A thrilling new documentary by the popular Youtube science channel Vsauce investigating how people will really react to the “trolley problem”. This thought experiment simply aims to distinguish what people will do in a life or death situation when they are compelled to take action which would result in less people dying but the participant would be directly responsible for killing fewer people. The test was first introduced at the University of Wisconsin in 1905 and further modernized by Philippa Foot in 1967 to the method we know today; it is very controversial since it can give the participant PTSD.
When not put under pressure it is easy for a human to conclude that the action he/she would take would be to save more lives as constituted by logic. However the human brain has more at play than purely bit and bites like a computer; there are philosophical and moral psychological elements at play too.
In this thought experiment documentary Michael and a team of experts set up a fake rail-road company to convince people that the experiment they are in is in fact real. They will be put in a train signal control box and left on there own at which point some workers move onto the tracks. With no one else around the participant will have to make a decision to pull the leaver to switch some points in the track and kill one person or do nothing and kill five.
The reactions vary quite a bit. This is free episode 1 in a Series called Mind Field which you can watch on Youtube red, episode 2 is not free to watch.