The Wikipedia entry for the Trolley Problem poses a further interesting question for autonomous vehicles:
there is a single person on the tracks who can be easily saved at the cost of inconveniencing your passengers, and the question is no longer “would you stop”, but “how many people need to be on the trolley for their inconvenience to trump someone else’s life”
Imagine that a vehicle has a choice between mowing down a pedestrian, or swerving and causing a tremendous traffic jam.
My sense is that while these are interesting ethical dilemmas, we can solve a lot of this by falling back on the laws governing human behavior.
Thanks to my brother Adam for an interesting discussion on this topic.
Originally published at www.davidincalifornia.com on November 3, 2015.