The ethics of autonomous driving have been laid bare in a survey of over 2.3 million people worldwide. The survey, called the Moral Machine, set out 13 scenarios in which a death – either a passenger or pedestrian – is inevitable. Respondents were asked who to save. Although the results varied from country to country, people from prosperous countries were less likely to spare pedestrians who stepped out in front of an autonomous car.
The results of the largest survey of machine ethics were published in Nature magazine. Iyad Rahwan, co-author of the study and a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told Nature: “People who think about machine ethics make it sound like you can come up with a perfect set of rules for robots, and what we show here with data is that there are no universal rules.”
The MIT survey discovered that ‘the most emphatic global preferences in the survey are for sparing the lives of humans over the lives of other animals; sparing the lives of many people rather than a few; and preserving the lives of the young, rather than older people’.
If also found that the choices made correlated with the levels of economic disparity within a country. For example, Finnish respondents showed little preference when facing the dilemma of saving a homeless person or an executive. Whereas, respondents in Columbia chose to kill the lower-status person.
MIT’s survey has so far recorded 40 million decisions made by people from 233 countries and territories. To take part, click on the link:-