Ackerman Associates
On Retainer from ALLIED INDUSTRIES

Your company represents Allied Industries, a huge multi-national. They have spent several billion dollars on the development of a product called the Quadro. Allied feels that they have a winner on their hands. This is a whole new sort of machine and everything about it is new and untried. One reason the project has gone smoothly has been that there is no outstanding regulation or laws to inhibit the development of the "Human Enhancer".
Recently, the Friends of Europe , an ecological organization, has brought a class action suit against the Quadro: claiming that it is too dangerous to people and the environment to be used.

The Pluses:
Marketing studies show that the Quadro is incredibly popular with the general public. It is considered sexy, luxurious, and will become essential for modern every day life. If the results are true, the Quadro will improve job flexibility, quality of life, and save quite a bit of time for leisure for the general populace. Multi tasking on the job (allowing one person to do the work of many is inherent in the "human enhancer".)

The manufacture of the Quadro for the near future will be exclusively in France: this represents millions of jobs, not only the factory workers, but those that will build the factories, store outlets etc.

Quadro will represent quite a boon in the export market. Unfortunately, its development was shared by many companies and thus the copyrights and patents allow for many competitors from around the world. As soon as the secret is out France will not have a monopoly on the Quadro.

Quadro will entail the construction of an enormous infrastructure. Projected employment of just the infrastructure and its maintenance is one out of five people in France. The jobs will be relatively well paying and  literacy is not required. This represents a great advantage to the French government since  the numbers of the unemployed or the unemployable are increasingly illiterate. Combined with the production workers Quadro will produce an increase of 25% in the workforce!

Quadro is less polluting than existing alternative technological solutions. Certainly, Research and development expects to reduce pollution over time.

Sociological Studies even   indicate that the implementation of Quadro will tend to insure democracy in countries that adopt its use perhaps because of its distributed nature similar to the Internet, allowing for more exchanges of ideas and goods.

The Minuses

As mentioned before, the Quadro does pollute. Its effectuation will cause some environmental damage but this is minor compared to the benefits it brings to society. Eventually, R&D will be able to handle this or reduce pollution significantly. Remember even the computer industry is an enormous producer of toxic waste water. They like Allied will seek out ways to reduce waste and pollution: this policy makes good business sense.

Quadro is slightly dangerous to use. There is no way to make it completely safe. Our engineers will work diligently to make the Quadro as safe as it possibly can be, but with 40 million projected users in France alone, a very small percentage of the populace will be hurt or killed with Quadro's use. Allied Industries believes that the number of injured or killed can be reduce with proper training. No matter what Allied Industries does users, impaired with alcohol or drugs can inflect damage upon themselves with a Quadro. There is no conceivable way to prevent this. More or less the same percentage will be in effect in the United States when Quadro use is fully implemented there. Even though rules of use and social customs will not be the same.

What safety entails:
Put yourself in the company's shoes : how would you make a skate board perfectly safe?
Moreover, studies show that in the US, in States that have adopted mandatory helmet laws for bicyclists: bicycle use among young people has dropped dramatically. Does society want a sedentary populace? Protect our children from healthy exercise so that they can begin to die from heart disease at earlier ages?
Those young adults that do wear helmets, knee and elbow pads are far more likely to suffer broken bones or even more serious accidents then those that wear no protection. Because they dare to compete in extreme sports.

Another example of the secondary effects of safety equipment is aptly demonstrated in the ski industry. Forty years ago, with wooden skis and leather boots the most common injury was a twisted or sprained ankle. Todays modern composite materials and high tech ski boots make that injury a thing of the past. But, you are far more likely to die on the slopes today then back then. Plus, while perhaps the overall number of accidents has declined you are far more likely to damage your knees, or break your bones which are a far more severe injuries than simple sprains.

Market opinion polls show that even when presented with the existing dangers over 99% of the populace will choose the Quadro over age old technology. Don't the people have the right to decide? This is like implementing the prohibition of alcohol because less than one percent of the populace wishes it so.

As to the infrastructure needed for Quadro to fully function, Allied believes that it would be best if national, state, and regional governments funded the construction. But, Allied does not rule out private investors fabricating whole sectors and then taxing users. Connecting every home to the Quadro infrastructure is a momentous task and can not be undertaken by any one company, even one as large as Allied Industries.

Your Objectives:
This is a multi-billion dollar project. Your client expects results. Your reputation is riding on this case. You want the acceptance of the Quadro and its introduction to be accomplished as soon as possible. Any controls on the production of the Quadro means that other companies, other nations will be able to copy or even better the machine. This would be a catastrophy. France might be regulated to the backwaters of modern society.

                  

Ce texte © 2002-2003 Christopher Yukna - tous droits réservés




Advanced Learning Technologies Project Manager

Délégation aux Relations Internationales
Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines
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