Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Walter Block on Driverless Cars

The following email exchange took place between Dr. Walter Block and Yossi Levanoni:

From: Yossi Levanoni
Subject: Will your driverless car kill you so others may live? - LA Times


Paging Walter Block - who should regulate the applied ethics algorithms of driverless cars? Of course this statist philosophy professor thinks the government should. But the question of liability is interesting in a libertarian framework as well. Are you guys aware of Isaac Asimov's laws of robotics? They revolved around similar ethical dilemmas. The interesting differences relative to a human driver are two fold:

1/ the driverless car may be offered as a service, potentially reducing the ownership and hence liability of the passenger.

2/ a human driver doesn't have to formulate ahead of time their ethical driving principles, whereas a computer program fully specifies its intentions.

 Hope you find this interesting, too.

Dear Yossi:

My response is that in the libertarian society, all roads and highways would be privately owned, and the proprietors of them would make any and all such decisions.

See this book of mine in which I make the case for private roads:

 Best regards,


 Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics

Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business                

Loyola University New Orleans

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