Crowdsourcing Moral Machines

Edmond Awad, Sohan Dsouza, Jean-François Bonnefon, Azim Shariff, Iyad Rahwan
Communications of the ACM, March 2020, Vol. 63 No. 3, Pages 48-55


Robots and other artificial intelligence (AI) systems are transitioning from performing well-defined tasks in closed environments to becoming significant physical actors in the real world. No longer confined within the walls of factories, robots will permeate the urban environment, moving people and goods around, and performing tasks alongside humans. Perhaps the most striking example of this transition is the imminent rise of automated vehicles (AVs). AVs promise numerous social and economic advantages. They are expected to increase the efficiency of transportation, and free up millions of person-hours of productivity. Even more importantly, they promise to drastically reduce the number of deaths and injuries from traffic accidents.12,30 Indeed, AVs are arguably the first human-made artifact to make autonomous decisions with potential life-and-death consequences on a broad scale. This marks a qualitative shift in the consequences of design choices made by engineers.