ITECH 3203-7203 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Assessment 2: Ethics Assignment Task Driverless Cars Overview

Assessment 2: Ethics Assignment
Driverless Cars

The purpose of this task is to encourage students to explore a variety of ethical theories and apply them to a contemporary ethical issue in an area of social computing.

Timelines and Expectations
Percentage Value of Task: 20% (35 marks)
Due: Week 7 – Friday 1, September, 2017, 16:00 pm
Minimum time expectation: This task will take approximately 20 hours to complete.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
The following learning outcomes for ITECH 3203 and ITECH 7203 are assessed by completing this assessment: K1, K2, S3, and A2.

Assessment Details

A driverless car is a robotic vehicle that is designed to travel between destinations without a human operator. Companies developing and/or testing driverless cars include Audi, BMW, Ford, Google, General Motors, Volkswagen and Volvo. Google’s test involved a fleet of self-driving cars navigating over 140,000 miles of California streets and highways. A single accident occurred during one of the infrequent occasions when a human was driving.

Researchers at MIT are asking people worldwide how they think a robot car should handle life-or-death decisions. Their goal is not just for better algorithms and ethical tenets to guide autonomous vehicles, but to understand what it will take for society to accept the vehicles and use them. Their findings present a dilemma for car makers and governments eager to introduce self-driving vehicles on the promise that they’ll be safer than human-controlled cars. People prefer a self-driving car to act in the greater good, sacrificing its passenger if it can save a crowd of pedestrians. They just don’t want to get into that car. “There is a real risk that if we don’t understand those psychological barriers and address them through regulation and public outreach, we may undermine the entire enterprise,” said Iyad Rahwan, an associate professor at the MIT Media Lab. “People will say they’re not comfortable with this. lt would stifle what I think will be a very good thing for humanity.”

Students are required to undertake an ethical analysis of issues associated driverless cars from a software developer, business or government context. Students will prepare a business style report of approximately 2000 words, which analyses driverless cars through the lens of each of the FOUR (4) ethical philosophies presented in lectures, and ONE (1) element selected from the Australian Computer Society’s (ACS) code of ethics.

When analysing driverless cars, consider ONE (1) of the following ethical dilemmas:

• Who lives and who dies, in an accident involving driverless cars?
• Perceived benefits outweigh costs associated with driverless cars? *
• Perceived costs outweigh benefits associated with driverless cars? *
• Another issue to be approved by course lecturer and/or tutor

* select one or 2 key issues

For assistance in report writing techniques, see:

A suggested report structure is as follows.

• title page
• executive summary
• table of contents
• introduction
• ethical analysis of driverless cars
o utilitarianism
o deontology
o social contract
o character based
o ACS code of ethics
• conclusion
• references
• appendices

The introduction section should provide context and background on the issue of driverless cars. It should clearly indicate the dilemma being discussed and provide an overview of how you intend to address the problem and proposed solution(s).

The body section of the report should contain a brief overview of each of the four ethical theories, and the ACS code of ethics. It should include a discussion and proposed solution for the dilemma, from each of the four ethical theoretical viewpoints, and the ACS code of ethics. The discussion should show an analysis and synthesis of research undertaken and your own ideas.

Writing should be validated with concepts from other people’s work. Gather these references from various sources such as the Internet, assigned text books and readings etc. For assistance with in-text referencing and formatting your reference list in APA format.

Background Reading
Kirkpatrick, K. (2015). The moral challenges of driverless cars. Communications of the ACM, 58(8), 19-20. McBride, N. (2016). The ethics of driverless cars. ACM Computers and societ, 45(3), 179-184.
Neumann, P. (2016). Automated care woes – Whoa there! Ubiquity, July, 1-6.

This task will be marked by the course lecturer and/or tutors. Students will be required to submit an electronic copy of their report in docx or pdf format via Moodle.

Marking Criteria/Rubric

Criteria Marking Scale
Poor Excellent
1 …………………….. 5
Outline of theory, discussion and application of utilitarianism 0
Outline of theory, discussion and application of deontology 0
Outline of theory, discussion and application of social contract 0
Outline of theory, discussion and application of character based 0
Outline of ACS code of ethics, discussion and application of
code 0
Quality of academic writing 0
Referencing and bibliography 0
Total [35 marks] 0
Total Worth [20%] 0%

Feedback and marks will be provided in Moodle. Marks will also be available in FDL Marks.

Plagiarism is the presentation of the expressed thought or work of another person as though it is one’s own without properly acknowledging that person. You must not allow other students to copy your work and must take care to safeguard against this happening. More information about the plagiarism policy and procedure for the university can be found at
Please refer to the Course Description for information regarding late assignments, extensions, and special consideration. A reminder all academic regulations can be accessed via the university’s website, see:

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