ARG-167

The following appeared in a letter to the city council of Canbury from the president of Plexma Motors.


"I am pleased that the council is considering Plexma’s plans to open a new manufacturing site in Canbury next year. In addition to our regular line of cars, Plexma has also begun designing and testing a line of automated self-driving vehicles. In a recent survey conducted by local media, 60 percent of Canbury’s residents reported that they would purchase a Plexma self-driving vehicle in the future if they were confident in the vehicles’ safety. We are happy to report that last summer, we tested our new line of self-driving vehicles in downtown Canbury with great success. Not only did our five tested vehicles remain accident-free for two months during testing, but in a survey conducted after testing, 90 percent of Canbury’s residents reported that when they were downtown and our vehicles were in operation they felt very safe. Because steady demand for our self-driving vehicles will create new jobs and thereby greatly benefit Canbury’s economy as a whole, I recommend that you vote to allow Plexma to begin manufacturing and selling these vehicles in Canbury."


Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.


In the letter, the president of Plexma Motors (P company) recommends Canbury (C) to allow the company to begin manufacturing and selling the self-driving cars in Canbury. This is because the recent survey and test of the vehicles seemed optimistic. While this may be the case, we still need to ask several questions concerning the president’s argument, and the answers to the questions will turn out to either strengthen or weaken the argument.


First, we need to know whether the testing results carried by P company can prove the security of the self-driving vehicle. To be more specific, it is possible that the five cars in the test is such a slight sample that the data could not guarantee the security of the self-driving cars. Also, the duration of the test should not be the only criteria to evaluate the reliability of the vehicle. We should also pay attention to the mikes and the areas of the test. For instance, how many miles have the tested cars run in the past two months? If it turns out that the cars only operated for a small number of miles, then the testing result could not be useful for people to come to the conclusion that the cars are safe. In addition, are two months representative for the whole years? Particularly, as we know that to assess the security of cars, we need to take into considerations of the seasons and weather. If the two months are too short for all possible seasons and weather to appear, then we should not trust the conclusion reached by the data.


Second, we need to ask whether the conclusion reached by P company can convince the residents to believe that self-driving cars are safe. We need to know the effectiveness of the result. For example, how large were the sample surveyed? Also, we need to know the randomness of the investigation. If it turns out that the sample size is large enough and the respondence were selected randomly, the conclusion of the author can be strengthened. However, if the respondents happen to be fans of self-driving vehicles, the effectiveness of the survey will be undermined. Secondly, what people say may not be the final result. Will the people do as they say in the survey? To be more specific, we need more information concerning the price and demand of self-driving cars in the local areas. If the price could not be tolerated by the residents or people are more used to traditional vehicles, the argument will be weakened.


Granted that self-driving cars are in great demand in local areas, is it necessary to allow P company to manufacture self-driving cars in the local area? In particular, will this deed improve the local economy? it is possible that P does not employ local people because of the high wages. What is more, the factory may be run by robots, which is in no need of people worker. If this is the case, the conclusion will be weakened. Otherwise, it is shored up. In addition, how high are the profits margin expected by the manufacturing of self-driving cars? If it turns out that the tax revenue are not high enough, then why bother build as plant in the area? Finally, we should take into considerations of the shortcomings of allowing P to build a factory in this area. For example, will it affect the profit of other local car companies? If P competes with other local factories and wins, this may influence the whole economy and tax revenue of the local government.

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