“Australia must stop blindly adopting technology that impacts negatively on the moral underpinnings of our society. We are already doing this by allowing technology giants to use apps to strip away rights from workers in the on-demand economy. We cannot allow this to occur by bringing in technology that has the capacity to decide who or what to hit during vehicle crashes,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
“Ethical rules will ensure whatever technology is operating in Australia meets specific standards. This should include ensuring that human health and safety takes precedence over damage to property or animals. It should also ensure in unavoidable crash situations that software algorithms do not distinguish between individuals based on age, gender, race, etc,” he said.
The National Transport Commission has outlined trials of automated driving systems are already taking place in Australia, with limited commercial vehicles expected from 2020.
A recent TWU submission to a Senate Select Committee on the Future of Work and Workers highlighted the ethical dilemma. It states: “There is a need to regulate this space early and decisively in Australia to ensure that we are not led down this dangerous and morally hazardous path. Humans must be in control of these critical decisions.”
Germany has begun to develop ethical rules on how driverless vehicles are developed. Germany passed legislation last year requiring a driver to be behind the wheel of an autonomous vehicles at all times ready to take control if prompted to do so.
Link to TWU submission: bit.ly/TWU_SUBMISSION