An ethical dilemma is a situation where an individual is presented with two choices that are equally important, yet only one can be selected. The need to maximize profits while fulfilling responsibilities to the client and employees is among the most common ethical dilemma companies face. In the transport industry, the primary obligation of the automobile firms is to manufacture cars that are safe, environmentally friendly and efficient. Self-driving cars are gaining popularity due to their safety and efficiency, but there are ethical dilemmas associated with the cars. A new article published by the New York Times by Shariff& Rahwan (2016), cites that one of the ethical issues associated with the self-driving cars relates to safety. The cars are meant to maximize the safety of both the pedestrians and the passengers, but in most cases the algorithms used in their manufacture favor the former. The car manufacturers are thus faced with an ethical dilemma of the type of algorithm to apply because the safety of both the pedestrians and the passengers is equally important.
Based on the deontological ethical theory, the decision of the self-driving cars about the type of algorithm to use should be guided by their obligation to the passengers and the pedestrians. The manufacturers have an ethical duty to ensure that they enhance the safety of both parties. Based on the utilitarian ethics, the self-drive car manufacturers are expected to apply an algorithm that maximizes the benefit of majority (Hartman, DesJardins & MacDonald, 2014). In this case, the majority people are the pedestrians and drivers of the other vehicles on the road, as the passenger may even be one. The self-driving car manufacturers should thus produce cars based on algorithms that favor the mass rather than the users of the self-driving cars only. Consequently, if the manufacturers of the self-driving cars fails to balance, thenthe demand for the cars is likely to drop.
Hartman, L. P., DesJardins, J. R., & MacDonald, C. (2014). Business ethics: Decision making for personal integrity and social responsibility. McGraw-Hill.
Shariff, A., & Rahwan, I. (2016, November 3). Whose Life Should Your Car Save? The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/06/opinion/sunday/whose-life-should-your-car-save.html?_r=0