Thursday, June 23, 2016

No - your car will not be programmed to kill you.

Your Self-Driving Car Will Be Programmed to Kill You—Deal With It. 

"A recent survey shows that people want self-driving cars to be programmed to minimize casualties during a crash, even if it causes the death of the rider. Trouble is, the same survey shows that people don’t actually want to ride in cars that are programmed this way. That’s obviously a problem—and we’re going to have to get over it."

Mr S. sent me this article today. You see, about three months ago I was at a self driving car conference and I hunted down the smartest person I could find and asked him the following question.

"If I'm on the freeway ( and it doesn't happen that often) and someone runs out in front of me and the only way to avoid hitting that person is to crash into a wall - Who dies? I don't want to kill someone, but I also don't want to die."

It's gotta be  a conversation that is happening a lot right now because we have a lot of hours logged with semi autonomous cars. But I can assure you ~in a nano second~ this will be decided the first time a car owner dies instead of the other person.

Mr S. and I have been talking about this a lot since that conference. Gizmodo is falling victim to not understanding stated preference vs. revealed preference. Quite simply - People are big fat liars. And if you ask them questions they will tell you all sorts of things, but what they actually do is very different than what they say.

People might say if it's between 10 people dying and me dying - just take me out. But they would be lying. Until this happens everyone is altruistic. But I'm buying a car for MY safety. First and foremost, and anyone who says differently is pretty much lying. No one is buying a car to make sure pedestrians don't die. It's a nice perk, but pretty much I want the car company to make sure I don't die.

And that is going to be how the market works. The hints are in the article from Gizmodo. People don't want to ride in cars where their safety is not the first priority. Period. This isn't rocket science. The Gizmodo article couldn't do a better job at showing stated preference vs. revealed preference right in one tiny paragraph.

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