Self-Driving Cars #366

April 22, 2016

This week on Science for the People, we’re talking with three guests about the technology challenges, possible repercussions, and ethical quandaries of self-driving cars. We'll speak with University of Waterloo Professor and Director of the Waterloo Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory Steven Waslander about the technological hurdles involved in creating autonomous road vehicles, and how these problems might be solved. Author and technologist Martin Ford will help us better understand how a world of driverless cars will impact job markets, and what automation means for the future of work. Chief Ethics Analyst of the Open Roboethics Initiative and University of Ottawa Postdoctoral Fellow Jason Millar joins us to discuss the ethical questions that arise for engineers and programmers when we take the driver out of the car.

Guests:

  • Steven Waslander
  • Martin Ford
  • Jason Millar

Guest Bios

Steven Waslander

Professor Steven Waslander received his B.Sc.E.in 1998 from Queen's University, his M.S. in 2002, and his Ph.D. in 2007, both from Stanford University in Aeronautics and Astronautics. He was a Control Systems Analyst for Pratt & Whitney Canada from 1998 to 2001. In 2008, he joined the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, ON, Canada, as an Assistant Professor, and he is the Director of the Waterloo Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory. His research interests are in the areas of autonomous aerial and ground vehicles, simultaneous localization and mapping, nonlinear estimation and control, and multi-vehicle systems.

Martin Ford

Martin Ford is the founder of a Silicon Valley-based software development firm and the author of two books: The New York Times Bestselling "Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future", and "The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future". He has over 25 years experience in the fields of computer design and software development. He holds a computer engineering degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a graduate business degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has written for publications including The New York Times, Fortune, Forbes, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Project Syndicate, The Huffington Post and The Fiscal Times. Martin is a frequent keynote speaker on the subject of accelerating progress in robotics and artificial intelligence – and what these advances mean for the economy, job market and society of the future.

Jason Millar

Jason Millar is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, where he researches the ethics and governance of robotics and automation technologies. In addition, he teaches philosophy at Carleton University, he is the Chief Ethics Analyst at the Open Roboethics Initiative, and a member of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics Organizing Committee. He has a degree in engineering physics, and worked for several years designing telecommunications and aerospace electronics before turning his full-time attention to issues in applied ethics, philosophy and technology. Jason has authored book chapters, reports, and articles on robot ethics, design ethics, privacy, and science and technology policy. His work on design ethics and autonomous cars has been featured internationally in the media.

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