Photo Above: Session speakers (from L to R) Dr. Richard S. Davidson (CHOP), Greg Walters (Essential Medical), Adam Dakin (Dreamit Ventures), Matthew Maltese, Ph.D. (CHOP), and Eric Sugalski (Archimedic)
Imagine there’s a runaway train barreling down the track toward four innocent people. You sit in the railway control room, your hand on the switch that would divert it down an alternate track where it will kill one person instead. Do you flip that switch? This was the question posed last Friday by Matthew Malteseto his audience. With nodding heads and hands raised slowly off their tables, most audience members seemed to agree reluctantly that sacrificing one person to save four others was the ethical choice in this situation. “Alright,” Maltese said as he looked around the room and saw consensus forming, “but how about now?” On the screen behind him, a photo of a little girl had appeared, replacing the faceless silhouette of the single victim the audience had just agreed to sacrifice for the greater good. Not a single hand remained raised.