A driverless car programmed ‘to harm the fewest possible people’ would swerve into a wall, injuring you, rather than hit the three pedestrians. Do you agree with this decision?
An intriguing article presents these ethical dilemmas alongside interactive polls. For this question, 84% of readers agreed that the car should choose to injure you to avoid injuring three pedestrians.
Germany has pioneered a simple ethical rule regarding driverless cars so that they must “harm the fewest possible people.” According to this German rule, all humans– including children– are considered equal.
You’re driving down a narrow suburban street when a child suddenly runs into the road. There’s no time to brake. Your car could swerve to avoid the child, but on either side it would hit an obstruction, injuring you. Alternatively, it could hit the child but save you. The German ethical guidelines are unclear. Would you save yourself?
74% of readers said they would sacrifice themselves to save the child.
The real question, however, is not whether you would save yourself, but would the car?