Introducing Ethical Thinking about Autonomous Vehicles into an AI Course

Summary Within the context of a artificial intelligence course, students are taught to identify ethical issues within technical projects and to engage in moral problem solving with regard to such issues.
Topics Ethical issues in technology, critical thinking, moral problem solving, machine learning,targeting algorithms.
Audience Introductory, intermediate, or advanced AI students
Difficulty The baseline assignment is suitable for students at any level. Optimally, instructors should set aside two and a half hours of classtime to complete the activity. However, this time frame may be adjusted based on the needs of a particular class.
Strengths Students are introduced to a complex ethical issue in a focused and entertaining way. They learn to connect seemingly abstract philosophical issues to a real-life technical challenge. Additionally, they develop skills in moral problem solving.
Weaknesses This assignment raises complex and potentially intractable ethical issues. As a result some students may become frustrated by the lack of an immediate and definite solution to the problem. To remedy this the instructor should emphasize that this assignment is only intended to introduce students to the identification of moral issues in technology and to familiarize them with the process of moral problem solving. .
Dependencies No prerequisite skills or knowledge required.
Variants Instructors are provided with sample cases for discussion, however they are free to construct their own cases for class review.Instructors are also encouraged to solicit cases from students during the exercise. This allows instructors to tailor the assignment to suite the interests of the class. The assignment is an independent modal and as such may be inserted into any AI course to add an ethical dimension to the existing material.