Boeing is looking ahead to the next stage of autonomous vehicles -- self-piloting planes. The world's biggest aircraft maker says the growing global demand for air travel and the need for more pilots is driving the development of the self-flying technology. Planes can already take off, cruise and land using their onboard flight computers. The new technology would allow artificial intelligence to make some of the decisions normally made by pilots. If all goes well, the technology could be tested on a real aircraft some time next year.
Class discussion: Would you feel comfortable flying on a plane piloted by a computer program? What about a car, bus, passenger train or cruise ship? Are you willing to allow artificial intelligence programs make life or death decisions that could affect you? Do you think artificial intelligence programs could end up being safer than human pilots or drivers? How do artificial intelligence programs “learn” to do various tasks? What other jobs or professions could these programs perform?
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