A problem with trolleys: Ethics and self driving cars

Short thesis

This talk will present an overview of how the commercial development of self driving cars is significantly shaping conceptions of ethics in data societies, and what this means for an understanding of human and machine interactions, intelligence and autonomy.


There is a problem with the Trolley Problem, the thought experiment being used to develop machine learning algorithms in self-driving cars. Chief among the problems with it is that it is reframing ethics in data societies in terms intelligible to engineering. The development of the self-driving car calls for a look back at early histories of cybernetics, machine and human intelligence, and a look ahead at what we think machine intelligence is, and what our interactions with artificial, social agents will be.