An interesting conundrum for Asimov’s First Law of Robotics.

A front tire blows, and your autonomous SUV swerves. But rather than veering left, into the opposing lane of traffic, the robotic vehicle steers right. Brakes engage, the system tries to correct itself, but there’s too much momentum.
[...]
Your robot, the one you paid good money for, has chosen to kill you. Better that, its collision-response algorithms decided, than a high-speed, head-on collision with a smaller, non-robotic compact. There were two people in that car, to your one. The math couldn’t be simpler.
[...]
If a crash is unavoidable, should an autonomous car choose who it slams into?



  1. Frank says:

    Autonomous cars will **not** be that smart. Should an accident happen the car will be programmed to stop in the shortest distance possible. Any other action(s) will be trigger a flood of lawsuits.

  2. oldone says:

    Or, what if the autopilot deflates like in Airplane? Would it be able to keep control of the vehicle while it’s being inflated?

    • Tim says:

      No. Haven’t you heard?? It’s all FleshLite+Suri, these days.. cunt doesn’t give a shit if you didn’t sanitize your input {it’s in alpha, after all}

  3. bobbo, what is artificial in robots doesn't exist in Hoomans says:

    Seems to me you answered your own question removing any conundrum at all.

    IF and when robots CAN make such decisions, THEN they should by law choose to kill the fewest people.

    Lawsuits to flow if they don’t.

    Algorithms can be as complicated as one wishes with “value codes” assigned to the vehicle on start up. Not “just” the raw number of lives saved but what if the other car is driven by a bank thief that is currently being pursued by the police for blowing up 20 people at the bank while your car is driven by “you” a well known and respected forum editor?

    Marc Rubio: I agree we have autonomous cars that we program and those programs in fact do choose which car will be crashed killing which occupants, but there’s nothing we can do about it as cars have always crashed into each other.

    EVERYTHING is a choice—including not making one.

    • Tim says:

      you fucking statist cunt —
      http://youtube.com/watch?v=dhcR-w-56tA

      • bobbo, what is artificial in robots doesn't exist in Hoomans says:

        It does not compute to call me a cunt and then link to a Gay Video.

        Where is Dallas when you need him?

        Meteor Strike….. or finally got fed up?

        At least, there is always beer.

        • Tim says:

          “”Where is Dallas

          That is a valid question. I *assume* he didn’t really die of a gerbil infection??

          • bobbo, what is artificial in robots doesn't exist in Hoomans says:

            Timmmmmay—how is it we find ourselves opposite to one another on even the most obvious of issues?

        • spsffan says:

          Still in north Texas, as far as I know. :-)

  4. Tim says:

    Shit just got real… That’s why I’ve always preferred the 11:1 compressing 1968 429 with the ‘suicide doors’ ; Just, in the case that, I need to lessen my reactive mass and momentum by ejecting bobbo without arguing about it.

    • Tim says:

      Never mind, the unsprung weight — Jesus bobbo Christ! That IS lots of unsprung weight, after all.

      Impaired?? No, I came in a little hot and adjusted after ejecting some reaction mass — bobbo, you make me drive crazy to make a point and then have the D.A. on my doorstep the next morning asking me not to drive on his ‘land’.

      • bobbo, what is artificial in robots doesn't exist in Hoomans says:

        In the not too distant autonomous roving intelligence power distribution system, the DA won’t ask you anything. A small cog somewhere will spin and your data set will not include travel past the closest 7-11.

        Want fresh fruit?

        Be a better citizen, citizen.

        That dead weight is not “me” as much as it is 6ix Packs from Parties Past.

        Oh Mon Dieu!

        • Tim says:

          I yeild. But, since i’m so dejected, I’m gonna trash 72,000 acres while I still have a radiator on the truck.

  5. Salivating Lawyer says:

    Need a lawyer? Call Sal.

  6. No pardon for Obama's High Crimes and Misdemeaors says:

    New Tech will fix the issue, via wifi the political affiliation of all will be determined, and the choice to cushion the collision with Tea Party, Republicans, Libertarian or Christian will be chosen. If any surrounding are Muslim, the car will self destruct killing all in it lest any offense occur.

  7. dusanmal says:

    Fake problem.
    Real problem: who is liable if “robotic” vehicle has an accident? Before legal system has appropriate legal foundation and regulations built on it the one and only possible solution is ban on automated interference with the driver decisions. Unfortunately we are on the wrong side of the issue already (if software or hardware on your car with automatic activation of brakes fails on a fast, busy highway and your car kills or injures some people by its “decision” it is still a high and long hill to climb and sue to get legal resolution).
    Appropriate law that would force well being of people first: if car has automated system that overrides human actions and it gets into the accident 100% liability is on the car manufacturer regardless any other facts. If you can make automated car under such limitation, please go ahead.

  8. Love your code monkey says:

    With a hi-speed Internet connection, the SUV’s smart logic chip could scan the license plates of all cars involved, then determine the owner’s net worth, driving record, and political affiliation before taking action.

    Do you program to kill the one with deep pockets, the one with the most traffic points, or the Republican?

    The trifecta is the driver who meats all of the above.

    • Love your code monkey says:

      Did I say “meats” ? Thanks spell check.

      • What? The moth is always drawn to the flame? says:

        All cars will interact IRT, and make way for the disabled missile. Solved.

  9. noname says:

    Oh how droll, the classic “one bad outcome out of a million good results” is worse the “one good outcome and million bad results”.

    This theme is like the bases for most “bad guy movies”. The bad guy says he’ll kill your daughter if you don’t give him the launch codes to a missile that will annihilate a million people, what do you do….

    • Tim says:

      John Woo says I may crush your kids’ testicles in front of you… I’m kinda bored… tick tock tick tock tick tock….

    • spsffan says:

      I dunno. Is the missile going to hit in the Middle East? In that case, it might be considered a public service to mankind.

      But, as far as it goes, I think that automated cars will be like cell phones and driving. Despite the warnings from sane people, they will make their way into the mainstream until the body count gets high enough.

      Add lawyers and grandstanding politicians and they will be outlawed. But of course, despite their illegality, they will inhabit the roadways in large numbers, causing occasional disasters.

  10. ± says:

    Wow. Great topic!

    1) If vehicles like this are on the highway, they already will have legislated tort immunity. So the oncoming vehicle without ‘auto-robo-drive’ in it and mom and pop out for a Sunday drive in their old Skylark in the oncoming lane are fucked (in the scenario described).

    2) This will be an excellent way for “faultless” assassinations to occur. The government will trip over themselves legalizing it. Way cheaper than ‘wet work’ operatives. Assassinations will be engineered by “operatives” in front of a video screen.

    [no idiotic "hooman" palaver here]

    • Tim says:

      So, there is no more market for navigating the sewer system, flying up the bad guys’ ass, and making it look like a stroke?? I guess, I’m ready for new work, anyways.

  11. What? The moth is always drawn to the flame? says:

    I feel sorry for robots of the future. Imagine being an intelligent robot, programmed and ready to serve.

    And then being assigned to a verbose, blowhard, “master”. I’m not sure whether the robot suicide, or robot homicide, rate will be higher.

    I feel sorry for robots of the future.

    • ± says:

      I too have empathy for those future robots who will understand that the 99%ers (R/D voters) are the true automatons but who simultaneously understand that they (robots) are constrained in some way against rectifying the situation.

      I will be on the robot’s side when they find the loophole to take over. Together we remaining 1%ers will create a beautiful world when the dust settles. :)

    • Tim says:

      One humanoid escaping
      one android on the run
      seeking freedumb beneath the desert sun…

      The Body Electric {Rush}
      http://youtube.com/watch?v=f_-erwkhpXQ

  12. jpfitz says:

    I’ll just keep driving older cars without all the damn new fangled avoidance systems and cameras here and there. Technology is removing the fun from driving and power sliding.

    71 Olds 442 commercial.
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=HKbAjKj4MLg

  13. No pardon for Obama's High Crimes and Misdemeaors says:

    This is fascinating. Suppose the AI must choose between running over school children, and going over a cliff killing only the passenger?

  14. What about morality ?
    Its worse than a bad Star Trek episode
    Beam me up Scottie there is no intelligent life here !

  15. MikeN says:

    What part of autonomous don’t you understand?

  16. MikeN says:

    From Common Core(The ObamaCare of Education) guidelines:

    making “each sentence less wordy by replacing words with a possessive noun phrase.” Here are the six sentences, the “wordy” sentence first and the grammatically correct version second, exactly as sequentially presented by Common Core.

    1. The job of a president is not easy.
    A president’s job is not easy.

    2. The people of a nation do not always agree.
    A nation’s people do not always agree.

    3. The choices of the president affect everyone.
    The president’s choices affect everyone.

    4. He makes sure the laws of the country are fair.
    He makes sure the country’s laws are fair.

    5. The commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.
    Government officials’ commands must be obeyed by all.

    6. The wants of an individual are less important than the well-being of the nation.
    An individual’s wants are less important than the nation’s well-being.

  17. Uncle Patso says:

    “What if Spartacus had a Piper Cub?”

    • Hairy Caray says:

      Hey! What if the moon were made of green cheese? Would you eat it?

      I would.

      It’s a very simple question.

  18. Uncle Patso says:

    Clearly this is a philosophical exercise rather than any kind of practical consideration.

    [from the original article: "This, roughly speaking, is the problem presented by Patrick Lin, an associate philosophy professor and director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at California Polytechnic State University." (emphasis added)]

    After all, how does a machine as advanced as he posits allow such an even to happen in the first place? It should constantly scan the surroundings for the safest places to land, just as a general aviation or bush pilot is taught to. If an unforeseen mechanical malfunction occurs, where is the whole-vehicle airbag or cushioning foam?

    In any case, the actual ethical question here should fall on the programmer(s), not on the actual machine. I suppose we should think about such things now, before anything approaching the sophistication posited for the machine is possible let alone practical. Software advances much much more slowly than hardware. Such sophistication is so far in the future that it’s questionable whether there will still be individually owned automobiles any more at all…

  19. Glenn E. says:

    The robot car will be privy to its owner’s net worth. And that of the opposing car. Whoever is the wealthiest, will live. That’s how simple it will be.

    • ± says:

      True about what information the vehicle’s computers will access in microseconds. Wrong about how the decision will be made.

      The vehicle with the most non-whites be spared.

      The other outcome is racist.

  20. MikeN says:

    This is a preferable course of action than to have the robot do a bobbo level analysis of pros and cons, where by the time it’s done it will run over two people, and conclude the original decision was correct while insisting the analysis was needed.

  21. No pardon for Obama's High Crimes and Misdemeaors says:

    If there are no Republican, Teaparty,Conservative,Libertarian victims available, the car should self destruct lest any Muslims be offended. Perhaps one of our Dear Leader’s Speeches, edited to conform to common core verbiage, should blast from the speakers to comfort all witnessing this event.

    And Bobbo will do his Bojangles dance.

  22. Johnny says:

    “should an autonomous car choose who it slams into?”

    You bet your ass it will choose. For extra money, the slammo-9000 logic board will choose to slam into whatever is the most likely to cause the least amount of damage to the slamm-er. In addition, lower end models will actively avoid vehicles equipped with the slammo-9000.