- ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ is a gorgeous noir with little below the surface Today 1:14 PM
- Jameela Jamil and Sara Sampaio got in a Twitter feud over ‘long-starved’ models Today 12:52 PM
- Freddie Prinze Jr. will straight-up school you about the Force don’t @ him Today 12:18 PM
- Woman hosts Instagram funeral after she ‘killed’ $102K in student debt Today 11:45 AM
- YouTube beats Netflix as go-to streaming platform for teens Today 11:41 AM
- The tallest man in America posts emotional YouTube video from hospital room Today 11:31 AM
- Nintendo Switch subreddit implodes amid Hong Kong protests Today 11:14 AM
- Biden yelling at Warren becomes relatable workplace meme Today 10:33 AM
- Tulsi Gabbard was conservatives’ favorite debater Today 10:07 AM
- ‘Rogue One’ co-writer to direct several episodes, write the pilot for Cassian Andor series Today 9:50 AM
- ‘The Two Popes’: Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce shine in Netflix’s pope comedy Today 8:57 AM
- AOC, ‘Squad’ to endorse Bernie Sanders Today 8:44 AM
- ‘Ghosts of Sugar Land’ explores what happens if your friend joins ISIS Today 7:00 AM
- Andrew Yang upset porn fans with his criticism of Bing Tuesday 10:34 PM
- Kamala Harris really wants Trump kicked off Twitter Tuesday 10:22 PM
As the state of California inches closer and closer to the reality of self-driving cars being used by ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber, there still remains plenty of public concern as to how legitimately safe these vehicles are. Uber briefly suspended testing after a pedestrian was killed by one of the company’s self-driving cars, and that vehicle even had a safety driver behind the wheel. It’s a controversy that doesn’t seem to go away anytime soon.
So that’s why—when ABC News sent out a push notification on Wednesday to an article asking the question of whether or not people were okay with a self-driving car making the decision of who lived or died in such an event—people were shook.
It’s too early for this pic.twitter.com/crs12Mneco— Alex Bruce-Smith (@alexbrucesmith) July 4, 2018
The argument essentially boils down to the “trolley problem,” an ethical thought experiment that asks the question of whether or not an individual would pull a lever to prevent a runaway trolley from striking five people in its path—with the knowledge that re-diverting the trolley would cause it to hit a single person lying on the side track.
This is in no way the first time the trolley problem has popped up in the conversation of self-driving cars. However, it’s a conundrum that keeps resurfacing as people aren’t sure how they feel about artificial intelligence making life and death decisions. Even as robotics experts are employing philosophers to build ethical algorithms into self-driving cars, the issue remains murky at best.
And as you can see from some of the other tweet reactions to the story, many people are still pretty skeptical about the whole thing.
I’m glad you changed the headline on the website, this was a bit dramatic (though not wrong). Interesting piece though, how can we teach machines to solve the Trolley Problem when we as humans struggle with it? pic.twitter.com/4wCyKT7Ng6— Lachlan Widt (@LockyWidt) July 4, 2018
Everyone who received this push alert now has a philosophy degree https://t.co/xIoRBuMDfW— cliffe (@tinycliffe) July 4, 2018
this is trolley dilemma 2k18 disruption shit— Emma Elsworthy (@emmaels) July 5, 2018
Voight-Kampff tests are getting weirder. https://t.co/bXwVhsBdcy— Charles Miller (@carlfish) July 5, 2018
Wasn't this addressed in I, Robot? https://t.co/bL0yYqZBvi— Nick Montgomery (@Merc_Media) July 4, 2018
Whether we like the technology or not, the day of completely driverless cars is certainly coming, and it’s going to be here sooner than we think. It’s probably best to accept our fate and welcome our new self-driving overlords now.
Stacey Ritzen is a reporter and editor based in West Philadelphia with over 10 years' experience covering pop culture, web culture, entertainment, and news. You can follow her on Twitter @staceyritzen.