Ethical Issues in the New Digital Era: The Case of Assisting Driving [chapter]

Joan Cahill, Katie Crowley, Sam Cromie, Alison Kay, Michael Gormley, Eamonn Kenny, Sonja Hermman, Ciaran Doyle, Ann Hever, Robert Ross
2020 Ethics, Laws, and Policies for Privacy, Security, and Liability [Working Title]  
Mobility is associated with driving a vehicle. Age-related declines in the abilities of older persons present certain obstacles to safe driving. The negative effects of driving cessation on older adults' physical, mental, cognitive, and social functioning are well reported. Automated driving solutions represent a potential solution to promoting driver persistence and the management of fitness to drive issues in older adults. Technology innovation influences societal values and raises ethical
more » ... d raises ethical questions. The advancement of new driving solutions raises overarching questions in relation to the values of society and how we design technology (a) to promote positive values around ageing, (b) to enhance ageing experience, (c) to protect human rights, (d) to ensure human benefit and (e) to prioritise human well-being. To this end, this chapter reviews the relevant ethical considerations in relation to assisted driving solutions. Further, it presents a new ethically aligned system concept for assisted driving. It is argued that human benefit, well-being and respect for human identity and rights are important goals for new automated driving technologies. Enabling driver persistence is an issue for all of society and not just older adult. 2 to maintaining a licence include vision, physical health and cognitive health [5] . Research indicates that cognitive abilities are important enabling factors for safe driving [6] . Research also indicates that adaptive strategies are essential to maintaining the normal parameters of driving safety in the face of illness and disability [7] . Age-related declines in the abilities of older adults provide certain obstacles to safe driving. A 2001 survey by the OECD found that 15% of those 65 or older had stopped driving, while an overwhelming number of those who continued to drive were very selective about when they did so [8] . In general, driving cessation has been linked to increasing age, socioeconomic factors, and declining function and health [9] . Negative effects of driving cessation on older adults' physical, mental, cognitive, and social functioning have been extensively studied [10] [11] [12] . Many automotive companies are developing and/or testing driverless cars. Largely, the proposed solutions follow established automation models such as the six levels of automation as defined by NHTSA [13] . Driver assistance technology presents a potential solution to problems pertaining to driver persistence and the management of fitness to drive issues in older adults. As this technology is not fully implemented and in use by the public, it is very difficult to both predict and assess its potential ethical implications and impact. Should the purpose of these systems go beyond safety? Is full automation an appropriate solution to effectively managing the apparent conflict between two goals-(1) promoting driver persistence and (2) ensuring road safety? That is, is it appropriate to enable an older driver to continue driving, even if there is a risk of a serious accident given their medical background? With crashes also comes the question of liability. Currently, lawmakers are considering who is liable when an autonomous car is involved in an accident. Such discussions raise many complex legal and ethical questions. Largely, the literature around ethics and driverless cars appears to focus on issues pertaining to (1) addressing conflict dilemmas on the road (machine ethics), (2) privacy and (3) minimising technology misuse/cybersecurity risks. These are indeed important ethical issues. However, the literature and public debate tends to avoid other serious ethical issues-specifically, issues concerning (1) the intended use and purpose of this technology, (5) the role of the person/driver (including older adult drivers) and (6) issues pertaining to the potential negative consequences of this technology. In relation to (6), this concerns the social consequences of this technology and the potential impact on older adult identity and well-being. The future is indeed unknown. The advancement of new driving solutions raises overarching questions in relation to the values of society and how we design technology to: (a) promote positive values around ageing and enhancing ageing experience, (b) protect human rights, (c) ensure human benefit and (d) prioritise well-being. Specifically, it raises fundamental questions in relation to the value we place on promoting autonomy and social participation for older adults and optimising quality of life/well-being. The public opinion on self-driving cars (including solutions for older adults) will determine the extent to which people will purchase and accept such systems [14] . We should not proceed with this technology just because it is available. Critically, designers must carefully consider the human dimensions of this technology and its social implications. To this end, this chapter reviews the relevant ethical considerations in relation to assisted driving solutions. Further, it presents a new ethically aligned system concept for driver assistance. In so doing, it addresses the philosophical principles that underlie the proposed driving system concept, and specifically, the role of the person. Ethics, rights, digital ethics and ontological design Ethics concerns the moral principles that govern a person's behaviour or how an activity is conducted [15] . A key distinction in ethics is the distinction between that 3
doi:10.5772/intechopen.88371 fatcat:amk4gjvnora3vafwhubfhizckm