Episode #40 – Nyholm on Accident Algorithms and the Ethics of Self-Driving Cars

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In this episode I talk to Sven Nyholm about self-driving cars. Sven is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at TU Eindhoven with an interest in moral philosophy and the ethics of technology. Recently, Sven has been working on the ethics of self-driving cars, focusing in particular on the ethical rules such cars should follow and who should be held responsible for them if something goes wrong. We chat about these issues and more.

You can download the podcast here or listen below. You can also subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher (the RSS feed is here).

 

Show Notes:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 1:22 – What is a self-driving car?
  • 3:00 – Fatal crashes involving self-driving cars
  • 5:10 – Could self-driving cars ever be completely safe?
  • 8:14 – Limitations of the Trolley Problem
  • 11:22 – What kinds of accident scenarios do we need to plan for?
  • 17:18 – Who should decide which ethical rules a self-driving car follows?
  • 23:47 – Why not randomise the ethical rules?
  • 25:18 – Experimental findings on people’s preferences with self-driving cars
  • 29:16 – Is this just another typical applied ethical debate?
  • 31:27 – What would a utilitarian self-driving car do?
  • 36:30 – What would a Kantian self-driving car do?
  • 39:33 – A contractualist approach to the ethics of self-driving cars
  • 43:54 – The responsibility gap problem
  • 46:12 – Scepticism of the responsibility gap: can self-driving cars be agents?
  • 53:17 – A collaborative agency approach to self-driving cars
  • 58:18 – So who should we blame if something goes wrong?
  • 1:03:40 – Is there a duty to hand over driving to machines?
  • 1:07:30 – Must self-driving cars be programmed to kill?

 

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