We've been writing on this for a while, the idea of a machine being better than man when it comes to performing a variety of tasks. Sunday night, an autonomous Uber car, with an emergency backup driver experienced a crippling setback. The vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. This is sadly the first of what we can assume will be many autonomous car woes.We've said before that we're huge fans of technology and all that it does for us. We hold in our hands with modern smartphones, more computing power than what was used to put a man on the moon. Our connection to the digital world is almost instantaneous and prolific. We don't even stop for a moment to think of how far we've come in the last thirty years. But have we come too far, too fast?
There is no doubt that self-driving cars will be a thing of the future. The way technology is moving, rapidly towards automation freeing up minutes and hours of our days with menial tasks, we've no doubt that autonomous cars will be part of our future, allowing us to focus on work or other tasks during our daily commutes, or even rest while we navigate the highways and city streets. Is the technology there yet? Even with a backup driver the pedestrian was still hit and killed.Was it the backup driver's fault? Did they take over and make a poor decision when the computer would have prevented the loss of life? Or did they stand idly by hoping that the computer would do its job? These autonomous car woes present an ethical dilemma. If the driver took over and the computer would have prevented this loss of life, how do we react? Take all of the backup drivers out? What if it was the computers fault and the driver could have prevented it? This situation is more complicated than it may seem and far be it from us to condemn progress, we merely ask...at what cost?
We don't possess the technical and sophisticated knowledge base that the designers of these autonomous systems do, but we do possess the ability to question whether or not this technology is ready to be on the streets.