So you’re a VW software engineer …

092115blog volkswagen wheel
Reuters/Ralph Orlowski

If you’ve read about this Volkswagen scandal, you know that VW needed “special” software written or a bunch of its diesel cars would never see the road. How did that workplace conversation go? Maybe something like …

VW executive: “Our diesel vehicles spew so much filth they couldn’t possibly pass emissions tests under normal operating conditions. So we need you to develop software that will let the cars know when they are being tested so they can adjust enough to pass.”

Developer: “You want me to write code that will cheat the test?”

Executive: “Cheat is such an ugly word; we prefer ‘defeat device.’”

Developer: “I don’t know; this seems wrong, maybe even illegal. I’d rather not.”

Executive: “Someone’s going to do this for the company. And that former co-worker of yours won’t have to worry about putting his kids through college.”

Developer: “When do you want it done?”

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