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Machines Will Soon Be Able to Imitate Human Moral Behavior

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The view out the front of a virtual vehicle.

Participants were seated at the wheel of a virtual car driving towards a set of obstacles in a suburban setting. A collision was unavoidable, and participants were only given the choice, which of the two obstacles they would spare, and which one they woul

Credit: Universitt Osnabrck

Researchers at Osnabrueck University in Germany recently published a study highlighting the feasibility of incorporating human moral decision-making into machines, and suggesting that autonomous vehicles will soon be able to handle moral dilemmas in road traffic.

To define rules and guidelines for autonomous vehicles, the researchers established a two-step process. First, the moral decisions of people in critical situations were analyzed, and then this behavior was described statistically to derive rules that can be used by machines, according to Osnabrueck professor Gordon Pipa.

The researchers put both steps in practice with virtual reality to observe the behavior of participants in simulated traffic situations. They found that in moral dilemma situations, human moral behavior can be explained by simple models based on values of life assigned to each person, animal, and object.

The researchers say they now need to decide on the influence of moral values on the guidelines for machine behavior.

From Osnabrueck University
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Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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