Self-Driving Cars and Engineering Ethics: The Need for a System Level Analysis

Jason Borenstein, Joseph R. Herkert, Keith W. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The literature on self-driving cars and ethics continues to grow. Yet much of it focuses on ethical complexities emerging from an individual vehicle. That is an important but insufficient step towards determining how the technology will impact human lives and society more generally. What must complement ongoing discussions is a broader, system level of analysis that engages with the interactions and effects that these cars will have on one another and on the socio-technical systems in which they are embedded. To bring the conversation of self-driving cars to the system level, we make use of two traffic scenarios which highlight some of the complexities that designers, policymakers, and others should consider related to the technology. We then describe three approaches that could be used to address such complexities and their associated shortcomings. We conclude by bringing attention to the “Moral Responsibility for Computing Artifacts: The Rules”, a framework that can provide insight into how to approach ethical issues related to self-driving cars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Nov 13 2017

Fingerprint

Ethics
Railroad cars
moral philosophy
engineering
Technology
Artifacts
artifact
conversation
traffic
scenario
responsibility
interaction
Car
literature
Society

Keywords

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Automation
  • Engineering ethics
  • Self-driving cars
  • Socio-technical systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Cite this

Self-Driving Cars and Engineering Ethics : The Need for a System Level Analysis. / Borenstein, Jason; Herkert, Joseph R.; Miller, Keith W.

In: Science and Engineering Ethics, 13.11.2017, p. 1-16.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Borenstein, Jason ; Herkert, Joseph R. ; Miller, Keith W. / Self-Driving Cars and Engineering Ethics : The Need for a System Level Analysis. In: Science and Engineering Ethics. 2017 ; pp. 1-16.
@article{465921d9fc744b9389641ed0d76fe84a,
title = "Self-Driving Cars and Engineering Ethics: The Need for a System Level Analysis",
abstract = "The literature on self-driving cars and ethics continues to grow. Yet much of it focuses on ethical complexities emerging from an individual vehicle. That is an important but insufficient step towards determining how the technology will impact human lives and society more generally. What must complement ongoing discussions is a broader, system level of analysis that engages with the interactions and effects that these cars will have on one another and on the socio-technical systems in which they are embedded. To bring the conversation of self-driving cars to the system level, we make use of two traffic scenarios which highlight some of the complexities that designers, policymakers, and others should consider related to the technology. We then describe three approaches that could be used to address such complexities and their associated shortcomings. We conclude by bringing attention to the “Moral Responsibility for Computing Artifacts: The Rules”, a framework that can provide insight into how to approach ethical issues related to self-driving cars.",
keywords = "Artificial intelligence, Automation, Engineering ethics, Self-driving cars, Socio-technical systems",
author = "Jason Borenstein and Herkert, {Joseph R.} and Miller, {Keith W.}",
year = "2017",
month = "11",
day = "13",
doi = "10.1007/s11948-017-0006-0",
language = "English (US)",
pages = "1--16",
journal = "Science and Engineering Ethics",
issn = "1353-3452",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Self-Driving Cars and Engineering Ethics

T2 - The Need for a System Level Analysis

AU - Borenstein, Jason

AU - Herkert, Joseph R.

AU - Miller, Keith W.

PY - 2017/11/13

Y1 - 2017/11/13

N2 - The literature on self-driving cars and ethics continues to grow. Yet much of it focuses on ethical complexities emerging from an individual vehicle. That is an important but insufficient step towards determining how the technology will impact human lives and society more generally. What must complement ongoing discussions is a broader, system level of analysis that engages with the interactions and effects that these cars will have on one another and on the socio-technical systems in which they are embedded. To bring the conversation of self-driving cars to the system level, we make use of two traffic scenarios which highlight some of the complexities that designers, policymakers, and others should consider related to the technology. We then describe three approaches that could be used to address such complexities and their associated shortcomings. We conclude by bringing attention to the “Moral Responsibility for Computing Artifacts: The Rules”, a framework that can provide insight into how to approach ethical issues related to self-driving cars.

AB - The literature on self-driving cars and ethics continues to grow. Yet much of it focuses on ethical complexities emerging from an individual vehicle. That is an important but insufficient step towards determining how the technology will impact human lives and society more generally. What must complement ongoing discussions is a broader, system level of analysis that engages with the interactions and effects that these cars will have on one another and on the socio-technical systems in which they are embedded. To bring the conversation of self-driving cars to the system level, we make use of two traffic scenarios which highlight some of the complexities that designers, policymakers, and others should consider related to the technology. We then describe three approaches that could be used to address such complexities and their associated shortcomings. We conclude by bringing attention to the “Moral Responsibility for Computing Artifacts: The Rules”, a framework that can provide insight into how to approach ethical issues related to self-driving cars.

KW - Artificial intelligence

KW - Automation

KW - Engineering ethics

KW - Self-driving cars

KW - Socio-technical systems

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85033584947&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85033584947&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11948-017-0006-0

DO - 10.1007/s11948-017-0006-0

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85033584947

SP - 1

EP - 16

JO - Science and Engineering Ethics

JF - Science and Engineering Ethics

SN - 1353-3452

ER -