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Intelligence Squared

Wednesday, May 29 at 2:00 pm

All Hail the Driverless Car!

What if the next car you buy or taxi you hail drives itself? Driverless cars, also known as autonomous or self-driving vehicles, are currently in test-drive mode around the globe.

Proponents claim this innovation will drastically improve our lives, with fewer auto accidents, less traffic congestion and carbon emissions, as well as greater accessibility for the elderly and those with physical limitations. Opponents, however, argue that autonomous vehicles will increase traffic, render current infrastructure obsolete, and jeopardize millions of auto-related jobs. Worse yet, they say, these cars are nothing more than a computer-on-wheels, meaning an error in programming by developers, or hacking by nefarious actors, could lead to disaster.

Should we proceed with caution? Or embrace the driverless car? This debate is presented in partnership with the Adam Smith Society. The Adam Smith Society — a project of the Manhattan Institute — is an expansive, chapter-based network of MBA students, professionals, and business leaders who work to foster debate about the moral, social, and economic benefits of capitalism.

The Debaters:
Amitai Bin-Nun
VP of Autonomous Vehicles, Securing America's Future Energy
Amitai Bin-Nun is a recognized leader in the autonomous vehicles space with expertise in regulation, strategy, and data analytics. He is vice president of autonomous vehicles and mobility innovation at Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE), a nonprofit based in Washington D.C. Before joining SAFE, Bin-Nun advised executives on the implications of emerging vehicle technologies and partnered with IBM Watson to explore potential financial services applications for cognitive computing. He has also served as a fellow at the Department of Energy and in the office of Senator Chris Coons.

Chris Urmson
Co-Founder & CEO, Aurora
Chris Urmson is the co-founder and CEO of Aurora, a company that is building self-driving technology to deliver the benefits of the future of transportation safely, quickly, and broadly. Before founding Aurora, he helped build Google’s self-driving car program and served as chief technology officer. Urmson was also previously a faculty member of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He has been instrumental in instigating and advancing the development of self-driving vehicles and the industry for the last 15 years.

Meredith Broussard
Data Journalist & Author, “Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World”
Meredith Broussard is a data journalism professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University and the author of “Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World,” where she argues against the idea that technology is always the solution to humanity’s problems. A 2019 Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow, her research focuses on artificial intelligence in investigative reporting, with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good. Broussard has also worked as a software developer at AT&T Bell Labs and the MIT Media Lab.

Ashley Nunes
Senior Research Associate, Harvard Law & MIT
Dr. Ashley Nunes studies transportation safety, regulatory policy, and behavioral economics. He earned his Ph.D. in engineering psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where he examined the scientific merit of raising controller retirement ages. Dr. Nunes has previously written for the Financial Times, the Washington Post and The Globe and Mail among others, and his long-form content has appeared in the Atlantic, the New Statesman, and the American Scientist.

To listen to the audio of “All Hail the Driverless Car!” on Intelligence Squared online, please click HERE.