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Automation Makes Us Dumb – The Trolley Dilemma

Automation Makes Us Dumb – The Trolley Dilemma

The trolley dilemma is a concept in autonomous driving. Autonomous cars are fully automated cars, meaning they are driverless cars. A few companies, such as Tesla, are in the lead in manufacturing autonomous cars (Molla, 2021). However, the cars are still being tested; therefore, human drivers are required. The trolley dilemma is implemented in the autonomous decision-making module. It works by choosing to injure or kill one person and save many others in an accident (Molla, 2021). For example, if the car was in a situation where an accident was inevitable, it would choose to crash in a direction where there are fewer people. According to Vox News, the majority of humans have accepted the trolley dilemma despite its moral and ethical issues (Molla, 2021). For example, in automatic cars where human drivers are still required, humans were found to be comfortable pressing a button, switching lanes, and killing one person while saving five (Molla, 2021). Injuring one person to save several others is not ideal because the cars can be programmed further on how to deal with inevitable accidents. For example, autonomous cars can be programmed to accurately process objects on the road and choose to crash into a wall or a road sign instead of causing harm to humans. When humans perceive concepts as morally and ethically acceptable, they are prone to apply the same concept in many other areas of their lives. It is like automating human minds to make morally wrong decisions. The trolley dilemma concept, therefore, can be considered as an automation that has made humans unable to make sound decisions. This makes humans less intelligent and more careless.

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Molla, R. (2021, October 6). Self-driving cars: The 21st-century trolley problem. Retrieved from


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The Trolley Dilemma

The Trolley Dilemma

In a Wall Street Journal article, “Automation Makes Us Dumb,” Nicholas Carr writes about the downside of automation. Please read the attached article.

Can you give an example (from your own personal experience or from a story in the news) where the analysis of data was used to make a decision or conclusion that turned out to be deleterious?

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