Iyad Rahwan in giving his inspirational talk explored the various ways in which technology might in future end up posing a challenge to morality. Earlier, he had engaged a number of people on the ethical trade-offs they were willing (and not willing) to make. The speaker was speaking in relation to the primer on the social dilemmas of driverless cars.
The speaker’s work lies at the intersection of the social and computer sciences with a focus on large-scale cooperation, collective intelligence, and the social aspects of artificial intelligence. In the previous year, the Department of Transport estimated the number of people that lost their lives from traffic crashes in the U.S alone. It said that the figure stood at 35,000 people. On the global arena, about 1.2 million people succumb to death in the traffic accidents every year.
This speaker said that the world needed to get to that point where it would be able to cut down on those deaths by about 90 percent. He affirms that the driverless car technology has got all it takes to achieve that goal. It operates under the principle of eliminating human error which has always been the major cause of accidents on the roads.
These new cars will be compelled to make several trade-offs as they move passengers or goods from one place to the other. The crucial matter will be on how society decides in regards to the trade-offs. It might end up requiring the set up of a survey to look into what the society wants. This is in consideration of the fact that regulations and laws are a reflection of the various societal values.
The speaker together with several collaborators conducted a survey where they presented people with the different case scenarios. They also provided them with some two options which drew their inspiration from two renowned philosophers.
These options pushed for the adoption of those strategies that would minimize total harm. A lot of people that attended the inspirational talk expressed their dissatisfaction with the fact that the car was to be left to take its course- even during those instances when it was very clear it was going to harm more people.