Chinese autonomous vehicles are likely to choose pedestrians in the street instead of endangering their passengers, according to a global…
Chinese autonomous vehicles are likely to choose pedestrians in the street instead of endangering their passengers, according to a global study initiated by the research institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Same research also found the Chinese are likely to save the old over young in all accidents with their self-propelled vehicles.
These results were collected from one of the largest studies ever made on global moral preferences, an experiment called “Moral Machine” according to a report published on Thursday of MIT Technology Review .
It said that MIT Media Lab created a game-like online platform in 201
4 to make people’s decisions about how autonomous vehicles would give priority to variations of the classic “carriage problem” – what lives could be saved by a person with some control over a metaphorical carriage.
 Researchers at MIT Media Lab took the idea of testing nine different comparisons that proved to polarize people, according to Review . These included the choice of a self-propelled vehicle to prioritize people over pets, passengers over pedestrians, more lives over fewer, women over men, young over old and fit over sickness.
The experiment generated 39.6 million decisions in 10 languages, gathered from millions of people in 233 countries and territories, and an analysis of these data was presented in a new paper published by the British Scientific Journal Nature .
“We used the carriage problem because it’s a very good way to collect these data, but we hope the discussion about ethics is not within that theme,” said Edmond Awad, author of the paper. “The discussion should go Further to risk analysis – about who is more risky or less risky – instead of saying who will die or not, and also about how bias happens. “
The MIT Media Lab study has been due to the rapid development and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) technology around the world, which has raised concerns about how machines will solve moral dilemmas.
Decisions on the ethical principles governing AI behind autonomous vehicles can not be left solely in the hands of engineers or labels, according to researchers. That’s why consumers and the public need to understand the principles that are programmed in self-propelled vehicles.
Compared with Chinese, the Moral Machine study found that Japanese autonomous cars are likely to save pedestrians’ lives over passengers. However, like the Chinese, it was also found that Japanese could save the old ones over young in accidents with their drivers without a car.
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By comparison, the French, Greek and Canadian users of autonomous cars are more likely to save young over the old according to the study .
It also found autonomous car users from France, Israel and the United Kingdom are likely to gain weight.
These findings represented what researchers called a cluster pattern, which indicates that geographic and cultural proximity may allow groups of territories to have common preferences for mechanical engineering. 
Japan, China and South Korea belong to the so-called East cluster, belonging to the Confucian culture group. This cluster also contains Islamic countries.
The so-called western cluster encompasses both North America and many European countries with Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christian groups. A third group, the southern cluster, comprises the countries of Central and South America.
The MIT media lab researchers expect the results of their experiments to help drive a global conversation to express preferences for companies that design AI behind autonomous vehicles and government policy makers who will regulate these machines.
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Such talks have to be made in China, as the country’s flourishing automotive industry has attracted both traditional automakers and high-tech companies. Chinese online giants Baidu, Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding, the parent company in South China Morning Post have already started road tests on the mainland for their autonomous vehicles.
It underlines China’s efforts to win leadership in developing next generation cars with autonomous driving technology and internet connectivity. One of each new car sold in the country will be equipped with smart and at least partially autonomous features by 2020, according to guidelines established by the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s powerful planning agency, earlier this year.
A McKinsey report in April predicts autonomous vehicles to tell 13 percent of passenger kilometers traveled in China in 2030 and increase to 66 percent in 2040. It expected that the number of self-propelled cars on the domestic market reaches 8 million in 2030 and 13.5 million in 2040.