Why Humans Humanize Self-Driving Cars

A recent article presents the findings of a study examining the question of how humans will assign or cope with blame for collisions caused by self-driving cars. The findings present insight on how humans will interact with technology in the future.
JD Hancock / Flickr

Adam Waytz details the method and findings of research into the reactions of test subjects to self-driving cars: "people’s responses to driving an autonomous car suggests that people are exceedingly willing to grant these cars’ humanlike intelligence, and the more humanlike features the car conveys—when the car possesses a name, voice, and gender—the more people trust it to operate competently, as a human driver would."

The article repeatedly references a morbid juxtaposition behind the dehumanizing aspects of war and the humanizing rituals of test subjects after they experience collisions in self-driving cars. Here's why the comparison matters: "Beyond addressing questions about how we will assign blame to the autonomous nonhumans of tomorrow (insurance companies are surely taking notes), these findings also give insight into the inverse process of dehumanization. Just as the mere addition of a voice and gender leads people to treat the car as humanlike, when we fail to perceive these features in other people, we are more likely to treat them as mindless objects."

Full Story: Seeing Human

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from six cities with red or blue trim.
$55.00

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00