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Driverless cars pose worrying questions of life and death

PA’s Daniel Hirsch, an automotive expert, is quoted in an article in the Financial Times about driverless cars. The article looks at autonomous cars that are forcing us to face crucial questions about how much control we are willing to hand over to machines. The question of whether robots can be trusted with making life or death decisions on the road is explored.

The article goes on to talk about the ethics of driverless cars and possible scenarios and experiments. Daniel shares one possible scenario: “A child runs on the street and the car has only two options — killing the child or killing the old, cancer-suffering driver.”

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He goes on to say that the “correct” response to this situation in one country or culture might be different in another. It might even be illegal — both German and Swiss law say human lives cannot be weighed against one another.

The articles goes on to look at the role of insurers: “There’s a significant number of these cases in which the insurance company would decide differently — for instance, to them a handicapped child is more expensive than a handicapped elderly person due to remaining lifespan,” explains Daniel.


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