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Would You Endager 1 Person If It Means Saving 5? 'Trolley Problem' Conducted In Real Life

Would you flip a switch that reroutes a train, putting one person's life in danger, if it meant preventing it from hitting five others? The real-life answer might surprise you.

This experiment, conducted by Vsauce's Michael Stevens on his YouTube show Mind Field, goes on to answer some very important questions about how humans react when making life or death decisions.

Interestingly enough, this experiment is also very relevant to the automotive industry, which Stevens does touch on, acknowledging that automakers need to decide what their self-driving cars should do in a 'Trolley Problem' type of scenario.

The ethics behind this issue could be discussed endlessly, but since we don't have that kind of time, we'll just reassure you that by watching this video, you'll come as close as humanly possible to witnessing this type of real-life decision making - where the test subjects actually thought everything that was happening was real.

In order to accomplish that, the boffins from Mind Field came up with a really clever way to get the test subjects inside a switching station, learn some basic operating procedures, before finding themselves faced with one of life's ultimate ethical dilemmas.

As for the automotive industry, while most people admit that flipping the switch in this scenario is the right thing to do, getting customers to purchase a vehicle that's programmed to potentially end their life if it means saving multiple others, is kind of a hard sell.




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