With the rapid approach of self-driving cars, we are poised to yield autonomy to millions of machines that will have the power over life and death. The road to this future has a bright promise, but as we are beginning to see, there are numerous psychological roadblocks. Many of these involve thorny ethical challenges that come when the moral decisions that are today made by individual drivers are turned over to preprogrammed algorithms. How should these cars be programmed to mete out risks to the various people on road? Who determines the ethics of these algorithms? I will discuss the recent work with my collaborators on the social psychology and legal implications of these moral machines. 

Presenter biography

Dr Azim Shariff is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia where he holds the Canada 150 Research Chair of Moral Psychology. His research on morality, religion, and technology regularly receives global media coverage, and has appeared in top academic journals such as Science and Nature. He has written about this work for The New York Times and Scientific American, and has spoken at the Aspen Ideas Festival and World Science Festival in New York. He teaches a free Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on The Science of Religion for the public through edX.


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