Future Ethics Dilemma

I mentioned last week that I’ll be filing CS&W reports from Vietnam (445 photos here) later this spring, when my wife and I will spend the better part of a month in Saigon. It will be our sixth visit. First-timers are generally awed by the crush of traffic, but I’ve found that you can get used to just about everything. Even Saigon traffic.

However, and speaking of traffic, just in case you were looking for something new to worry about, an article in the New Yorker makes the point that at some not-too-distant future time, driverless cars will

“drive as well as or better than humans, smoothly adapting to rapid changes in their environments, like swerving cars or stray pedestrians.

At that point,

“This would require the vehicles to make value judgments….

For example,

“if a car detects a sudden obstacle—say, a jackknifed truck—should it hit the truck and kill its own driver, or should it swerve onto a crowded sidewalk and kill pedestrians? A human driver might react randomly (if she has time to react at all), but the response of an autonomous vehicle would have to be programmed ahead of time.

Insoluble moral dilemmas will need to be pre-programmed.

“What should we tell the car to do?”

Chew on that, and do let me know what you come up with.

 

Friday Photo #30 from Vietnam

FridayPhotoCanTho

Here is an HDR photo of a trader in cabbage, from the famous floating market near Can Tho, south of Saigon in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Click to enlarge it, and see 443 other photos from one of the most photogenic countries in the world in the Vietnam Gallery at EarthPhotos.com. Please also enjoy 579 HDR photos in the HDR Gallery, and all the Friday Photos.

Have a good weekend!

Playing in Traffic. Friday Photo #25, Saigon

FridayPhoto

Photography is not for the faint of heart. Don’t try this at home. Or at least without a bellyful of good Vietnamese beer. Saigon. At night. In the holiday season. On a crosswalk.

Click photo to enlarge. Vietnam is a completely enchanting, engrossing and picturesque land. Have a look at 442 other photos from all over the country in the Vietnam Gallery at EarthPhotos.com. And see all the Friday Photos.