Pissing in the streets and self-driving cars

A friend sent me this article about a Scottish councillor who was recently fined for urinating in public. What was particularly ironic about it is that this councillor was responsible for closing public toilets in an effort to save money. I’ve already had a couple of rants about men pissing in the street – I’m not a fan of public urination – and then last week we discovered that public toilets get closed for the winter.

Flushing toilets were invented more than 400 years ago and Britain was apparently the first country to construct a modern sewerage system to combat disease and improve sanitation which are worthy goals. So why do people still piss in the streets?

While I’m sharing interesting articles I also came across this ethical dilemma about self-driving cars on the web recently. The question is: should self-driving cars kill their passengers to avoid hitting a large group of pedestrians? Or put more simply, is it better to swerve and kill one person – the occupant of the car – or a group of 6 pedestrians who would be run over if the car didn’t swerve. I think the answer is yes, it’s better to kill the occupant of the car, but would you buy a car that did that? I think I’ll stick with my bicycle 🙂

10 thoughts on “Pissing in the streets and self-driving cars

  1. I never liked the idea of self-driving cars. This ethical dilemma only made me hate them more. Thanks for bringing it up! Yeah, we all should bike more.

    Pissing in public surely pisses me off. I wish no one has to do that. But sometimes, people have no option!

    1. I hate cars in general regardless of whether they’re self-driving or not but it’s an interesting ethical dilemma. I would never buy a car that did that even though I think the car should kill its occupants of it means fewer deaths.

  2. Maybe the Scottish councillor thought it was preferable to piss in the street than spend money on public toilets. Talk about karma. 🙂

    As for the dilemma of self-driving cars, it’s too much for my poor brain to handle. Unless self-driving cars result in fewer accidents and provide transport for those unable to drive, I can’t see the point of them.’

  3. Wow, only 75% thought it would be moral to swerve! It would be moral to swerve, but that would be totally at odds with making the car saleable. I wonder how this question will eventually be resolved? It almost seems that it can’t be done.

    1. I think the answer is fairly straight-forward: the car needs to swerve given a “greater good” scenario. But whether this will impact on sales remains to be seen. I can’t see how it wouldn’t. I despise huge 4WDs but people buy them to protect themselves and their families in the event of a crash. However the other car or pedestrian or bike in a collision with a 4WD is likely to end up far worse than had they collided with a regular car. In some ways I view those big cars as quite selfish and unsafe to everyone on the roads except the occupants themselves. That’s why I can’t imagine people buying a self-driving car that will kill its occupants rather than a group of pedestrians.

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