ML to the Trolley Problem

In Karpathy’sKarpathy’s article, the pattern recognition function presented as a performance of ML. Karpathy introduced how Convolutional Neural Net can distinguish the good and bad profiles by adding filters over and over again randomly. Based on my understanding, the whole process is letting the computer subtract a massive amount of information and capture the common features, further transfer those common features as a standard to distinguish the definition of good and bad. According to the video inserted in the article, each filter has different purposes. Some can identify the faces; the others are designed to capture the clothing part, as Karpathy said, like teaching a child to identify the common figures. Another thing I notice is the binary function it uses. I was surprised a simple binary function could also do this complicated process. If I understand correctly based on the formal material, Karpathy might use the binary function to let the machine “know” if this profile is good or bad by divide all the characters into questions like “does the picture have one face or more?”, “Is it a male or female?”, “Does the face occupy the large portion of the picture or not.” And the Machine makes the decision based on the answer to these questions. That’s why Karpathy listed the final standard of what makes a profile good and bad, the process of classification, and identified features.

The reason why Machines can learn is a credit to the algorithms builds inside. So, it obtains the ability to analyze the orders or what we called the patterns from the database and further make predictions and make decisions. Which lead to a question I was concerned about for a long time. (Pretty irrelevant) Does the process of ML make the machines make more rational decisions than humans? Like on the question of the Trolley Problem. Since the computer has very high calculation speed, what if the Machine calculates and compares these people’s conditions like: “Based on the family and health record, ask questions like how long the person has left to live, the percentage of commit a crime.” Also, based on the education and financial record to identify the person’s contribution to society… To let the Machine determine who gets to survive in this accident.


“What a Deep Neural Network Thinks about Your #selfie.” n.d. Accessed February 26, 2021.

CrashCourse. 2017a. Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence: Crash Course Computer Science #34