That moment will be significant not just because it will signal the end of one more human niche, but because it will signal the beginning of another: the era in which it will no longer be optional for machines to have ethical systems. Your car is speeding along a bridge at fifty miles per hour when errant school bus carrying forty innocent children crosses its path. Should your car swerve, possibly risking the life of its owner (you), in order to save the children, or keep going, putting all forty kids at risk? If the decision must be made in milliseconds, the computer will have to make the call.
Building machines with a conscience is a big job, and one that will require the coordinated efforts of philosophers, computer scientists, legislators, and lawyers.
Moral Machines – neuroscientist Gary Marcus, author of Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning, considers the moral challenges of Google’s driverless cars.
More thoughts on irreplaceably human faculties here.