Cardboard Crash: Interactive Documentary

The automobile industry is actively pursuing driverless cars where in the future an onboard computer will ultimately make critical decisions about how to handle situations that occur on the road. The interactive documentary Cardboard Crash (National Film Board) represents people, how they are being taken out of life or death driving decisions through automobile artificial intelligence. This documentary shows how in the future, as self-driving cars become the norm, people should not be removed from making moral decisions when driving.

The Crashboard Crash interactive documentary is a tongue and cheek virtual reality enactment of, for example, a Google self-driving car.  It shows a cardboard rendering of a car, people and landscape as the self-driving car travels along a scenic road. The car comes up on a situation on the road where there is a gas tanker on the road, a family to the left and a cliff that drops into the ocean on the right.

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The artificial intelligence onboard in the self-driving car then lays out decisions, as the video shows, life or death decisions. The decisions include:  (1) crash into a family saving yourself, (2) crash into a gasoline truck and blow up everything in a radius around the truck or (3) drive off of a cliff killing yourself and not hurting anyone else in the process. This therefore poses the question, whose decision should it be to make a highly moral personal decision, people or artificial intelligence? This supports and brings into focus that a self-driving car, although an incredible technology, should not go as far as making these types of decisions. This is a highly personal moral decision that people, or more specifically and individual person, should make.

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This is my first time looking at an interactive documentary and I can see why people are changing to this method of telling stories because it is “interactive” and effectively communicates a message or bring to a point a question. Fortunately Cardboard Crash uses cardboard cutouts versus real or digitally created scene of events. It would have made it difficult for someone to watch and probably would have lost the message if it were a more real visual scene. The point was clearly made using cardboard cutouts and creating a believable situation such that you can clearly understand the issue with self-driving vehicles. That self-driving automobiles, if they are fully autonomous using artificial intelligence, it crosses over a line where the car begins to make moral decisions. This in my opinion is clearly to far and these moral decisions should not be taken away from people.




“Cardboard Crash .” Cardboard Crash, Https://, Accessed 17 Sept. 2017.


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