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RESUBMISSION - What should we do? What can we do? What are we doing!? Studying the limits, problems, and risks associated to autonomous vehicles from an integrative approach

Financement: Fonds National de la Recherche > INTER
Date de début: 1 octobre 2022
Date de fin: 30 septembre 2023


Technologies are being developed at an alarming rate and citizens are becoming more aware of the social issues related to technological developments. More recently, for example, autonomous vehicles have been under the spotlight given how rapidly these technologies came on the market and how quickly advancements are made in the area. Despite these technological achievements, unfortunate incidents have increased awareness regarding the risks and social issues associated with autonomous technologies. As we saw with Uber and Tesla, for instance, it can be difficult to establish who is responsible in the event of an incident when many parties are indirectly involved. Perspectives from human and social sciences on technological advances are deeply relevant. However, these perspectives can only have a limited impact on technological developments if these ethical and social considerations are not integrated to the practice and the industry. Beside a reflection upon sociopolitical aspects of emerging technologies (e.g., accessibility or social inequities), it is important to understand how values can be reached by specific aspects of the conception and development of technologies. Hence, although theoretical considerations regarding the principles, values and norms that should guide technological developments are important, there is a pressing need to stop reflecting upon the theory and think of feasible ways to apply this theory to concrete cases. This can be understood as a shift of perspective from normative ethics to applied ethics. Accordingly, human and social scientists should not simply tell the industry the values they should be considering, but they should also be able to understand how these values can be integrated within technological developments in order to be able to participate to the coming of an ethical fourth industrial revolution. Human and social sciences should inform technological developments, but they should also be informed by natural sciences and engineering. As such, human and social scientists need to engage in a reciprocal dialog where their concerns are informed by the practice and the industry. Scholars in human and social sciences need to understand the constraints and limitation surrounding technological developments in order to be able to integrate these concerns into their ethical and social reflections. Otherwise, human and social sciences will have a very limited impact on our technological future. The objective of this research project is to address the risks, limits and problems associated with autonomous technologies from an intersectoral approach by promoting interdisciplinary collaborations through students' co-supervision and by establishing partnerships between scholars and the industry. Specifically, our aim is to assess the risks and ethical issues surrounding autonomous technologies (e.g., ethical behavior, responsibility, sustainable development, etc.) in light of their capacities as well as their physical and technical limitations.