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December Monthly Meeting

Discussion: Social, Ethical, and Regulatory Obstacles Facing Self-Driving Cars

with Edmond Awad, MIT Media Lab

6:00–7:30 pm


Free dinner and drinks provided!


Proponents of self-driving cars, such as President Obama, assure us they will be safer and more efficient than today's cars. However, many questions still remain regarding their widespread adoption. Imagine a scenario where the only way a car can avoid running over a group of pedestrians is to swerve into a wall. Sacrificing itself and its passenger may be safer in terms of fewer lives lost, but would you buy such a vehicle? Research from MIT shows that most people would not. Should the algorithms behind such decisions be regulated, and if so, on what basis? If self-driving cars are safer than human drivers, should manual driving be outlawed? We will be joined by Edmond Awad, a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab, to discuss these questions and more.


Additional resources:

Moral Machine - interactive website where you get to decide what the self-driving car should do.

Self-Driving Cars Gain Powerful Ally: The Government (New York Times)

What to Know Before You Get in a Self-Driving Car (MIT Technology Review)

Later Event: January 23
Science Policy Bootcamp