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AI: Autonomous Vehicles

Americans spend over 290 hours per year driving, making it one of the most common (and dangerous) points of human-machine interaction. As vehicles are increasingly automated, it becomes not only imperative to improve these human-machine interactions, but also to anticipate what this means for the future of labor, explore how these vehicles will push the limits of existing governance frameworks as they drive across geographic boundaries, understand how autonomous vehicles may reinforce existing biases through the inability to drive through unmapped areas such as the poorest neighborhoods in the Global South, and identify the necessary forms of transparency needed to build new accident liability regimes. The challenges are clear, but the solutions have to date proven elusive due to a lack of coordination across the numerous stakeholders.  

The Berkman Klein Center and the MIT Media Lab are working with automotive companies, regulators, engineers, ethicists, and civil society organizations to collectively develop solutions to these challenges. Collaborating with the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST), we have recently convened a Symposium on Trust and Ethics of Autonomous Vehicles (STEAV) that brought together scientists, engineers, lawmakers, and car manufacturers to discuss ethical considerations and trust in autonomous vehicles and make progress towards answering the hard questions outline above. Additionally, the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard Law School is working with law students to provide AI-related legal guidance to nonprofits and public interest-oriented startups facing unique AI legal challenges, such as those associated with navigating the complex regulatory and unusual liability risks that accompany autonomous vehicles.

Publications 04

Jul 13, 2018

3 Practical Tools To Help Regulators Develop Better Laws And Policies

a Policy Primer on Autonomous Vehicles

Three practical tools that policymakers and regulators can use to develop better AV policies and expand their toolkit of instruments to govern the technology. More

Jul 13, 2018

What Governments Across The Globe Are Doing To Seize The Benefits Of Autonomous Vehicles

a Policy Primer on Autonomous Vehicles

Introducing some of the AV strategies and initiatives that governments around the world are employing to navigate the challenges of AVs. More

Jul 13, 2018

A Smart Move? 24 Essentials Of A Swot Analysis Policymakers Need To Consider

a Policy Primer on Autonomous Vehicles

Analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) facing governments as they design comprehensive AV policy. More

Jul 13, 2018

5 Technological Factors Regulators And Policymakers Need To Know

a Policy Primer on Autonomous Vehicles

The basics of autonomous vehicle technology and current policy discussions. More

News 01

Jul 3, 2018

Clearly Complex

A report from the Symposium on Trust and Ethics of Autonomous Vehicles (STEAV)

A report from the Symposium on Trust and Ethics of Autonomous Vehicles (STEAV). More

Community 02


Autonomous Systems — Is it time for empirical research?

Urs Gasser asks: Is the emerging field of AI ethics and governance ready for empirical research?

May 18, 2017

Some starting questions around pervasive autonomous systems

Jonathan Zittrain defines some of the cross-cutting questions arising from the mainstreaming of applied artificial intelligence

May 15, 2017

Events 03

May 31, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

Symposium on Trust in Autonomous Vehicles

A symposium that brings together scientists, engineers, lawmakers, and car manufacturers to discuss ethical considerations and trust in autonomous vehicles. More

Dec 12, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

A Pessimist’s Guide to the Future of Technology

featuring Dr. Ian Bogost, Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology

Two decades of technological optimism in computing have proven foolhardy. Let’s talk about new ways to anticipate what might go right and wrong, using a technology that has not… More

Apr 11, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

AI & Society

featuring Joi Ito and Iyad Rahwan of the MIT Media Lab

ISIS. Trump. Uber. The 1%. What if all these phenomena reflect the same forces? What if you could understand those forces? More

People 04


Urs Gasser


Joi Ito

Faculty Associate