gets hit will be a decision your car’s software must make.
This Moral Machine quiz is very similar to something proposed in this column years ago, about a self-driving car rounding a curve, seeing 6-year-old little Suzie standing in the middle of your lane. To avoid hitting her, your options are:
Moving into the next lane, where a speeding truck is coming your way.
Going over the cliff on the other side with an
uncertain outcome for you.
Running over Little Suzie.
If you were in charge of the car you would have to make that decision quickly. Some would be like a deer in headlights and freeze. Sorry, Suzie.
But if the car is in charge of the decision, who knows?
One thing is certain. This International Moral Machine quiz showed the best of mankind, in wanting the car to always make the right decision to save the most individuals. (Well, except maybe in Saudi Arabia.) That’s the problem
with surveys and polls: We answer them the way we wish we really were.
But I simply can’t imagine an individual going into a dealership one day and asking how these new self-driving cars were programmed to decide who wins in an accident. Because if the answer is, “Maybe not you,” it’s hard to believe someone would buy that vehicle.
Keep in mind that for decades, many individuals who purchased large SUVs believed, not always correctly, that in the event of a major accident that vehicle gave them the survival
Can you imagine a soccer mom driving a vehicle that might not put her or her children first?
None of this matters, anyhow. In 65 years, we have yet to completely perfect airbags, with the weakest link of the past 20 years being car companies’ cutting so many corners on parts procurement that they bought an inferior airbag that in many cases could act not as a safety device, but as an explosive. With metal shrapnel.
If we can’t even figure out something as simple as that, does anyone believe
we’re going to have vehicles that have to calculate millions, if not billions of calculations in the split second before a potential accident?
Remember, the Ring app can take 5 – 7 seconds just to let you know who’s at the front door.
An executive with Mercedes talking about selfdriving cars said that his company was going to code a Benz to save its owner and family first.
A spokesperson with Daimler immediately said he had been misquoted, and that statement was not true. Knowing how the
world really works, imagine how many Mercedes they would sell if their ad campaign for a future selfdriving car were nothing more than, “You Live No Matter What, in a Benz.”
Or better yet, a Mercedes that promises you will survive, only to find out it came equipped with remanufactured Takata airbags.
Ed Wallace is a recipient of the Gerald R. Loeb Award for business journalism, bestowed by the Anderson School of Business at UCLA, and hosts the top-rated talk show, Wheels, 8:00 to 1:00 Saturdays on 570 KLIF AM. Email: email@example.com