Showing posts from March, 2018

Death by software - crimes of programmers and their robot cars

Last Sunday night a programmer inadvertently killed a woman with software. We know where he works but he has not been charged with any crime. The place of business was  Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and one of the 400 programmers there directed a self-driving car in Tempe, AZ to ignore and strike Elaine Herzberg, a pedestrian, crossing a wide four lane street with stoplights and well-marked crosswalks. We know that accidents happen because drivers make mistakes. We know accidents happen because pedestrians make mistakes. But this is the first time that there's been an interaction between a programmer and a pedestrian where someone died that I know of. A  Washington Post  article quoted a Duke engineering professor,   Dr. Mary Cummings , saying that  the federal government does not require the programmers to perform any testing on their software  before placing these nearly two-ton autonomous machines in close proximity to people who do