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The Politics of Personal Data

Gov 1430

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Lab 4 Follow-up: Most Important Issue


In this activity you do a risk assessment and predict what you think will be the most important issues facing self-driving cars.

Individual Activity. (Due Tuesday, 4/7)

In class last week, we discussed risk assessments as one way to spot important issues facing a technology-society contest. As you may recall, you brainstorm on all the issues that could happen. Then, you rank order them by those that are most likely to occur, and if they do occur, would have the most significant impact. You can do an assessment for negative or positive issues.

In this assignment, you will conduct two risk assessments related to Tesla's announcement to make self-driving cars operational on U.S. roads this year. One of your assessments concerns reasons in favor of societal adoption and uptake. The other assessment concerns potential barriers. You are basically predicting the single most important reason for adoption and the single most important likely barrier. You may focus on either Tesla specifically, or the concept of self-driving cars generally.


Your write-up will consist of two 1-page writings. First, you state what you believe will be the most likely important reason for societal adoption and uptake. Then, spend a paragraph describing why, among other choices, is this the single most important issue. That concludes your assessment for the most likely reasons for societal adoption and uptake. On the next page, you repeat the process, but for the single most likely important barrier. Conclude the second paper with a prediction of which is the more likely outcome, adoption or abandonment or something in-between. Frame your prediction in terms of the most likely factors you identified, for and against adoption.

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