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Winter School: "Ethics of Autonomous Vehicles" (2 ECTS)

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Conférencier : Antonio Bikić & Adriano Mannino
Date de l'événement : lundi 21 janvier 2019 10:00 - vendredi 25 janvier 2019 16:00
Lieu : Maison du Savoir (MSA), Room 4.510 + "Black Box", Maison des Sciences Humaines (MSH)

Imagine you are steering a car and facing the dilemmatic choice of either killing one biker or two pedestrians - it is no longer possible to avoid human casualties. Should you save the greater number, i.e., kill the biker? Or should you (time allowing) randomise your decision, i.e., toss a fair coin, so as to allocate every person involved an equal 50% survival chance? Or would fairness require a weighted lottery, i.e., allocating a 1/3 survival chance to the biker and a 2/3 chance to the pedestrians? Moreover, what if the pedestrians broke the traffic law and are responsible for the dilemma arising in the first place? Should they be "punished" by receiving a 0% survival chance, i.e., should you save the biker?

Questions pertaining to interpersonal dilemmas are but a subset of the ethical challenges autonomous vehicles confront us with.
Other issues to be discussed include the question of moral responsibility and legal liability in case a vehicle’s algorithm causes an accident; whether algorithms can, metaphysically and legally, become so complex as to acquire "personhood" and a genuine capacity for decision-making and action; whether dilemmas of the above kind - one biker versus two pedestrians - have the same solution if you are driving versus just pre-programming the car (principal-agent problem); whether and how ethical theories can be formalised and implemented algorithmically; and how broader social issues should be handled, such as rising unemployment and donor organ shortage due to the mass adoption of safe self-driving cars (which will reduce the annual 1.2 million traffic casualties by an expected 90%).

Open to all PhD Students of the University of Luxembourg.

  • When: Monday, 21 January - Friday, 25 January 2019 // 10h00-12h00 + 14h30-16h00
  • Where: Monday - Maison du Savoir (MSA), Room 4.510 // Tuesday - Friday: "Black Box", Maison des Sciences Humaines (MSH)


  • Antonio Bikić works at the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich and has backgrounds in philosophy and computer science. He is also a visiting researcher at ETH Zurich.
  • Adriano Mannino is a PhD candidate at the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich. He has backgrounds in philosophy and law. He is co-founder of DataCareer GmbH.

Local Host: Prof C. Schommer, ILIAS Lab, CSC Department.


  • Chapter 1: Introduction: Why does ethics matter for autonomous vehicles?
  • Chapter 2: Trolleys, aggregation, and the time of human decision-making
  • Chapter 3: Moral responsibility and legal liability
  • Chapter 4: Agency I: Human vs. artificial action
  • Chapter 5: Agency II: Chinese rooms, p-zombies, and subjectivity
  • Chapter 6: Ethical paradigms I: Consequentialism, deontology, contractualism, virtue ethics, rational egoism, and moral pluralism
  • Chapter 7: Ethical paradigms II: What ought we to do (e.g., how ought we to program autonomous vehicles) under moral uncertainty and disagreement?
  • Chapter 8: Formal representation of ethical paradigms
  • Chapter 9: Algorithmic implementation of ethical paradigms
  • Chapter 10: The moral psychology and moral economics of self-driving cars
  • Chapter 11: Legal aspects: Aggregating lives in ethical dilemmas and the German Aviation Security Act
  • Chapter 12: Societal consequences I: Traffic casualties (and organ donations), future mobility and smart cities, sustainability, growth and unemployment, algorithmic MCAs and tech policy, and more
  • Chapter 13: Societal consequences II: Priority-setting in technical research and legislation - what should ethical consultants recommend, all things considered?


There is no formal requirements, but each participant should have an interest in ethical issues, particularly as they arise in the context of autonomous systems.


2 ECTS. The participant has to demonstrate an active participation and to give an introductory talk on a seminar topic (15 minutes) as well as to write paper on a topic of the student’s choice (4000 words).


Via the registration questionnaire on Moodle Please register via the registration questionnaire by Sunday 20 January 2019.
First come first served. 
50 seats are available.



Have a look at our poster!

Winter School: "Ethics of Autonomous Vehicles"