More people die in the U.S. from opioids (prescription painkillers) and heroin than from firearms. In 2015, nearly 4 times as many people died from drug overdoses than from guns.1 If we derive our morals from desired outcomes2 and buy into the notion that more gun control will reduce gun violence, then to be consistent, for every protest we make that there should be more gun control, we should protest 2-3 times as often in favor of outlawing painkillers.

I don’t know anybody who does that. I’m guessing you don’t either.

My point is this: it may be that humans are more dangerous behind the wheel than are computers. But I bet 20 years from now, computers will slip up and still kill pedestrians, such as in this tragic story from The Verge. Even if computers are 4x safer than humans behind the wheel, the public won’t allow it. There’s something about the computer-driven deaths that’s sickening and perceptively avoidable in ways that the human-driven ones aren’t.

  1. I’d be willing to bet that about half of Americans would guess that this ratio is roughly flipped. In doing so, they’d only be reflecting what they’re directionally led to believe by mainstream media. ↩︎
  2. As opposed to absolute morals that govern, as a matter of secondary consequence, social outcomes; which in broad strokes is the more correct approach. ↩︎