Journal of Applied Philosophy 38 (4):630-645 (2021)

Antti Kauppinen
University of Helsinki
The moral importance of liability to harm has so far been ignored in the lively debate about what self-driving vehicles should be programmed to do when an accident is inevitable. But liability matters a great deal to just distribution of risk of harm. While morality sometimes requires simply minimizing relevant harms, this is not so when one party is liable to harm in virtue of voluntarily engaging in activity that foreseeably creates a risky situation, while having reasonable alternatives. On plausible assumptions, merely choosing to use a self-driving vehicle typically gives rise to a degree of liability, so that such vehicles should be programmed to shift the risk from bystanders to users, other things being equal. Insofar vehicles cannot be programmed to take all the factors affecting liability into account, there is a pro tanto moral reason not to introduce them, or restrict their use.
Keywords self-driving vehicles  ethics of artificial intelligence  robot ethics  liability in accident situations
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DOI 10.1111/japp.12490
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References found in this work BETA

Self-Defense.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1991 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 20 (4):283-310.
Killing in Self‐Defense.Jonathan Quong - 2009 - Ethics 119 (3):507-537.
The Basis of Moral Liability to Defensive Killing.Jeff McMahan - 2005 - Philosophical Issues 15 (1):386–405.

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