Can you input a conscience into a car, can ethics be broken down into data and codes.
Skeptics of driverless cars have a variety of criticisms, from technical to demand based, but perhaps the most curious is the supposed ethical trolley problem it creates. While the question of how driverless cars will behave in ethical situations is interesting and will ultimately have to be answered by programmers, critics greatly exaggerate it’s importance. In addition, they assume that driverless cars have to be perfect rather than just better.
The basic trolley problem involves being put in a situation where you have to choose between killing some people and killing others. For example, imaging you are driving your car and another car is headign right towards you and you have to either hit them head on or swerve into a group of pedestrians. What does a robot do!? This, it is argued, presents a big issue for driverless cars. How do we program them? How will they react in such situations?
The first problem with this is that humans are assumed to be doing a pretty good job at driving already, including in so-called trolley car situations. For example, here is Patrick Lin writing at the Atlantic with a paean to human’s driving abilities:
“But there are important differences between humans and machines that could warrant a stricter test. For one thing, we’re reasonably confident that human drivers can exercise judgment in a wide range of dynamic situations that don’t appear in a standard 40-minute driving test; we presume they can act ethically and wisely. Autonomous cars are new technologies and won’t have that track record for quite some time.”
The idea that humans will act ethically and wisely while driving is an absurd and false assumption. For starters, in 2013 over 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, which accounts for 31% of vehicle related deaths. So from the start we have a third of all driving deaths resulting from humans who are probably often using poor judgment, and unethical and unwise decision-making.
Is it time that good driving is rewarded for younger drivers too?
Car insurance is always expensive for new drivers, however that is all about to change. A UK insurance company called Ingenie will be arriving in Canada to revolutionize car insurance for the average young driver. This will allow people between the ages of 16- and 24 the opportunity to lower their insurance through technology.
The goal is to repeat the success the company had in the UK, evaluated by Aviva Insurance this is one of the first companies to use technology as a way to observe and correct young drivers through an Internet connected device. This allows the company to stand out from the many other who offer discounts based on driving habits and records, but this is the first in history to offer to young drivers.
I sat down with the company’s founder and CEO, Richard King, to learn more.
Plug the Smartbox into a port in your vehicle, install the accompanying app onto your iPhone or Android mobile device, and let the tracking begin. That’s the key here – you’re trading your driving information for lower rates.
Like ingenie’s tagline says: “drive well, pay less.”
Drivers get 10% off by signing up, and save up to 25% during the year by proving they’re driving safely. If they’re not, though, then the prices increase.
Have you ever been stopped behind someone who just annoys you, they’re fuelling that road rage inside you. While you’re screaming at the car in front of you for cutting you off. Maybe they’re just going to slow, or too fast as they race by you on the right hand side.
Who knows maybe you are one of these people. From the list we can see that on one or more occasion we’ve all done something like this. For example we have the The Good Samaritan Driver. The busybody Good Samaritan can’t enter an intersection without making things better for the drivers around them: whether other drivers want their help or not. At four-way-stop intersections, the Good Samaritan will direct traffic to their liking. With oncoming turning traffic, the Good Samaritan will stop, wave them through, ignoring other cars that may be coming up from behind who don’t share their generous ways, usually causing confusion, or worse, an accident. Here’s a big tip to the Good Samaritan Driver: don’t bother, nobody cares!
Click here, to learn about all the different stereotypes of bad drivers.