could you help me to write this term paper guide
could you help me to write this term paper guide
Topic. Technological advances have radically changed the lives of people across the world over the past few decades. Residents of developed nations like the US, and likely all of us in this class, rely on smart devices to interact with others, shop, travel, stay informed, and entertain ourselves, to mention just a few of the many ways our phones, tablets, and other devices have become vital to our lives. It isn’t surprising that our near-dependence on technologies raises unique ethical problems, some of which relate to the companies that trade in those technologies. Many of us have read articles about the amount of information that technology companies – for instance companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook – gather from their users, which raise important privacy issues. Many technology companies – again including companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple – incorporate in tax haven nations in order to lower their corporate tax bills, and thus rob nations they operate in of billions of dollars in tax revenue. The same corporations frequently collude with dictators and repressive governments, employ workers in inhumane conditions for low pay, and engage in a variety of other problematic practices as well. The users of technologies, especially internet-related ones, create still further ethically troubling situations. Thousands of people are killed or injured every year because of drivers who are distracted by their phones or other devices. Survivors of domestic abuse and other serious crimes are routinely harassed through social media, and new victims are created in online forums. Hate speech thrives online, as do communications between evil actors and the propaganda they distribute worldwide with a few clicks of a keyboard. One thing that is similar about all of the ethical troubles listed above is that there are individuals we can hold responsible for wrongdoing that occurs. In the case of corporations, there are executives, managers, boards of directors, and shareholders who make decisions on behalf of the companies they represent. So, if a company acts wrongly, we can hold those people responsible. The same is true when an individual act wrongly by using technology: if someone kills others because they were texting while driving, engages in hate speech, or harasses others online, they are the ones we can blame for the wrongdoing. Driverless vehicles raise a unique sort of moral issue. Self-driving passenger and commercial vehicles are in late stages of development, are currently in late-stage testing in parts of the country, and will almost certainly be in widespread use in the very near future. The hope is that the vehicles will make travel and work safer, more efficient, and more convenient. Those benefits will largely be the result of the complex programming in the vehicles’ computer systems. Important parts of those programs will make decisions about where the vehicles travel. As many people have pointed out, this may mean that we would have to hold the cars, and not the humans who program or control them, responsible when accidents occur. That sounds odd to many of us since we tend to think that it is only people who can be held responsible for things that are done. One way to explain that oddness away is to say that the people who program or control the vehicles bear some responsibility for decisions the vehicles make. Let’s suppose that that is a good explanation. Suppose further that you are the lead programmer for the safety software that will go into hundreds of thousands of self-driving vehicles. One of your most important tasks is to decide how to program a large fleet of driverless vehicles in circumstances where the vehicles cannot avoid injuring their own passengers, passengers in other vehicles, or pedestrians. To use a term, we have used in class, you must tell those cars how to decide who will be injured in what amounts to a series of trolley problems. I strongly recommend that you listen to the episode of the public radio program Radiolab available at http://www.radiolab.org/story/driverless-dilemma/ before you begin work on this assignment. The episode comes in two parts. The first twenty-five minutes discusses trolley problems as well as some interesting philosophical and scientific discoveries related to the thought experiments. The material that begins around twenty-five minutes into the episode is more relevant to this assignment. That material talks about driverless vehicles, features those vehicles are likely to have, and how different variants of trolley problems can arise when the vehicles are in widespread use. Directions and grading Most of our time in the second half of the term will be spent focusing on utilitarian and Kantian moral theories. The standards for right action those theories produce will give guidance about how you, our driverless vehicle programmer, ought to direct those vehicles when lives are at stake. Your paper will respond to the following question regarding your programming: Should you program driverless vehicles so that they take the fewest number of lives (or injure the fewest people) in situations where harm will be caused, or should factors other than the amount of harm at stake be built into those vehicles’ programming? With that question in mind, you should do three things in the body of your paper. One is to answer the question from a utilitarian perspective, and then provide a thorough explanation of the reasons why utilitarian’s will give that answer. Second, explain the response Kantians will give to the question using either the universalizability or the humanity principle. Third, provide some critique of the utilitarian and the Kantian responses to the question; that is, tell me what you think is appealing or unappealing about those responses to the question. Your grade will be determined by the quality of the work you do in response to the directions above. The paper is worth fifty points. Your work on each direction will be worth fifteen points, with the remaining five points coming from general grammatical, mechanical, spelling, and other miscellaneous matters. This is a formal essay, so your paper should begin with an introductory paragraph that provides a brief overview of the work you will do in the body, as well as a thesis statement. The essay should also end with a brief concluding paragraph that sums up the work you did in the paper’s body. In the body of the essay you should clearly address each of the three directions. Be sure to provide thorough explanation of your response to each of those directions. I expect you to employ material from the textbook and class discussion in your responses. You are also welcome to incorporate examples, ideas of your own, and material from other sources into your responses.
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