The Morality of Driverless Cars…

Comment:

Today, the Westminster Chancellor reveals his budget. He is expected to prioritise investment in driverless cars.  Reportedly, these will be on the road by 2021.

Should a Catholic buy a driverless car? Check out the short, 4 minutes video clip to consider some of the ethical and moral issues involved.  Would you buy one?  Take the passenger seat?  Me? I’d sooner walk…

16 responses

  1. What if its a driver less bus? Run over two pedestrians to save 30 on the bus? Seriously though, it’s fascinating that what is appearing to happen, is that an electronic ethical code is being written into this technological innovation. Accidents will always happen in an imperfect world and any input that decreases the chance of an accident, must be good. Personally, after driving for forty years the ides of relinquishing overall control to a robot car is too much to bear. I also would rather walk. The young will love it.

    • “Driverless buses” would be a disaster. That’s an example where jobs will go at the first opportunity.

      It’s bad enough to think of a human in the car but not in full control, but there’s even talk of “self-driving” cars which are operated robotically and don’t need a human on board. What springs to my mind is things like take-away deliveries, where, again, jobs will be cut.

      It’s a nightmare living in these times. Unless you’re really eccentric, going along with every fashion, you don’t fit in.

  2. I definitely won’t be travelling in a driverless car or bus. That’s for sure. The whole idea is crazy.

  3. Nor me; I won’t be going anywhere near a driverless vehicle, whether as a passenger, driver or pedestrian, that’s a given! The roads are dangerous enough, just imagine driving alongside a car that’s being managed by a computer. No way!

  4. Hell will freeze over before I set foot in a driverless car, LOL!

    I do think there are serious moral issues at stake here, too.

    This dependence on computers/robots has implications for safety on the roads but also for jobs. It’s a dangerous experiment (like transgenderism!) and I think the powers-that-be will live to rue the day.

  5. Personally, I don’t think a Catholic should buy a driverless car, precisely because of the ethical decisions that may need to be made in an emergency situation. I know these things can happen as it is, driving a normal car, as per the video above, but when the decision is down to a computer programme, I think we need to remember that computer programmes are not going to be seeing God on Judgment Day, LOL!

    • Nicky,

      I don’t really see it as a Catholic issue. I definitely don’t like the idea and I do think there are big moral and ethical issues to be considered, but I don’t see how Catholics are any less entitled to use one than anyone else, if they want to.

  6. I’m never going to get into a driverless car – I’m nervous enough being a passenger in a car driven by a human!

  7. I’m wondering who will pay speeding fines if these driverless cars break the speed limit, LOL!

    Seriously, I find the idea of computer-driven cars terrifying. There isn’t any need for it. I heard a radio discussion on the subject a while back and they were saying a driver could now work on his/her computer or read a book and just let the car take them to wherever they were going – it’s unbelievable.

    I’m going to join the walkers, if it comes to that!

  8. Driverless cars will eventually put all bus, taxi and other public transport drivers out of work. How will they get those folks back into meaningful employment?

    But what driver wants to sit in a driverless car being ferried about? I wouldn’t want to be passive in my own car, I enjoy the art of driving. There’s no way I’m putting my life into the hands of a robot. I have no idea why any sane government would pursue this kind of idiocy with urgency. It is clearly one of those so-called advancements in human endeavour that will do more harm than good to so many human lives. There must be some ulterior motive behind this, something the public are not being told. This is one technological leap that will not result in the good of humanity. There has to be money in it somewhere for someone. Our governments will sacrifice all morality for a profit, just look at the sell out to the EU.

    And let’s think about this: Imagine if a rogue group or State remotely hacked into the systems of robotic cars to bring about carnage. I am reminded here of the old comical adage, which is actually quite wise: “To err is human, to foul things up completely requires a computer”. Humanity has suffered great loss already since the advent of computers. I would love to see the lot of them on the scrapheap and human beings back to simpler, happier, times.

    • I think most people will prefer the skill of driving. Driving can be pleasurable and I can’t think why you would give that up, even if you could. I find I fall asleep as a passenger so I can’t see any benefit of getting in a car and doing nothing.

      I am sceptical of how good the technology actually is. It’s one thing testing them in a nice, flat track with no other cars in California. It’s another thing expecting it to drive down Renfield Street in rush hour with people walking in between traffic and buses stopping every 15 seconds and potholes in the road.

      I think the hacking element is real and the moral element is real. For that reason, I think most people will prefer to drive or have a human driver.

  9. Well, folks, I can’t help wondering if driverless cars (which concept does fill me with horror, I admit) might be a help to some of us women drivers… Take a look at the picture below, while I run for cover 😀

  10. I think these cars sound horrific. The really worrying this is that even if we don’t drive, or elect not to have a driverless car, we will all be at risk and at the mercy of computer programming. Walking down the street and a computer could decide whether or not it runs us over. Scary.

  11. Like Lily, hell will freeze over before I will get into one. Like many others I have heard stories of criminals who create viruses to hack into the computers of people, and industry for their personal gain. With driverless cars how easy will be to hack into the software of driverless cars in order to kill, or, create some other kind of havoc?

    Exactly what is in it for governments, manufacturers and others?

    • Yes, Theresa Rose et al,

      The possibilities for things to go wrong, are just frightening. I had a visitor this morning and thought I’d have a laugh by pretending that I was thinking of trading in my car for a driverless – her reaction was immediate; horrified! I had planned to keep it going for a bit, saying it would be great to be able to get on with computer work or reading a book while the car did all the work but I just couldn’t keep a straight face seeing her horror. I’ll need to practise, in preparation for further opportunities!

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