The self-driving car is coming. We anticipate it with a mixture of bemusement, disquiet, and excitement, all converging in disbelief: It’s not possible, not really. But it is not just possible but a virtual—so to speak—certainty, within perhaps a decade.
It’s 2032 and you’re heading into town in your self-driving car. You are alone, asleep in the back seat. Unbeknownst to you, a drama looms ahead. A child runs in front of your autonomous vehicle without warning. The car brakes, but since it is going at a fair pelt, it must swerve as well—to the left or right.
Side - Road - Car - Jasmine - Jones
On the left-hand side of the road another car is approaching, driven by Jasmine Jones, a 23-year-old computer programmer who works for Waymo, owned by Google (as it happens, Waymo manufactured your car). Jones has just started her first job, having completed her PhD in Gender Truth. She and her boyfriend Ignatius Pope have just set the date for their marriage, which is to take place in six months’ time, and put down a deposit on a home. Ignatius works as an algorithm formulator for Waymo’s main competitor, Tesla, the market leader.
Walking toward your vehicle on the right-hand sidewalk is retired philosopher and pro-life activist Fred Taylor, who is 72 and has just that day received a diagnosis of prostate cancer. He is a widower and has three adult children, all living long distances away, who call him occasionally but visit rarely. Behind Prof. Taylor is a green hedge; on Jasmine Jones’s side a high concrete wall.
Computer - Car - GPS - Lidar - Sensors
The computer responsible for driving your car, using GPS, lidar, and other sensors, divines all this information in a split nanosecond and steers rightward, knocking down Fred Taylor. He will later be taken to hospital and pronounced dead-on-arrival. You awake to find your vehicle shuddering to a...
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