recent technological advances have brought functional devices interacting with the real world. in the past, robotic technology operated in places such as warehouses and manufacturing plants. tesla motor vehicle’s auto-pilot programming, with its recent encounter, suggest that auto-pilot devices will be in need of morals and values programming.
human drivers must adhere to the “rules of the road.” governments have vehicle codes which must be adhered. human drivers striking another vehicle have an obligation to distribute insurance information. humans striking another human causing bodily harm may as well have a moral obligation to call for a paramedic to come and assist. in the case of striking an animal, there may be a moral obligation to provide some assistance.
although a recent accident may have been tesla operator’s self-inflicted wound, it is illustrative of the problem moving forward. a driverless tesla, in summons mode, crashed into a $2,000,000 private jet and kept on driving. dailymail.com in this particular instance, the tesla’s human operator may have collided with his own plane. irrespective of that fact, the tesla continued going on its way.
a human driver creating such an accident and fleeing would likely have violated laws and been subject to penalty and possible loss of their driver’s license. tesla’s programming has already reportedly skirted one motor vehicle rule. at one point, tesla’s auto-programming allowed for a “california roll.” telsa, as a result, recalled the full self-driving software let the vehicles roll “through stop signs without coming to a complete halt.” dailymail.com
the plane accident appears to be of human fault. it is reported that tesla advises the operators that they must remain responsible for the car during the smart summons procedure and monitor it. with respect to auto-pilot functions, it is likely that the technology will improve to a level to which a tesla may eventually act independent of the human owner.
at some point, tesla will be forced to address issues of programming law, values and morals into the vehicles. the vehicles will require a means of communication for both the humans and other automated devices it may encounter. likewise, it will require the capacity to communicate and report matters to authorities, ie 911 for a paramedic or for police.
auto-pilot technology will eventually be involved with a fatality. how will a vehicle that has caused a motor vehicle death be perceived? will it be destroyed? will it be reprogrammed? with this in mind, one can envision programmers, lawyers, law enforcement, religious authorities, and ethicists all in the same room trying to work out the complexities of our brave new world. isaac asimov, author of the famous “i robot” would certainly be entertained by this development. he was the creator of the “three laws of robotics.”
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