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Abstract

The impending introduction of self-driving cars poses a new stage of complexity not only in technical requirements but in the ethical challenges it evokes. The question of which ethical principles to use for the programming of crash algorithms, especially in response to so-called dilemma situations, is one of the most controversial moral issues discussed. This paper critically investigates the rationale behind rule utilitarianism as to whether and how it might be adequate to guide ethical behaviour of autonomous cars in driving dilemmas. Three core aspects related to the rule utilitarian concept are discussed with regards to their relevance for the given context: the universalization principle, the ambivalence of compliance issues, and the demandingness objection. It is concluded that a rule utilitarian approach might be useful for solving driverless car dilemmas only to a limited extent. In particular, it cannot provide the exclusive ethical criterion when evaluated from a practical point of view. However, it might still be of conceptual value in the context of a pluralist solution.

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?