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December 2016 Vol. 57

Investigating the moral machine

What should a self-driving vehicle do when faced with a life-or-death scenario? That's loosely the question behind a new crowdsourcing platform created by the Scalable Cooperation Group at the MIT Media Lab. Researchers want to get people talking about morality and machine intelligence. The Moral Machine project does this by asking for visitors to participate in the "judging" process. In each scenario, participants are presented with two options and asked to determine which option is more acceptable. Should, for example, the self-driving car kill a pedestrian crossing the street and save the passenger, or should the car kill the passenger and save the pedestrian? Is there a lesser of two evils? Edmond Awad and Sohan Dsouza, the two research assistants responsible for developing the site, want humans to weigh in. Awad and Dsouza sat down with SearchCIO recently to talk about the site, the problem with the data they're collecting and the findings they've uncovered since the site launched in June. What is the Moral Machine? Edmond ...

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