The ethical dilemma of self-driving cars

Aug 09, 2019 | Mark Porretta


For the last several years, it has seemed the news around self-driving cars is everywhere. While we have yet to see a fully automated car, massive strides have been taken by Tesla, BMW and others. The distant future may not be so distant. Shorter commute times, less accidents and most importantly, the ability to use that time on more important things, are only some of the benefits of self-driving cars. I realize that my commute time pales in comparison to most people, but the hour and a half I spend going to and from work everyday drives me crazy as it feels like that time is wasted. The concept of driverless cars, at least in my mind, will be a major breakthrough for society as a whole. But what are the downsides? I came across this video that discusses the ethical decisions self-driving cars will eventually have. Even if all cars are automated and programed to a tee, accidents cannot be eliminated. Cars will still blow tires and break down and equipment will still fall off transport trucks. You can minimize accidents but you'll never fully eliminate accidents. This is where ethical decisions of the car come into question. As mentioned in the video, how are these cars programed? Are the cars programed to: cause the least amount of damage possible? Protect the driver? Protect the other drivers? These answers have not been made public and will need to be answered before they are put on the road and insured. I believe there are pro's and con's to both sides of this argument and as much as we want it to be, nothing will ever be perfect. I think the goal is not to be perfect, but rather be as close to perfect as possible. Although we are leaving our lives in the hands of computers and the programmers, the ability to minimize accidents caused by drunk driving, cell phones or even just being distracted driving is a far better outcome in my mind. 

Please Click Here to watch the video and let me know your feelings on self-driving cars.


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