.I really think the trolley problem is quite important.)

reference

(1)http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nonidentity-problem/

(2)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem

(3)This web site give me a lot of ideas to write this blog

http://gas2.org/2013/09/17/the-ethics-of-the-google-driverless-cars/

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “philosophy point of view to see the autonomous vehicle- more about the ethics

  1. I agree with the nonsense of Non-identity problem. It’s maybe good to think about it for a moment but not to focus on. But with the trolley problem you brought indeed a very good question. How will you program the car for those situations? Do you have more informations on this?

    • Sorry for the late reply! One of the main tendency nowadays is that auto vehicles are tended to be developed with “machine learning”, with which vehicles will be smarter as time goes on and more self-driving experience accumulated. Therefore, auto vehicles are able to make correct decisions under different situations. Of course, as more self-driving experience is accumulated, auto vehicles will handle better in difficult situations.

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