Machine Ethics and Emerging Technologies

Short Form


An autonomous car is driving down a single-lane road carved out of a cliff. Unexpectedly, a child runs in front the car chasing a ball, and trips. The car cannot stop in time to avoid a fatal collision, but it can sacrifice itself and its passenger by driving off the cliff.

Should it? And if so, would you buy such a car?


The 21st century is a time with an unprecedented expansion of ideas, culture, technology, information, and global justice. Yet the way in which we think about the world—and our shared future in it—has not accelerated at the same pace. Cars can drive themselves, but will they do the right thing in the case of emergencies? Machines can diagnose cancer, but will that be used to save lives or determine insurance premiums? And what happens when machines start putting even more people out of jobs?


future, ethics, machine ethics, autonomous cars

Speaking experience

I've keynoted at many conferences worldwide, including OS Bridge, OSCON,, SAGE-AU,, and elsewhere.


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    Paul Fenwick

    Perl Training Australia


    Paul Fenwick is the managing director of Perl Training Australia, and has been teaching computer science for over a decade. He is an internationally acclaimed presenter at conferences and user-groups worldwide, where he is well-known for his humour and off-beat topics. Paul is the author of Perl’s autodie pragma.

    In his spare time, Paul’s interests include security, mycology, cycling, coffee, scuba diving, dressing like a pirate, and lexically scoped user pragmata.

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