What is Hedonistic Act-Utilitarianism?
Hedonism is a philosophical argument that highlights the approaches individuals should have towards pain and pleasure. At any given time, individuals are exposed to scenarios that influence their perspectives towards life. Despite the activities one might be involved in, the understanding of pain and pleasure is a standard aspect that defines people’s interactions in the modern world. However, in the spirit of indulging in activities that enhance the well-being of individuals, making informed decisions prompts the reaction of an individual towards an event taking place in their immediate environment.
Hedonistic utilitarianism focuses on establishing the rightness of a specific behavioral response to gain pleasure by preventing any incident that could have amounted to pain. On many occasions, individuals tend to prefer pleasure than pain, making the former desirable than the latter. When a person averts any action that could have caused a strain on themselves or other people, then the resulting expression is that of pleasure (Singer and De Lazari). In defining comfort, I believe the hedonistic utilitarianism argument describes aspects such as happiness, advantage, and privilege, as some of the attributes one can experience after avoiding pain. However, different scholars have developed pointers that challenge the conventional hedonistic utilitarianism argument by highlighting the variance in pleasure, among other aspects.
Hedonistic Implication of a Self-Driving Car
When developing an innovative product, programmers should visualize different events that may occur and affect the user experience. By evaluating the argument that the self-driving car should be programmed to kill, individuals embrace a practical approach that provides a series of options to the user to avoid evading a situation only to expose themselves to danger (Emerging Technology). In the case of the self-driving car, the vehicle avoids an accident but presents a more-riskier approach where, despite an individual’s choice, there will be consequences. In such a situation, it is difficult for a driver to make informed decisions because of the limited nature of the options.
By programming the self-driving car to kill, the vehicle manufacturers will develop a series of more-safer approaches that will reduce the risks associated with the innovation. In this case, many people will choose to hit the wall to save the bystander and only hope that the safety belt and the airbags will reduce the impact of a collision. Even though the self-driving car is supposed to be a safe innovation compared to the standard vehicles, programming it to kill equips it with a series of approaches the robot can use to save the passengers from the impact. I believe embracing such measures creates an enabling environment for the realization of issues that affect the perspectives of individuals towards life.
Hedonistic Utilitarian Response
Considering the ability of the passenger to suffer minor injuries because of preventive aspects such as the safety belt and airbags, colliding with the wall as opposed to hitting the bystander appears to be the safest option one can take. In this regard, reducing the impact of a collision, and the number of casualties who suffer from the incidence is one of the factors the self-driving car was designed to resolve. Likewise, ensuring that individuals understand the role of the innovative vehicles presents a series of ethical concerns that can only be addressed by the manufacturers. By utilizing the hedonistic utilitarianism argument, it becomes easier for the car developers to make informed decisions that safeguard people’s wellbeing.
In one instance, there is a fear among the manufacturers that individuals might but the vehicles to benefit from the safety measures installed in the car. On the other side, the car manufacturers are afraid of introducing a safety hazard to other road users because of its selfish approach that exposes other people to danger to save their passengers. In this regard, creating an enabling environment where people understand the ramifications of each of the available options presents a talking point to the innovators. Likewise, understanding the changing needs of individuals requires one to discover their potential and accomplish issues that interfere with the smooth functioning of innovation and other aspects of development.
Singer, Peter, and De Lazari-Radek. “Doing Our Best for Hedonistic Utilitarianism.” EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016.
Emerging Technology. “why self-driving cars must be programmed to kill.” MIT Technology Review, https://www.technologyreview.com/s/542626/why-self-driving-cars-must-be-programmed-to-kill/