Article on the Ethics of Self-Driving Cars Highlights Philosophical Questions Surrounding the Car Accidents of the Future, Notes Raymond R. Hassanlou

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Commenting on the recent article, the Los Angeles area personal injury attorney points out that the new automotive technology could lead to unprecedented new ethical and legal issues.

Self-driving cars would likely make driving safer, but they would surely come with their own set of legal questions.

The majority of these types of potential situations would involve a driverless vehicle, which doesn’t have time to stop, deciding where to divert the car to cause the least amount of damage.

In an article published November 9th in The Daily, the author discussed the various moral and philosophical questions that will likely arise when a large number of self-driving cars begin hitting the road. The author explains that, as self-driving cars get programed to react appropriately in more and more roadway situations, programmers might have to make tough decisions surrounding what the computer will tell the car to do when certain types of dilemmas pop up. According to Los Angeles personal injury attorney Raymond R. Hassanlou, while the article outlined a very specific situation, the majority of these types of potential situations would involve a driverless vehicle, which doesn’t have time to stop, deciding where to divert the car to cause the least amount of damage.

Mr. Hassanlou explains that, in these split-second situations, most humans do not have the time to make a calculated decision about what to do, and usually rely on instincts or muscle memory to divert their vehicle in the way that they think might cause the least amount of damage or injury, either to themselves or others. While it will likely be a long time before computers can make many of the tough decisions that the human brain makes on a daily basis, it is true that computers, with the right data, can make relatively objective determinations of risk in a fraction of a second. Mr. Hassanlou notes that it is not out of the questions that, as engineers constantly work to improve the field of information that these computers take in to make these decisions, technology could be incorporated to let the computer know which path of diversion could minimize casualties and injuries.

Where this may become an issue, Mr. Hassanlou explains, is if a computer makes a calculation to divert the car in a way that would knowingly injure one or more people in an effort to save an even greater number from harm. While a computer program designed to save the maximum number of people from harm doesn’t sounds controversial, there could certainly be grievances brought forth by anyone who ended up on the wrong end of that split-second calculation. Put simply, Mr. Hassanlou posits that if a self-driving car hit a car driven by an elderly passenger as a last-ditch effort to avoid hitting a van full of young children, a severely injured elderly passenger could likely seek damages against whoever is determined responsible for the algorithm that led to that decision.

Mr. Hassanlou concludes that, while this possibility is still likely decades away from occurring, it is just one of an infinite number of uncharted legal situations that would require the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to overcome. For more information about the work that Raymond Hassanlou has done for his clients, visit the Law Office of Raymond R. Hassanlou online or call him today at 818-945-0640.

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Law Offices of Raymond R. Hassanlou
since: 03/2015
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