In case you haven’t caught it, [via WikiPedia] the trolley problem is a thought experiment in ethics. The general form of the problem is this: There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the most ethical choice?
A conundrum faced by driverless cars and the software creators behind them.
I liked how Mercedes has dissected the problem and focused on what they can control. Their view is:
Save the life you know you can save. That of the driver.
What they’re saying is, it’s hard to predict all other factors, but they know they can make a decision to save the driver of the car.
Each actor is acting in its own interest, they have to be careful to not over anticipate what they may/may not do.