Self-Driving Cars Could Save Millions Of Lives — But There’s A Catch

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Worldwide, about 1.25 million people die from auto accidents per year. Something like 95 percent of these accidents are caused by human error. So by automating driving, we could save about a million lives a year. At the same time, this change will have a huge economic impact, launching whole new industries and destroying old industries. About 10 percent of the U.S. workforce operate vehicles as part of their job, and the automation of driving will eliminate millions of jobs in the U.S. alone. But with so many lives saved, I believe it is a moral imperative to deploy the technology.By automating driving, we could save about a million lives a year.Dr. Moshe VardiWe can expect an epic battle between car companies and computer companies to dominate the driverless cars market. Also, cars will be used much more efficiently, so car ownership may plummet by up to 80 percent. We can also expect a significant productivity boost from self-driving cars, since the time we now spend behind the wheel is usually nonproductive. What will happen to the truck drivers, cab drivers and other workers who are displaced by self-driving technology?What happened to many U.S. manufacturing workers who have lost their jobs? Many have found new jobs, but many also left the workforce, which accounts for the significant drop in the U.S. labor force participation rate over the past 20 years. Not all of the workers that will be displaced by the automation of driving will be able to find new jobs.What will that mean for the U.S. economy?Our current economic system requires people to either have wealth or to work to make a living, with the assumption that the economy creates jobs for all those who need them. If this assumption breaks down — and progress in automation is likely to break it down, I believe — then we need to rethink the very basic structure of our economic system.For example, we may have to consider instituting Basic Income Guarantee, which means that all citizens or residents of a country regularly receive an unconditional sum of money, in addition to any income received from elsewhere.ASSOCIATED PRESSThe Actros autonomous truck by Mercedes-Benz drives on a public motorway in Germany.Do you share concerns about the rise of artificial intelligence — that intelligent machines will one day do us all in?Elon Musk and others are worried about AI systems developing autonomy and agency. At this point, we are incredibly far from being able to build such systems, so these worries seem a bit theoretical to me. In 25 years it might make sense to talk about a possible threat, but now such talk is really fear-mongering. We simply do not have enough facts to think about such threats.The threat to jobs, however, is imminent and deserves our immediate attention, while we continue to monitor for other emerging threats.What about the development of military robots capable of mounting attacks without input from humans?Many people now call for banning what’s being called LAWS — Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems — by an international treaty. The challenge is to define autonomy. What kind of human input is sufficient for “killer robots”? What about a robot that kills an enemy solider without human input in order to save our own soldiers? These issues need to be fully hashed out.

Source: Self-Driving Cars Could Save Millions Of Lives — But There’s A Catch

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