Recently, Mercedes-Benz stepped into the spotlight after making a bold statement concerning the design of their self-driving cars. The development of autonomous cars has presented a plethora of moral conundrums, one of which is the most ethical way to program cars to respond to emergencies. The dilemma, as presented in a previous article, is one of trying to determine the value of and prioritize human life. Mercedes has declared that they will “program its self-driving cars to save the people inside the car. Every time.” This declaration sheds light on a new issue: is it ethical for car companies to create technology that widens the gap between socioeconomic classes and threatens current societal values?
What was once fiction is becoming a reality. In past decades, sci-fi novels and television have featured self-driving cars; this once-futuristic concept is finally coming to fruition. Will the result mirror the positive outcomes shown in fiction? Self-driving cars are intended to increase safety and efficiency in our society, but what are the moral implications and consequences that could come from such technology?
The United States has long struggled with a set of deeply divided attitudes toward alcohol. To be sure, alcohol can be quite dangerous, so it is certainly reasonable to be cautious and concerned about its use in certain contexts. On the other hand, one of the clear lessons taught by our experiment with Prohibition is that individuals feel that restrictive alcohol policies constitute unwarranted violations of their autonomy.