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Collective Reflective Equilibrium in Practice (CREP) and controversial novel technologies.

Authors
  • Savulescu, Julian1, 2, 3, 4
  • Gyngell, Christopher3, 4, 5
  • Kahane, Guy1, 2
  • 1 Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. , (United Kingdom)
  • 2 Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. , (United Kingdom)
  • 3 Biomedical Ethics Research Group, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Parkville, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 4 Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 5 Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. , (Australia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Bioethics
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2021
Volume
35
Issue
7
Pages
652–663
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/bioe.12869
PMID: 33945162
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate how data about public preferences may be used to inform policy around the use of controversial novel technologies, using public preferences about autonomous vehicles (AVs) as a case study. We first summarize the recent 'Moral Machine' study, which generated preference data from millions of people regarding how they think AVs should respond to emergency situations. We argue that while such preferences cannot be used to directly inform policy, they should not be disregarded. We defend an approach that we call 'Collective Reflective Equilibrium in Practice' (CREP). In CREP, data on public attitudes function as an input into a deliberative process that looks for coherence between attitudes, behaviours and competing ethical principles. We argue that in cases of reasonable moral disagreement, data on public attitudes should play a much greater role in shaping policies than in areas of ethical consensus. We apply CREP to some of the global preferences about AVs uncovered by the Moral Machines study. We intend this discussion both as a substantive contribution to the debate about the programming of ethical AVs, and as an illustration of how CREP works. We argue that CREP provides a principled way of using some public preferences as an input for policy, while justifiably disregarding others. © 2021 The Authors. Bioethics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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