MIT Wants to Know What Crucial Choices You Think Autonomous Cars Should Make

Ever since people began accepting the idea that sooner or later, our cars will be driven by an artificial intelligence, there was one question that nobody could answer: what should one of these robotic vehicles do if it's ever presented with the choice between killing its passengers or some people crossing the road?
MIT Moral Machine 5 photos
Photo: Screenshot
MIT's Moral MachineMIT's Moral MachineMIT's Moral MachineMIT's Moral Machine
In reality, an autonomous car should never end up in the situation where it needs to make this choice. The whole idea of turning driving over into the hands of an AI is that the silicon chip is far more capable of preventing fatalities than we are. However, it's hard to imagine anything as being 100 percent fail-proof, so even though it will only apply in one in a trillion cases, it still stands.

MIT, the famous University and research center in Massachusetts, thought it would be even better if it made things even more complicated. It created a series of 13 scenarios where you can take your time, analyze the situation and make the decision you think is right. The car, however, would only have a fraction of a time to react, so it needs to know very well what it has to do.

But unlike our initial case, what the guys at MIT propose is a lot more complicated. It's not just a matter of passengers versus pedestrians, but a whole range of other variables are included. Things like social status, age, gender, physical condition or whether or not they are breaking the law are all factored in, making every decision more complex but easier to take at the same time.

Most of us already have our own ideas about what matters most. I won't say anything about my results (you'll find the screenshots in the picture gallery) because I wouldn't want to influence you in any way, but I will say this: pay very close attention to every scenario because there's more to them than meets the eye. Try it yourself for your chance to play God with the Moral Machine.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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