The Michael Sandel video presented a specific scenario that stood out for me (Sandel, . Would I sacrifice one person to save five? One student from the audience stated he would kill five people to save one based on genocide and Totalitarianism mentality (3:40). I completely disagree. As someone who believes in faith, I would let go of the trolley’s steering and whatever happens is out of my control. But that’s not going to happen because my first instinct is to save as many people as possible. If I kill the one person, I intentionally committed murder. There are two ethical frameworks to consider, consequentialist and deontological. My mind tells me to save five lives. This is a Utilitarian (Consequentialist) view as I am seeking the best outcome possible, despite the fact that I intentionally will kill one life in order to achieve it.
New technology, like the self-driving cars, is making this kind of ethical analysis more important. With the driverless vehicles, it may make a small accident in order to avoid a larger one. For example, does the self-driving car run over a squirrel that is in the middle of the road, or should it divert and hit oncoming traffic possibly killing a human? Or, there is a young bystander, a child, and an older bystander, a senior, both crossing the street. The stop light is not working and remains green. Would the driverless car know what to do? Again, I refer to the Utilitarian theory in order to achieve a greater outcome. Unlike like the Kantian theory where it suggests that right or wrong of an action doesn’t depend on the consequences, although the outcome would be less desirable. That being said, the car should run over the squirrel and divert away from the child. My reasoning is that the child has not had an opportunity to experience adulthood, and ethically, the child should continue to live their life. Referring back to Michael Sandel’s lecture in which a student brought up a good point about 9-11 (3:00). He reminded us that it was best for the plane to crash into the Pennsylvania field killing everyone inside the plane versus crashing into a building, killing more lives.
My advice to the mayor of Pittsburgh is to seek the public’s safety first. The vehicles should be limited to driving on specific routes, at specific times, similar to trucks, and not be permitted on the highways due to the higher risks involved at higher speeds. The technology may not be a reactive as it needs to be. As human drivers, we learn how to maneuver our cars in certain situations, like the ones mentioned above.