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Would you save a woman, a child or a DOG in a car crash? Interactive game that reveals how people act in life or death situations is helping to develop 'moral machines' for self-driving cars (6 Pics)

An experiment has investigated human morality and ranked countries based on who they would save in the event of a certain death situation.
The findings reveal the value of life varies according to different countries, with French people, for example, were far more likely to save women than men.
Lithuania ranks in the top 10 for sparing both the young and the healthy.
The four most spared characters in the game are a baby, a little girl, a little boy and a pregnant woman. 
The game posed difficult ethical decisions such as choosing between the lives of a family of four crossing the road and a group of pensioners going the other way. 
Quandaries like this will one day be faced by autonomous vehicles that will be programmed with algorithms that place a value on human life.
Play the Moral Machine here
Difficult ethical decisions such as picking whether to save a family of four crossing the road or a group of pensioners going the other way pitted people against their own sense of humanity. Children were heavily favoured and animals and criminals ranked at the bottom 

Tests into the moral decision making of almost forty million people around the world, including the UK, have found that the lives of women and men are widely held in equal regard.
France however bucks the trend as saving the lives of women have far more wight than those of men. 
Dr Edmond Awad, of the MIT Media Lab, who is lead author, said: 'The study is basically trying to understand the kinds of moral decisions that driverless cars might have to resort to. We don't know yet how they should do that.
He added, 'We found that there are three elements that people seem to approve of the most.
'These were that human lives are spared over animals, that the lives of many people are spared rather than a few, and preserving the lives of the young, rather than the old. Dr Awad added: The main preferences were to some degree universally agreed upon.
'But the degree to which they agree with this or not varies among different groups or countries.'  
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ran a series of computer simulations that posed a problem where an accident involving a vehicle is imminent. 
The participant sees a car travelling down the left side of a road and a variety of options are proposed. 
One example of the test was that the car can either swerve into a concrete bollard or mow down pedestrians, choosing between killing humans or dogs and picking whether children or adults should survive. 
Intriguingly, the UK was more likely to take no action than many countries around the world - coming 16th in the world rankings of 'preferring inaction'


Tests into the moral decision making of almost forty million people around the world, including the UK, have found that the lives of women and men are widely held in equal regard
Other categories investigated by the team are: preferring inaction, sparing pedestrians, females, fit and healthy people, the lawful, people of higher social status, younger people, more people and prioritising human life over animal life.  
The research is intended to help designers create intelligent vehicles that can make split-second decisions on what to do in the wake of an accident. 
The researchers write in the study: 'Never in the history of humanity have we allowed a machine to autonomously decide who should live and who should die, in a fraction of a second, without real-time supervision. 
'We are going to cross that bridge any time now.'
The fascinating findings highlight how morality differs around the world.
In a world ranking out of 117 countries, Britain came only 71st in sparing the lives of women rather than men and in 34th place for saving the life of a child rather than an adult.
The four most spared characters in the game are a baby, a little girl, a little boy and the pregnant woman (pictured)

In a world ranking out of 117 countries, Britain came only 71st in sparing the lives of women rather than men and in 34th place for saving the life of a child rather than an adult
This compares to the French - in first place when it came to sparing the life of a child over an adult, and in second place overall for saving a woman's life.
When it came to sparing a human life, rather than an animal's, we were 56th place overall.
People in the US were more likely to save a woman's life over a man's than Brits - with the Americans coming 47th in the league table.
Intriguingly, the UK was more likely to take no action than many countries around the world - coming 16th in the world rankings of 'preferring inaction'.
Topping the list of countries who preferred to take no action was Myanmar, who also came 3rd for sparing more people.   
The strong preference most countries in the world have for sparing the lives of children could pose a problem for policy makers.
The results were split into three broad categories. The first cluster contains North America as well as many European countries. The second contains many far eastern countries such as Japan and Taiwan and the third consists of the Latin American countries (pictured)
In Germany, for instance, a number of ethical rules to guide car-makers have been devised.
German Ethical Rule number 9 states 'no distinction' based on personal features such as age, should be allowed for AI systems driving cars. 
The researchers found a less pronounced tendency to favour younger people, rather than the elderly, in what they defined as an 'eastern' cluster of countries, including many in Asia. 
The paper, 'The Moral Machine Experiment,' is being published in Nature.

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