“Did Elon Musk Sacrifice Safety In His Push For Self-Driving Cars?”

That was the question posed in the on-line Times edition a few days ago.

Yes. Of course he did.

Now, I don’t say this cynically or even bitterly. You know, “Corporations and corporate people are pure evil.” They are, or can be, but that’s not what I came to understand about corporations.

“Evil” connotes deliberate and conscious wickedness, bad acts against others. A corporation isn’t evil; it is amoral. It isn’t structured to do bad things; it’s structured to succeed, which means making a profit. And if some bad actions enter into this picture, well, geez.

It’s pretty simple. There’s no moral structure written into a corporate mission. So a corporation isn’t evil; it isn’t good; it’s a mechanism that profits by humanity without any humanity of its own.

(Now, how did a majority Catholic Supreme Court miss that when they decided Citizens United? Huh?)

Here’s an excerpt from the Times article:

Unlike technologists at almost every other company working on self-driving vehicles, Mr. Musk insisted that autonomy could be achieved solely with cameras tracking their surroundings. But many Tesla engineers questioned whether it was safe enough to rely on cameras without the benefit of other sensing devices — and whether Mr. Musk was promising drivers too much about Autopilot’s capabilities.

Now those questions are at the heart of an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after at least 12 accidents in which Teslas using Autopilot drove into parked fire trucks, police cars and other emergency vehicles, killing one person and injuring 17 others.

Families are suing Tesla over fatal crashes, and Tesla customers are suing the company for misrepresenting Autopilot and a set of sister services called Full Self Driving, or F.S.D.

This is the action of an amoral man who runs an amoral corporation.

The biggest defense we have against business amorality is our government, our government agencies and their regulatory powers. The second biggest defense is court action in front of juries.

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