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The self-driving car trolley problem has received undue focus in the automation ethics literature. It is unrealistic in two important ways: First, it fails to respect well-established truths of vehicle dynamics relating to tire friction, and second, it misrepresents the information environment that self-driving cars will respond to. Further, the problem induces readers to treat the car as an agent, thereby shielding the agency of car designers and operators from scrutiny. This problem is illustrated through an analysis of the reporting of the first pedestrian fatality caused by a self-driving car, in Tempe, Arizona on March 18th, 2018.

In: Artificial Intelligence
Reflections in Philosophy, Theology, and the Social Sciences
This book discusses major issues of the current AI debate from the perspectives of philosophy, theology, and the social sciences: Can AI have a consciousness? Is superintelligence possible and probable? How does AI change individual and social life? Can there be artificial persons? What influence does AI have on religious worldviews? In Western societies, we are surrounded by artificially intelligent systems. Most of these systems are embedded in online platforms. But embodiments of AI, be it by voice or by actual physical embodiment, give artificially intelligent systems another dimension in terms of their impact on how we perceive these systems, how they shape our communication with them and with fellow humans and how we live and work together. AI in any form gives a new twist to the big questions that humanity has concerned herself with for centuries: What is consciousness? How should we treat each other - what is right and what is wrong? How do our creations change the world we are living in? Which challenges do we have to face in the future?