Jalopnik: Uber Got Off Easy

Way back when you took your driving test and got your license, someone somewhere gave you a lecture about responsibility. Maybe it was your parents, the driving instructor, or the DMV tester. You were in charge of the car, and therefore it was your responsibility to not crash it.

You probably haven’t gotten that lecture in a while, but it’s still true. Someone must always be responsible for any moving vehicle. It is a basic tenet of driving, flying airplanes, operating forklifts, riding a bicycle, or, hell, even walking. If you bump into someone else, you’re responsible.

There’s a lot of hemming and hawing about how autonomous vehicles might make that question of responsibility more complicated. They won’t. Or at least, they ought not to. Some people like to pretend they present some vastly more complex responsibility matrix about Who Is Responsible when something goes wrong and invoke barely relevant philosophical thought experiments in the process to make it all seem like a different problem than it is. But whether the operator of the vehicle is a person or computer, someone is still in charge.