The Law of Unintended Consequences

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Please write your suggestions on how you, as an engineer, could avoid an unintended consequence on a project involving fully autonomous vehicles. In your post, please consider the three groups described above.

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Unintended consequences fall into three groups:

  • A windfall – this could be a positive outcome, however, it is still unintended
  • An outcome that was the exact opposite of what was initially intended and therefore negative.
  • A potential source of problems i.e. Murphy’s Law

In my opinion, #2 is typically what people think of when they discuss unintended consequences because it is a negative outcome, although it is important to note that a windfall, although a positive outcome, still falls under this category.

An example of an unintended consequence is the very quiet hybrid or electric vehicles. Although these vehicles were designed as an environmentally friendly energy alternative, they have had negative impacts. Such impacts include pedestrians, specifically those with sight and hearing impairments, cannot hear the vehicles.