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Four IT Ethics Theories Related To Driverless Trucks In Australia


Your lecturer will place several links in Interact to a number of relevant articles and/or case studies. These will be available to you just after your second assignment has been submitted.

  1. Choose one of the media articles or case studies listed by the lecturer in your Interact 2 subject site.
  2. Use the title of the article/case study provided in interact 2 as the title of your essay, so that the lecturer knows which article you are analysing.
  3. Undertake further research about your chosen case, to assist you in analysing and discussing it in your essay.

You are required to complete the following:

Write an essay:

  • The word limit for the essay is 1200-1300 words. Headings, citations and references do not count towards the word limit, but quotations do.
  • Analyse the article/case study from the perspective of four classical ethical theories including utilitarianism, deontology, virtue and contract. Present well reasoned arguments for your assessments and recommendations.
  • Write an overall conclusion that justifies your recommendations made in your essay.
  • Include a Reference list at the end of your work, in the correct APA referencing style, corresponding to in-text citations.

1. Introduction : Australia is introducing the most contemporary technologies in its business of transportation. It is mainly driven by the introduction of the driverless trucks within Australia. Such driverless trucks are expected to establish advancements in the technological fields as it is the most effective and significant amalgamation of the transportation and technology businesses. The driverless vehicles will be comprised of robot drivers in the place of real drivers (Banks, 2012). One of the most significant advantages of robot drivers is that these drivers are not required to take rest or eat or sleep. The only thing they require is the appropriate amount of charge. Moreover, the major issue with such driverless vehicles is that the real truck drivers will be losing their employment, which is ethically wrong and unpleasant. In this context, the four theories of ethics can be followed in this respective case study.

2. Utilitarianism Theory: This respective theory is the primary theory in the four classical theories of ethics. It is also considered as the normative theory which consequently signifies regarding the most vital activities of any situation. Such situation must maximize the utility. Those utilities may associate with anything, which means it can be for any individual or for the whole society. Thus, the utilitarianism theory is related to any type of utility based situation (Sheng, 2012). This respective theory is also believed to be the core version of the consequentialism theory which ultimately signifies regarding the different consequences of any activity which is wrong or right. Unlike, the remaining forms of the consequentialism such as egoism, the theory of utilitarianism are believed for equally splitting the interest of the human beings. In this respective case, the analysis of driverless vehicles or job killers, the sole utility is that there will be more advancement in this technological world which is very essential and significant for the society (Sheng, 2012). Despite possessing such utility in this technological world, there are certain non-ethical facets too. The preliminary and crucial non-utility to this scenario is that the real truck drivers will be terminated from their employment. Consequently, the roadside vendors and stalls will also be forced to shut down due to the lack of truck drivers. Therefore, this particular case study can be considered as unethical in nature (Niebuhr, 2013).

3. Deontology Theory: This is the second theory among the four classical theories of ethics. It is also considered as a normative ethical position that ultimately evaluates on the morality of any particular activity as per the rules. This specific theory is contradictory to the pragmatic ethics and the theory of consequentialism. The Deontology theory is generally referred to as the obligation or rule-based ethics. It is important to understand that the moral obligation of any situation primarily crops up from various types of internal and external sources such as the rules set which is entirely intrinsic to the universe or ethical naturalism (Singer, 2013). A person generally learns and knows anything from his or her surrounding or from the universe. It can also be referred to as the guardian, parents, friends, teachers, relatives, and peers. The next major rule is the religious laws. Almost every individual is bound to abide by the provisions of the religious laws and his decisions competence relies on that. In this respective case study, the main problem of the drivers of Australia is the driverless vehicles or trucks (Williams, 2012). According to the deontology theory, the morality of scenario is evaluated based on the activity, specifically any particular situation which will decide that it is wrong or right. In this condition of driverless vehicle or trucks, the situation is entirely immoral and unethical because the drivers will be extensively losing their means of employment along with the roadside vendors, stalls, etc will also be suffering by comprehensive losses due to this. Moreover, the security is another major issue here. The people have the notion of different situations for tackling them but the robots are simply machines. As a result, they do not have any notion regarding the accidents and different dangerous situations which may occur anytime (Shafer-Landau, 2012).

4. Virtue Theory: The Virtue theory is the third theory among all the four classical theory of ethics. It is also considered as a normative ethical theory which mainly concentrates on the aspect of minds and character. Such kind of ethics is generally signified to any particular attribute or character traits such as the actions of the sentiments and habits. More appropriately, the virtue is considered as the optimistic attribute that enables the possessor of such traits an extensively good human being. The virtue of such individuals can be distinguished from any specific feeling or action (Hinman, 2012). In this context, the virtue theory signifies that the virtues like honesty or bigheartedness are just not the tendency for performing or ascertaining what is honest or generous, not it is the personality attributes which is morally valuable or desirable (Hannafey & Vitulano, 2013). On contrary, it is the specific character traits which set out the good entrenchment in the possessor of the attributes. There are also different other actions which are functioning with the emotional reactions or emotions, expectations, attitudes, perceptions or even the sensibilities. Moreover, this respective theory is also implemented to any kind of situations. In this respective case study of driverless vehicles, the virtue theory can be effectively applied (Burnes & By, 2012). According to the virtue theory, the major traits and attributes of the situation are to be investigated efficiently. The major traits and features of this respective case study are that after the launching of driverless vehicles, Australia will become the first nation to introduce the robot drivers. This is completely ethical because the technological world will be highly benefitted from such technological development. As the robots do not require any rest, thus it is totally ethical in context to the virtue ethics.

5. Contract Theory : The contract theory is the last theory among the four theories of ethics. The contract theory signifies that the persons who are living mutually within a society according to some specific agreements are establishing the moral and political behavioral rules and regulations (Niebuhr, 2013). Some individuals assume that when some people live according to the social contract, they can live morally according to their option or choice and not just because the divine requires it (Becker & Becker, 2013). Those contracts can be implicit such as raising a hand in any class for speaking or even explicit like laws. An important framework is sustained within the contract theory. In this respective case study of driverless vehicles, the contract theory is implemented (Hannafey & Vitulano, 2013). The implementation of this theory is establishing crucial changes within the society and thus it must be maintained under any situation. The contract is among the technology and benefit of the society. Thus, this respective case study can be considered as ethical in context to the contract theory of ethics (Becker & Becker, 2013).

6. Conclusion:From the above-mentioned comprehension, it is apparent that Australia is endeavoring to bring a drastic change within its transportation business with the help of technological innovation. This is mainly due to the fact that the driverless vehicles are preparing to be launched within the nation. The trucks are considered as the most crucial vehicle for transporting any type of products to different parts. The driverless vehicles are expected to enhance the technological world to a higher level. As Australia is well-known for its innovative vehicles, there are huge numbers of drivers whose income relies on the trucks and vehicles they are driving. In case these incomes or livelihood is terminated, it will lead to severe danger to the drivers. Therefore, it is essential to mitigate this problem promptly. However, the idea of launching driverless vehicles is not ethically valid and hence four classical theory of ethics known as utilitarianism, virtue, deontology and contract theories are implemented here.

Banks, S. (2012). Ethics and values in social work. Palgrave Macmillan.

Becker, L. C., & Becker, C. B. (2013). Encyclopedia of ethics. Routledge.

Burnes, B., & By, R. T. (2012). Leadership and change: The case for greater ethical clarity. Journal of business ethics, 108(2), 239-252.

Hannafey, F. T., & Vitulano, L. A. (2013). Ethics and executive coaching: An agency theory approach. Journal of business ethics, 115(3), 599-603.

Hinman, L. (2012). Ethics: A pluralistic approach to moral theory. Nelson Education.

Niebuhr, R. (2013). Moral man and immoral society: A study in ethics and politics. Westminster John Knox Press.

Shafer-Landau, R. (Ed.). (2012). Ethical theory: an anthology (Vol. 13). John Wiley & Sons.

Sheng, C. L. (2012). A new approach to utilitarianism: A unified utilitarian theory and its application to distributive justice (Vol. 5). Springer Science & Business Media.

Singer, P. (Ed.). (2013). A companion to ethics. John Wiley & Sons.

Williams, B. (2012). Morality: An introduction to ethics. Cambridge University Press.


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