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Archive for the 'personal' Category

Discussing the Ethics of Driverless Cars

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

This morning we got into a discussion about the complexity of designing ethical driverless cars that meet social expectations. That’s a hard subject to articulate. Mostly because there isn’t just one ethical framework; but also because there is probably no way to produce an ethical car that passengers would step inside for a journey. We can’t even produce a safe car. Imagine if the car could insist, for the greater good, that you die.

When I see discussion about the design of an ethical driverless car the question, at least for me, becomes “Which ethical framework are we talking about?” Utiliarianism? Kant’s Categorical Imperative? Ethical Rights analysis? There is no hard and fast ethical regimen that would hold true in all cases.

In Utilitarian analysis, for the greater good, the car might be designed to sacrifice one driver so the family of five in another car survives. But what if the other car was at fault? Is it ethical to sacrifice the single driver so an oncoming carload who made an error would be spared? Do we count five lives against the one life; or, do we count each life as being of equal value to the individuals involved? Are younger lives more valuable than older lives? Would your gender, weight, health, criminal record or race be taken into account? Who makes that judgement? In the real World the Utilitarian perspective is a very cold calculation.

And if we run with Kant’s Categorical Imperative then the maxim might be something like: “All cars will kill all drivers all the time.” Or, “No cars will kill any drivers any of the time.” I’d take a punt that the second is the maxim that makes sense. Ethical driverless cars should never kill drivers.

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Our Sweet Little Valentines Day at Low Head

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Last weekend we drove to Northern Tasmania for a lovely Valentines Day. It was beautiful at Low Head, regardless of the smoke emanating from Tasmania’s unprecedented fire season. And it was nice to share where I grew up as a boy with the woman who shares my life and closest thoughts. My lover. Confidante. Soul mate.

We stayed at the Low Head Pilot Station for two nights in Boatcrew West (at $180 per night). Wooden floors, a reasonable sized bedroom, a lounge room with a comfortable couch and television, a kitchen with cooking facilities and a surprisingly luxurious bathroom. The Low Head Pilot Station was quiet, we could cook and come and go as we felt like it; and there were a lot of those ungodly carnal noises our neighbours complained about when we inhabited a rental flat in New Town.

When I was a teenager this pilot station still housed the crew for the pilot boat. In storms they’d rush out on their little orange boat and save yachtsmen from the dangerous reefs at the mouth of the Tamar River and in the calmer days they would guide in the large tankers that avoid reefs and rocks by the length of a long stick. It’s a dangerous river.

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Celebrating our Two Year Coffee Anniversary

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Two years ago this morning I waited for Megan in the crowded carpark of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. I had my Zenza Bronica ETRS medium format camera and hoped to have an enjoyable coffee with somebody I’d grown to enjoy on Twitter. The moment she got out of her car I was smitten. That’s how life turns on a dime some days and I have never been happier.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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